How Does Bankruptcy Affect My Child Support Obligation?
Many people feel burdened by their debt and turn to bankruptcy as a way to get out of the financial hole and start over. Bankruptcy is a legitimate way to get yourself back on track and get a do-over, so to speak, when it comes to your debt. However, there are some financial obligations that are considered mandatory despite filing for bankruptcy. Child Support is one of them. The following information is meant to provide insight into the main causes of bankruptcy and the significance of your child support obligation.
Bankruptcy– According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, almost 800,000 people declared bankruptcy in 2017. Although poor budgeting can certainly lead to significant debt, the number one cause for bankruptcy among individuals is medical bills. Other reasons for debt and filing for bankruptcy are:
- An overwhelming amount of credit card bills
- High car loans
- Unexpected natural disasters (i.e., fire, hurricane, flood or earthquake)
- The individual may have become unexpectedly unemployed
- Significant student loans
- Legal fees and financial obligations (such as divorce, alimony and child support)
An attorney can help you navigate through the bankruptcy process and determine which type of bankruptcy you should file for. However, he or she will also explain that child support obligations are not absolved by bankruptcy.
Child Support– In times of divorce, there can be a lot of stress and tension among the two parties who have made the choice to dissolve their marriage and go their separate ways. Very often, this stress can lead to resentment. As a result, many spouses have a hard time agreeing to give his or her hard earned money to the ex. However, that mentality indicates a misunderstanding about the purpose of child support. It is meant to ensure the quality of life for the child. This quality should be equivalent to the child’s life with two parents in the same home. For this reason, the courts take child support agreements very seriously. In the situation where the paying parent seeks bankruptcy, he or she will still be expected to continue paying child support as it is considered a priority debt, regardless of the type of bankruptcy he or she is filing for. The court will make every attempt to make the child support amount within the means of the paying parent. There are state and federal guidelines that are followed to determine an appropriate amount.
Some things that are considered:
- Income of both parents
- Custody arrangement
- Ages of the children
- Other children in the home
- Medical needs of the child
It is important to understand that the family court judge will make every attempt to rule on a fair and appropriate amount that works for all parties. Having said that, it is important to have a child support lawyer Austin, TX trusts that you can trust and who will be looking out for your best interest. You will need to agree to the terms of child support before you are expected to comply. For this reason, be certain that you understand the agreement before you sign the document. It is also worth mentioning that in the event that you have already signed the child support document and are filing for bankruptcy, you may file a motion to modify the child support amount. An attorney can help you with that process as it can be confusing.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay for their insight into child support and bankruptcy.