Can I Eliminate Child Support Debt Through Bankruptcy?

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You may have heard that filing for bankruptcy may help to wipe out many of your debts. With this, you may be wondering whether this applies to your child support debt. Read on to discover the possibility of eliminating your child support debt through bankruptcy and how a seasoned Rockland County bankruptcy attorney at The Law Offices of Allen A. Kolber, Esq., P.C., can offer you advice.

Is it possible to eliminate child support debt through bankruptcy?

If you file for bankruptcy, your debts will be divided into two categories: dischargeable debts and non-dischargeable debts. For one, dischargeable debts are considered debts that can be eliminated through bankruptcy. Examples of this include credit card debt, personal loan debt, medical debt, etc.

On the other hand, nondischargeable debts are considered debts that cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy. Unfortunately for you, child support debt is included in the list of nondischargeable debts, so you will still be legally obligated to make these payments on time.

Broadly speaking, all domestic support obligations are considered nondischargeable debt. The general rules for this read as follows:

  • Your court-ordered alimony payments cannot be wiped out through a bankruptcy filing.
  • Your court-ordered child support payments cannot be wiped out through a bankruptcy filing.
  • Your property settlements may be wiped out through a bankruptcy filing, so long as the court has not yet made its final judgment.

In what ways can I eliminate my child support debt?

In New York State, both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their child until they are of a certain age. This is mainly why the noncustodial parent almost always is ordered to child support payments, and why these payments cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy.

In your initial divorce proceedings, the family court will determine a child support order that they believe is fair and reasonable based off of your financial status, among other factors. However, if there has been a drastic change in your financial situation since this judgment, then you may file a petition for a post-judgment modification with a family court. With your petition, you may need evidence that supports any of the following arguments:

  • You unwillingly lost your employment.
  • You are earning a lower income than anticipated.
  • You are experiencing health issues that come with significant medical bills.
  • You are experiencing health issues that make you unable to return to work.
  • Your child’s needs have changed (i.e., above the age of emancipation, no longer attending higher education, etc).

Overall, this may be a better alternative than trying to reduce or eliminate this debt through bankruptcy. So if you need additional guidance with how to pay off your child support debt, or any other nondischargeable debt, then you must seek out a competent Rockland County bankruptcy attorney today.