Navigating the complexities of bankruptcy while fulfilling child support obligations can be a challenging and often emotionally charged process. If you find yourself facing financial distress and are contemplating bankruptcy, it is natural to wonder about the impact on your responsibility to provide child support.
Understanding the relationship between child support and bankruptcy in Alabama is important because it affects the financial well-being of your child or children. While bankruptcy can provide relief for certain debts, child support obligations occupy a unique position in the legal landscape.
Child support is a priority debt
Child support is typically classified as a priority debt when it comes to bankruptcy. Priority debts are obligations that take precedence over other types of debts. This means that even if you declare bankruptcy, your child support obligations will remain in effect.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and child support
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have the option to liquidate certain non-exempt assets to settle your outstanding debts.. However, child support obligations are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This means that even after the bankruptcy process, you will still be responsible for paying any outstanding child support payments.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy and child support
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you establish a structured repayment plan to address your debts within a predetermined period, typically spanning three to five years. During this time, you must continue making your child support payments in full and on time. Falling behind on child support payments can lead to legal consequences. Your bankruptcy case could also get dismissed.
Enforcement measures for child support
Child support agencies have various enforcement tools at their disposal to ensure that parents meet their child support obligations. These measures can include wage garnishment, intercepting tax refunds and suspending professional licenses. Bankruptcy does not provide a shield against these enforcement measures.
Studies show that 24.4% of bankruptcies result from divorce or separation. If your financial situation changes due to bankruptcy or other circumstances, you can try requesting a modification of your child support order.