If you receive child support from a co-parent with financial difficulties, you may worry that sometime soon your co-parent may file for bankruptcy. Some parents go bankrupt just to keep from paying support or other obligations related to supporting a child. However, bankruptcy is not a method of escape from child support.
As a rule, bankruptcy courts do not relieve parents of their child support responsibilities. FindLaw elaborates on the relationship between child support and bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy does not stop support actions
If you were to rack up a lot of debt, creditors would come after you for back payments. Entering bankruptcy protection puts a hold on creditor actions to collect. If your co-parent fell behind on child support, the state may conduct various actions to compel payment, such as seizing a tax refund or a bank account.
Your co-parent might believe that bankruptcy would put a halt to state efforts to enforce support. However, a bankruptcy judge will not issue a stay to stop actions such as establishing or enforcing child support responsibilities, or other actions related to support like establishing paternity.
Bankruptcy does not discharge back support
In many bankruptcies, a judge will discharge some of the debt, meaning the bankruptcy filer does not have to pay it. This does not apply to child support. If your co-parent were to file for bankruptcy with outstanding support payments, he or she would still have to pay it off even with months’ worth of back support accumulated.
The positives of bankruptcy
The event of your co-parent going bankrupt might actually help you. Bankruptcy cannot discharge child support, but it can clear away other debts your co-parent owes. Discharging debt can free your co-parent to divert more assets into paying off back support. You might also explore other options like modifying support payments to minimize the chance of your co-parent falling behind again.