After a divorce, it is the responsibility of both parents to provide financial support to their child. Courts are very serious about this responsibility and will not often discharge parents from this duty. However, sometimes parents have difficulty upholding those responsibilities. An example is when parents are unable to pay child support payments. And, this is often the case for people who are filing for bankruptcy.
If you’re paying child support and planning on filing for bankruptcy, you may want to know how the filing will affect your child support responsibilities and if there is any way to get child support debts dismissed in case of a successful filing. A short answer to your question is no. Child support is considered a priority debt and cannot be cleared through bankruptcy. Priority debts are payment obligations that hold precedence over other debts, such as rent arrears, student and personal loans, and credit card debt.
Child support is deemed non-dischargeable in bankruptcy cases and the court will not address issues pertaining to support orders ruled by the family court or modify a current support order. Similarly, debts in the nature of support also cannot be discharged. These are basically any unpaid sum, other than your back child support payments, which you owe related to your child’s welfare and rearing.
As you must realize, a parent’s responsibility to pay child support cannot be obliterated by filing for bankruptcy. However, it’s always possible to modify a child support order. If your financial situation has transformed over the years and you are having problems making child support payments, you may file a motion with the appropriate court to modify the order.