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Can Child Support Be Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?


Child support has always been a hot topic among single and divorced parents. And, local child support agencies have had such a hard time collecting it at times that across the country, they’ve gotten very aggressive about collecting past-due child support.

If a noncustodial parent falls too far behind on their payments, they face a variety of adverse collection efforts, such as driver’s license suspension, the denial of a U.S. passport, real estate liens, tax refund intercept, the seizing of bank account funds, negative credit reporting, etc. In fact, some parents aren’t seeing a dime of their coronavirus economic stimulus checks because they’re going toward back child support.

Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Help?

If you have a lot of child support debt and you’re considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be wondering if child support can be included and discharged in bankruptcy. This is a very good question indeed, and it’s one that is frequently asked by our clients.

While many types of debts can be discharged (erased or wiped out) in bankruptcy, child support is NOT one of them. Lawmakers decided that child support was too important to let debtors include it in bankruptcy. The other types of debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy include spousal support (alimony), recent taxes, court-ordered fines, and victim restitution.

Even though child support can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, that doesn’t mean bankruptcy can’t help the situation because it can. If you have other debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills, or personal loans, a Chapter 7 can discharge those types of debts, leaving you more cash on hand to put toward child support. Surely, you’d rather see your hard-earned money go to supporting your children than to a big creditor who doesn’t know you personally.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we invite you to contact our firm by calling (937) 403-9033.