The effect of bankruptcy on child support payments

Texas parents may be interested in some information on how bankruptcy affects a person’s child support obligations. For those receiving support payments, this may make a huge difference in their ability to care for their children.

When a court enters a child support order, it is difficult to anticipate what the future holds. Sometimes, financial issues and changes in circumstances can make it impossible to pay this required child support. When the parent tasked with paying support files for bankruptcy, questions often arise about what their ongoing responsibilities are. First of all, bankruptcy does not generally discharge child support payment responsibilities. Additionally, the bankruptcy filing does not stay or delay the child support proceedings. Failure to pay child support, even after a bankruptcy, can lead to legal and criminal action in order to enforce that court order.

Other payments, such as child’s medical expenses, which are related to support may also be unavailable for discharge in bankruptcy. Parents who cannot make the required payments may be able to seek a modification of the original support order. The modification generally requires that the parent’s financial situation has changed since the original support order. This modification, however, does not affect any back payments that are owed. Delinquent payments will still be subject to legal action from the parent or government authorities if not paid.

When a parent with the responsibility to support the financial needs of a child fails to do so, the parent who is owed the support may want to seek the assistance of an attorney who has experience in family law matters. The attorney can determine the appropriate methods of enforcement that may be available.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Support and Bankruptcy”, accessed on March 2, 2015