Child support is a common concern for Texans who have gotten divorced. This is true from the perspective of the paying parent and the receiving parent. As the past two years have shown, unexpected challenges can arise without warning and lead to major medical expenses, job loss and other problems with making ends meet. In some cases, the child support order can be modified to address any temporary shortfall. In others, the financial hole is so deep that bankruptcy is the only alternative. People need to be aware of how bankruptcy can impact child support.
Understanding child support when filing for bankruptcy
A noncustodial parent who is paying child support needs to know that filing for bankruptcy carries with it certain requirements under the law. If the noncustodial parent files, the Child Support Division must be informed. The parent is still responsible for child support since it is not a dischargeable debt like credit card bills. That is also true for back payments that might have been missed. These must be paid in full. It is possible to have the support amount reduced based on the financial situation and the child’s needs.
If the noncustodial parent stops making the payments, there are enforcement options to try and recover what is owed. That can include license suspensions (driver, professional licenses and more); passport denial; liens on properties; credit bureaus being informed of the failure to pay; lottery winnings being intercepted; or being found in contempt of court. When the supporting parent is filing for bankruptcy, these steps can cause them even greater concerns than just their finances.
Child support amid financial problems can be complicated
Obviously, there is a difference between family law and bankruptcy law. For those who are confronted with the potential problem of a supporting parent filing for bankruptcy, it can alter the landscape with child support in myriad ways. To address these issues, it may be useful to have professional advice whether that means the support order will be changed or pursuing the supporting parent for missed payments.