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Will bankruptcy make unpaid child support disappear?

No matter what community you're living in, you can find scores of custodial parents owed unpaid child support. Some of these parents sit idly by and allow the delinquent payments to remain unpaid. Other parents, in desperate need of this additional source of financial support, seek legal action to enforce the child support orders.

On the flip side, the nonpaying parent could respond with a few legal strategies of his or her own in order to avoid paying the money owed. In some cases, the parent might even threaten filing for bankruptcy.

However, will bankruptcy work to resolve unpaid child support? The answer to this question is almost certainly, "No."

Why bankruptcy doesn't cover unpaid child support

In the vast majority of bankruptcy cases, parents cannot discharge unpaid child support. Bankruptcy is a powerful tool to put your financial obligations on temporary hold while you reorganize debt and find solutions to your financial situation. However, it will not serve to eliminate unpaid child support debt.

Furthermore, bankruptcy will not put a hold or stay on child support court orders or agreements, so parents will need to continue paying their child support obligations before, during and after filing for bankruptcy.

Can my spouse apply to change his or her child support obligation?

Although bankruptcy will not wipe out child support obligations owed, a parent who is suffering from a financial crisis can file a request to modify his or her child support payments. For example, if you spouse has lost his or her job and is not making the same amount of money, or has experienced a significant change in financial circumstances, it could give rise to a change in his or her child support obligations.

Does your spouse owe you child support?

If your spouse owes you child support, the law is on your side. A family law or divorce attorney can help you assert your legal right to receive your child support payments owed. It's important to take legal action as soon as possible in these situations because the further your spouse gets behind, the harder it may be for you to finally get paid.

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