Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I Declare Bankruptcy?

Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I Declare Bankruptcy?

For those of us who are dealing with child support payments, it can be difficult to make ends meet. At times, it may feel like your entire paycheck is going toward child support and living expenses, leaving precious little to truly enjoy your days. At a certain point, your child support payments may become too much for you to handle. This is when many people consider whether they should simply declare bankruptcy.

What happens to your child support payments after you declare bankruptcy? Does this mean that you will have to stop making these payments altogether? How do the courts in Massachusetts handle this situation? Questions such as these are best left answered by a legal professional who is experienced with both divorces and bankruptcies, and will help you approach this situation in an efficient, dignified manner. It is best to connect with a qualified, experienced attorney for the best legal outcomes.

Child Support Payments are Nondischargeable

Child support payments are nondischargeable, which means that declaring bankruptcy does not relieve you of these obligations. In addition, you will have to pay your child support payments before you pay off your creditors, as they are considered a priority. The Bankruptcy Code states that “domestic support obligations” are specifically exempt. In the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your petition may even be dismissed if you fall behind on child support payments. So what is the bottom line? Well, the answer is yes, you will still have to make child support payments even if you declare bankruptcy in Massachusetts.

The Concept of “Reasonable Support”

With all that said, the Bankruptcy Court also states that “alimony, support, or separate maintenance,” may be exempted “to the extent reasonably necessary.” The term “reasonably necessary” is of course open to interpretation, and it is not up to you to decide what this actually means. However, this does offer some hope for parents who are struggling financially and unable to continue making child support payments.

Modifying Your Child Support Agreement

You also have the right to petition for a modification of your child support agreement. In order to successfully have your child support payments lowered, you must show that circumstances have changed since you initially signed the agreement. If you have fallen on hard luck and your income is much lower than it was previously, the court will take this into account and your child support payments may be lowered. While modifying child support payments can be tricky, an experienced attorney can give you a much better chance of a positive outcome.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney in Massachusetts Today

No one deserves to be bled dry because of unreasonable child support payments. If you want to fight for your rights as a parent who is just trying to get by, reach out to the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty today. We will help you show the court that these payments are
unreasonable, and you can move on with your life in a dignified manner. We can also help you file for bankruptcy in an efficient way. Please contact our offices now for an initial, free consultation. 413-732-8356