What Does Bankruptcy Mean When You’re Paying Child Support?

Bankruptcy provides individuals and businesses relief from overwhelming debts. As a last resort, filing for bankruptcy allows them to manage their debts or have their creditors forgive them altogether. But how does bankruptcy affect child support?

Child Support And Bankruptcy

Child support is a payment that one parent makes to the other to help cover the costs of raising a child. In Texas, a court or other government agency orders conditions for child support for separated or divorced parents. It may also order child support when a parent has primary custody of a child, and the other parent is not involved in the child’s life.

When it comes to bankruptcy, child support is a factor that parents may need to consider. It’s essential to look into the impact that bankruptcy may have.

The Impact Of Bankruptcy On Child Support

Child support payment is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning you cannot eliminate them through the filing process. Support payments are considered a priority debt; they must be paid before other debts. Parents must make child support payments in full, regardless of whether or not the parent filing for bankruptcy can pay their other debts.

Can You Avoid Paying Child Support Through Bankruptcy?

Since courts consider child support a priority debt, it is important to note that parents should not use bankruptcy as a way to avoid paying. Parents who fail to pay child support may face serious consequences, including wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time. 

In some cases, however, bankruptcy may still impact child support payments. This is especially true in two of the most common types of bankruptcy individuals file for.

Child Support In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

As child support is a non-dischargeable debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not affect your obligation as your payments come due. The automatic stay does prevent a lawsuit if you fall behind on your payments.

However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can ease your other financial obligations, allowing you to free up your finances so that more of your income will go toward providing child support.

Those who file for Chapter 7 will have some of their assets sold to pay off their debts. The trustees may use the sale process to pay past-due child support payments.

Child Support In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Similarly, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should be able to pay off any child support debt in full as part of your repayment order. During the proceedings, child support becomes a prime obligation that you should pay as it is a priority debt.

If an individual files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they may be able to negotiate a lower child support payment as part of their repayment plan. 

Assistance On Bankruptcy While Paying Child Support

Financial hardships bring difficulties to individuals paying child support. Attorneys and government agencies are available to provide options to help manage payments and provide advice on bankruptcy conditions. 

Suppose you are unable to pay child support and other debts due to financial constraints. In that case, seek help and explore options with a bankruptcy attorney to determine what steps are suitable for your situation. 


Child support is a priority debt and it is important to make sure that you make your payments on time, even if you filed for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy does not discharge your child support payments. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may involve the trustees using proceeds of sales to pay past child support arrears. Chapter 13 may require that it should be part of your repayment plan.

Speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney from Lincoln-Goldfinch Law to determine the type of bankruptcy suitable for your situation. They can also help you navigate the process and help avoid severe consequences. 

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