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Can I Discharge My Child Support Debt Through Bankruptcy?

Child support is an obligation that cannot be excused or dismissed in California. Under the law, parents are expected to provide financial support for the wellbeing and care of their children. This is generally a payment by the noncustodial parent to the parent who has the most physical custody of the child. However, even in cases where a 50-50 joint custody arrangement has been made, a parent who earns more may be called on to pay support to the lesser-earning parent.

California child support payments are mandated by law and based on a complicated formula. The formula takes into consideration how much income the two parents make, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, tax deductions, and other financial considerations. In cases where a parent falls behind on monthly child support payments, these become known as “arrears” or “arrearages.”

Need legal representation handling a child support issue as a parent in the greater San Diego area? Reach out to Cage & Miles at (858) 943-2060 to arrange to speak with one of our legal team in a free consultation.

Child Support Debt & Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is entered into for the purpose of eliminating or restructuring debt through a petition (request) to the bankruptcy court. It is a legal means for giving honest debtors a fresh start. However, the simple answer to how filing for bankruptcy can affect past-due child support payments is this: bankruptcy cannot cancel what you owe in child support. Once you have received a court order to pay child support, you will owe that support until it is paid.

The only way a bankruptcy can be used to benefit you if you have child support arrearages is through a Chapter 13 filing. In a Chapter 13, you are permitted to organize your debts and arrange to pay them back through an affordable monthly payment plan through the bankruptcy court. The plan generally lasts for three to five years. This means you could lower the amount you would otherwise owe on the arrearage as you pay it off over the duration of the plan. However, you will still have to stay current with the child support you owe as those obligations come current during and after the closing of your bankruptcy case.

Need Legal Advocacy in a Child Support Issue or other Family Law Matter?

Are you facing a dispute concerning child support, divorce, or another family law issue? At Cage & Miles, serving greater San Diego, you will work with our elite team of attorneys whose main focus is family law because family law has been our primary focus, we have gained invaluable insight, knowledge, and experience that can be used to advance your best interests. We know how to help you resolve your divorce or family law issue both inside and outside the courts, through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, and through litigation. Our firm has achieved many successful results for our clients throughout the years of our practice and can put those years of experience to work for you.

Contact Cage & Miles at (858) 943-2060 to set up a time to talk to one of our attorneys today.