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Does the Automatic Stay During Bankruptcy Apply to Child Support?

September 15th, 2020 at 9:48 am

TX bankrupcy lawyer, Texas bankruptcy attorneyWhen you file for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy court will automatically issue a stay that stops all collection activities by creditors. The automatic stay is a court order that prevents creditors from calling you, sending you letters, and otherwise pushing you to pay what you owe them. The stay is meant to be a form of relief that gives you the chance to get organized as you approach your bankruptcy proceedings. If you are subject to a child support order, however, it is important to understand that the automatic stay will not help you with that particular obligation.

How the Automatic Stay Works

Whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy code recognizes that you will need time and space to sort out your thoughts and to prepare for the proceedings without creditors bothering you at all hours of the day. The automatic stay is meant to give you that time and space. The stay also serves as the proverbial “line in the sand” as well, meaning that once the stay is issued, collection efforts cannot resume until the bankruptcy proceedings are complete or the creditor obtains the express permission of the bankruptcy court to contact you again. In the meantime, you will not be at risk of foreclosure, eviction, wage garnishments, or even having your utilities shut off.

Child Support Is an Exception

If you currently pay child support, the automatic stay will not help your required payments nor will it prevent collection activities if you are behind on your support obligation. The automatic stay is intended to give you relief, but not at the expense of your child’s best interests. You must continue making your child support payments during the bankruptcy proceedings, or you could be subject to collection efforts by state agencies or the court.

It is also important to note that child support obligations—including obligations for back support—are not eligible to be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Regardless of what happens to your other debt, you will still be required to pay your current support amount, as well as any delinquent amounts.

Your child support obligations will not be discharged in 13 bankruptcy either. Child support and other types of “domestic support obligations” are considered high-priority debts, which means they will be at the top of the list of debts to be paid according to your reorganization plan. However, if you keep up with the terms of your plan, the state cannot take action against you during the repayment period, which usually lasts between three and five years.

Speak With a New Braunfels Bankruptcy Attorney

If you have questions about how filing for bankruptcy might be able to help you catch up on your child support obligations, contact an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer at The Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee today. We will help you find the answers you need as you look to get back your feet financially. Call 210-342-3400 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/child-support-and-alimony-in-bankruptcy-4154002

https://civil.sog.unc.edu/bankruptcy-and-the-application-of-the-automatic-stay-to-family-law-cases/

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