Blog
Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee

Call Today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

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.

...

Before filing bankruptcy, should you pay child/spousal support debt in the meantime? This may depend on whether you file Chapter 7 or 13.


Our last three blog posts have been about what you should and should not do before filing bankruptcy. Three weeks ago we focused on keeping your assets, especially any retirement funds, and collateral, such as home or vehicle. Two weeks we discussed whether to take on more debt, maybe to buy time and not need to file bankruptcy. And last week we looked at whether you should file any unfiled income tax returns, and pay income taxes.

...

Here’s an example of a Chapter 13 payment plan to pay past-due child and/or spousal support, showing how you can catch up safely and sanely.

Today we put what we explained in the last three weeks of blog post into a sample Chapter 13 plan. It shows how powerfully Chapter 13 helps you if you owe past due child and/or spousal support. A Chapter 13 filing protects you from the aggressive collection of overdue support, immediately and as long as needed. And through the Chapter 13 payment plan you get a reasonable and even peaceful way to catch up on support.

...

Chapter 13 gives you a powerful, reasonable, flexible, and even calm procedure for catching up on your past-due child or spousal support.

The last two weeks we’ve shown how Chapter 13 can stop the collection of unpaid child and spousal support. First we talked about how this benefit is much better than Chapter 7 can provide. Then we focused on the ongoing conditions you must meet to keep up this protection.

...

Chapter 13 immediately stops the collection of past-due child or spousal support. But to keep that protection you must meet some conditions.


Last week we showed how Chapter 13 stops the collection of unpaid child and spousal support, while Chapter 7 doesn’t. But we ended by emphasizing that anyone can quickly lose this huge benefit of Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts”. Avoiding this requires strictly complying with some conditions. These conditions are arguably sensible ones. But you need to know and understand them so you don’t lose this crucial Chapter 13 benefit. Because these conditions are so important we focus today’s entire blog post on them.

...

Call Today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

Facebook YouTube Blog
Back to Top