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Bankruptcy and child support: Can the former discharge the latter?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy benefits people who can’t pay all their debts. It offers them a fresh start. But what if one has unpaid child support? Does declaring bankruptcy mean they don’t need to pay their child support arrears?

Here is what to know about bankruptcy and child support:

Bankruptcy does not discharge child support

According to Connecticut law, an individual debtor cannot be discharged from any debt for a domestic support obligation, including a debt that accrues before, on or after the date of the order for relief that is owed to a child. This includes interest that accrues on that debt. 

The court will require the debtor to pay their child support arrears and to continue making payments.

How will one pay child support?

So, how does someone who can’t pay their debts afford child support? 

When a debtor is granted bankruptcy, they can provide a written notice to a domestic support claimant informing them of the right to use the services of a state child support enforcement agency. For example, the other parent can collect payments from the debtor’s Social Security benefits. The debtor should notify both the child support claimant and the respective agency.

Additionally, a debtor can modify their child support order with the help of Support Enforcement Services (SES). SES will review the debtor’s case to determine if a modification is needed, which may likely be the case when the debtor has declared bankruptcy.

A debtor can also modify their child support order by filing a motion by themselves or working with an attorney. 

If you are required to pay child support, yet you have declared bankruptcy, it’s vital to know the steps to take to protect your mental health while meeting your child’s needs.