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Does filing for bankruptcy affect child support payments?

Connecticut parents who are filing for bankruptcy are not released from their current or past-due child support obligations as a result of the bankruptcy filing. Child support obligations are a form of debt that in general cannot be discharged as part of the bankruptcy process.

A parent who has had a change in financial circumstances and needs an adjustment to a child support order as a result must file a motion for a modification of that order. However, this also will have no effect on payments already owed.

Parents who are filing for bankruptcy should also note that they cannot discharge other debts that are related to the care of the child. This may include medical debt as well as other expenses. Determining which obligations count as those "in the nature of support" for children may be complex, so parents may want to speak with an attorney about this aspect of the bankruptcy process.

A parent who is struggling with child support payments due to bankruptcy or other financial problems or a parent who is having trouble collecting support from the other parent may want to discuss the situation with an attorney. Legal counsel may be helpful in filing a motion to get child support reduced as well as in pursuing unpaid child support. Despite the financial stresses that lead to and accompany bankruptcy, a court simply does not see this as sufficient reason to alter child support. However, if an individual is filing for bankruptcy due to a significant life event like job loss, the court may agree that such a change in circumstances is a reason to reduce the child support payments until the situation improves.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support and Bankruptcy", accessed on March 2, 2015

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