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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

Bankruptcy: What about child support?

Question: Since getting divorced I tried to start a business but I had to close it when one of my partners embezzled money. Then I lost my job selling time shares and now I work at a company that sells educational software to high schools, colleges and universities. I make a decent salary but not what I need to make my bill payments every month.

The problem is that my two daughters are in private school, my car payment is over $1,000.00 a month for an Audi and my mortgage payment is almost $5,000.00 per month. Add to that my child support payments and it's like I should have stayed married.

My ex-wife is a doctor and she really doesn't need child support. As a cardiologist she makes a lot of money. She has bipolar disorder so being married was very challenging.

I need to know if I file bankruptcy can I put my child support payments into the bankruptcy. If I can go bankrupt and get rid of the child support I will. The two girls get anything they want. New clothes at Phipps Plaza every week, Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift concert tickets at least once a month and they have had shoes made for them by Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik. So they don't need any more money. I almost forgot to mention the dog house my wife paid for that was air conditioned and has a full kitchen that cost over $20,000.00.

Can I put my child support payments into a bankruptcy to finally get rid of them or at least lower them?

N.V. in Sandy Springs

Answer: Child support payments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Under the bankruptcy law, unlike credit card debts, medical bills, car repossessions or evictions, you cannot get rid of child support payments by filing bankruptcy, nor can you eliminate child support arrears. In fact, student loans and IRS tax debt are actually easier to discharge than child support.

The way to modify a child support obligation is to bring a motion for a modification. A motion would be brought in the superior court. You need to specify why a modification of the obligation is warranted.

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