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

Can I put my child support in a bankruptcy?

Question: I need to know if I can include my child support payments in a bankruptcy. I went through a nasty divorce and now I have to make some hefty child support payments to my former wife, who’s a nasty piece of work.

I’ve asked her to let me pay less child support but she always says no. I know I have 4 kids to support but the payment is really high and it makes it hard to pay other bills that I have, like my rent and my car payment. I definitely need to file bankruptcy because I lost money in an investment in an Italian restaurant that I started with a friend of mine and I have too many loans I can’t afford.

I’m actually behind on my child support because I haven’t found a decent job and my savings are very low, almost non-existent at this point. I used to make the support payments no problem, and I paid every month for the past 3 years, but I’ve gotten behind over the past 7-8 months and my wife and her attorney are threatening to put me in jail for non-payment. I definitely don’t want to go to jail so I need some help from a top Cumming bankruptcy lawyer and that’s why I’m bothering you.

I’m writing to you to try to figure out if filing bankruptcy will help me get out from under my child support mess and make it so I can repay the arrears so I can finally get my finances in order. Or maybe I can just get rid of the old support arrears totally or even the whole child support debt that’s been crushing me.

L.G. in Forsyth County, GA

Answer: Child support can be put into a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. While the debt cannot be discharged (eliminated), it can be paid-off over 5 years. Bankruptcy allows you to take your child support arrears and put them into a bankruptcy so that over a period of years you can pay what you owe on a monthly basis. Of course, the bankruptcy court can’t reduce your support obligation, which has to be done with a petition in superior court.

We have had clients who have been threatened with jail unless they paid their child support. We have on several occasions used the bankruptcy laws to keep these clients out of jail because we have put their arrears into a bankruptcy.

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