How Does Bankruptcy Affect Child Support in Illinois?

By Mary Jane Freeman

Bankruptcy provides much needed debt relief and a fresh financial start. Although bankruptcy erases most debts, existing child support obligations are not among them. This means that the parent filing bankruptcy is still on the hook before, during and after the bankruptcy. But if a parent owes back child support, filing for bankruptcy may help him catch up.

Affected Debts

Like most debtors, Illinois bankruptcy filers typically choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. With Chapter 7, debtors give up their nonexempt assets to pay off creditors. With Chapter 13, debtors pay some or all of their debts through a repayment plan that lasts about three to five years. Whatever debts remain unpaid at the end of either bankruptcy are discharged. Most debts are eligible for discharge, including credit cards, medical bills and personal loans.

Domestic Support Obligations

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code expressly prohibits the discharge of domestic support obligations. Illinois debtors cannot discharge child support or alimony obligations. But, if a parent is past-due with child support payments, filing for bankruptcy may provide some breathing room -- an automatic stay goes into effect the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed, effectively barring creditors from engaging in collection activity while the bankruptcy is underway. Thus, wage garnishments for arrears and other collection measures stop. If a past-due parent filed for Chapter 13, the repayment period enables him to catch up on unpaid child support in a structured way over time.

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Can Someone in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Get a Passport?
 

References

Related articles

What Does a Discharge in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Mean to Debtors?

Bankruptcy allows a debtor to obtain relief from his creditors if he meets certain legal requirements. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation of assets, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves repayment of some, or all, of the debt owed. If a debtor’s income is above the state median income and he has enough disposable income to repay his debt, Chapter 7 is not an option. In both types of bankruptcy, there eventually is a discharge of debt.

Define Bankruptcy Terminated

If you file for bankruptcy protection from creditors, a federal court gains jurisdiction over your assets, debts and financial affairs. The court has the authority to eliminate dischargeable debts, liquidate your assets or set up a repayment schedule (as in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing). However, the court also has the authority to dismiss or terminate the case, either on your motion or on its own initiative.

Laws on Debt Forgiveness Through Chapter 13

When debt piles up, individual debtors may need the structure of a bankruptcy case to get back on their feet again. If you qualify, bankruptcy offers protection from collection efforts and a chance to partially erase some debts while paying others. An online legal services provider can help you file your bankruptcy case.

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