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You Can Still Collect Child Support Payments Even If Your Ex-Spouse Files for Bankruptcy

June 18, 2020

Child support is no ordinary debt. If you are in over your head with consumer debts or business debts, you have plenty of options for how to pay those debts, or not to pay them, as the case may be. Some people dodge bill collectors until the statute of limitations expires for their debts. Others file for bankruptcy as often as they can. Some even move out of state or out of the country to evade creditors; these are known as “debt birds.” The good news for divorced parents who have been awarded child support is that, even if your ex-spouse is an expert at running up bills and not paying them, the court will still enforce your child support order, including garnishing your ex-spouse’s income or imposing criminal penalties. If your ex-spouse is struggling to meet child support payments or has declared bankruptcy, the family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh can help you collect the child support money your ex owes you.

Child Support Obligations Don’t Go Away When You File for Bankruptcy

For many people with debts they cannot repay, bankruptcy provides an opportunity to make a clean break with their troubled financial past; some debts get written off, and bankrupt borrowers have an opportunity to re-negotiate payment of the debts they cannot erase. Alimony and child support (the legal term for these in bankruptcy law is “domestic support obligations”) do not go away when you file for bankruptcy; you are still responsible for the same amount of alimony and child support, including past due amounts, as you would have had to pay if you had not declared bankruptcy.

If you can’t pay the child support the court has ordered you to pay, bankruptcy is not the solution. Instead, you should file a motion to modify your child support obligations. The court will grant this motion if you can show that there has been a material change in circumstances, such as being laid off from your job or being unable to work because of a chronic illness. You can even ask the court to modify your obligations retroactively. If the court finds that your reduction in income was by choice and not due to circumstances beyond your control, it will not modify your child support order.

If Your Ex-Spouse Can’t Pay or Refuses to Pay

If your ex-spouse has failed to meet their child support obligations, you have the right to file a motion to enforce child support. If necessary, the court will garnish your ex-spouse’s tax refunds, workers’ compensation benefits, or unemployment insurance or Social Security benefits. You can even file a motion to find your ex in contempt of court if he or she is intentionally refusing to pay child support pursuant to your child support order.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Can Help You Collect Child Support Even from the Most Evasive Ex-Spouse

Even if your ex-spouse has declared bankruptcy, your children still have a right to be financially supported by both parents. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA for help enforcing child support orders. 🡺 412-419-3448