Can Arrears Be Discharged By Filing For Bankruptcy?

child support arrears Question:

Can child support arrears be discharged by filing for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I practice in Pennsylvania, if the amount of child support arrears makes further payment untenable, there is usually no recourse in ultimately discharging this debt through Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.

Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan
Cordell & Cordell Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan, IV

As an alternative, Pennsylvania law does allow you to modify your child support obligation due to a material change in circumstances. Therefore, an inability to pay because of lower income can be grounds to modify the support order (even retroactively under certain circumstances) so as to adjust the payments going forward and the arrears balance.

Due to the extremely fact-specific nature of this situation and its implications involving the Internal Revenue Code, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters (including tax law matters) in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws and federal tax laws can help you with this serious situation.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in Missouri and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer William J. Phelan, IV, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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3 comments on “Can Arrears Be Discharged By Filing For Bankruptcy?

    I behind on child support and alimony I not called my kids or called too say I coming for visitation the state I live in is try too take money out of my checking acct I contesting how much I owe because I lost my job in Jan 2015 and I still not working I dedputing the amount I owe because I was order too pay 1052 child support and 800 alimony but the court said if I lose my job or laidoff I have year too pay alimony what can I expect in court hearing

    My son father receive social security disability and fill chapter 13 bankruptcy an arrears with child support I receive some money 1 to4 month

    Really in need help fast!!!
    I’m been through a modification for about a year plus now. I have lost my apartment and everything. Than had to file bankruptcy to keep from being garnished by everyone while still waiting for my modification. My case is in the state of Michigan with Washtenaw county. If theirs any help or leads on how I can get any kind of help please show me!
    Thank you, Everett

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