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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Child Support Obligations?

By law, child support obligations generally cannot be avoided in a bankruptcy. They pass pretty much intact.
What Debt Can Be Wiped Out In Bankruptcy?
What Debts Will I Still Have To Pay After My Bankruptcy?

Last Reviewed: Tue, Nov 23, 2021

Child support and other kinds of "Domestic Support Obligations" (DSOs) are not dischargeable and pass through bankruptcy unaffected.

This is because bankruptcy laws (and collection laws generally) do not allow the elimination of Domestic Support Obligations (DSOs). 

They are "priority debts" and must be listed on Schedule E/F (Form 106 E/F)

If a significant portion of your debt is back-due child support, bankruptcy can't eliminate that debt, but may be able to eliminate other debts that may allow you to get current on your Domestic Support Obligations,

Support obligations versus property divisions

Sometimes divorce settlement agreements provide creative ways to offer support obligations. If a provision of a divorce decree is found to be in the nature of a DSO, the court will not allow the debt to be discharged.

Support obligations are often an exception to State and Federal property exemption laws; property exemption laws in all states specifically do not protect your property from enforcement of child support collection efforts. 

In the 2005 bankruptcy law, provisions were added that now also prevent the discharge of debts to a child or ex-spouse arising out of a divorce or settlement agreement. (11 U.S.C. § 523 (15).

See Chapter 2, "When the Stay Doesn't Apply" and Ch.9 "Debts That Survive Chapter 7 Bankruptcy" of How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, (Nolo, 2021, 22nd ed)




What Debt Can Be Wiped Out In Bankruptcy?
What Debts Will I Still Have To Pay After My Bankruptcy?
Legal Consumer - Bakersfield, CALaw. Jurisdictional relevance: The content of this article pertains to all US states and counties.