Child Support, Spousal Support and Bankruptcy
Child support, spousal support, and other domestic support obligations are explicitly not dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, that does not mean that bankruptcy does not offer some assistance if you are deficient in making court-ordered child support or domestic support obligations.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to pay off otherwise non-dischargeable “priority” unsecured debts such as child support and domestic support obligations at 0% interest over the life of the Chapter 13 payment plan. Your monthly Chapter 13 plan payment must be sufficient to the support debt off in full over a maximum of 60 months—the maximum length of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan—but, if you can accomplish that, you will bring yourself current on your support obligations without any ability of the local divorce court or Friend of the Court to sanction you for falling behind in this legal obligation.
For example, if you owed $5,000 in deficient child support payments but were unable to come up with the funds more immediately, a 60-month Chapter 13 bankruptcy would allow the $5,000 to be repaid at about $83.33 per month at 0% interest under the protection of a Federal court order that preempts any Friend of the Court or other Michigan state-court based divorce or other judgment. You must repay such obligations; Congress ensured that such debts could not be totally discharged. But a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can assure that you are required to repay child support or other domestic support obligations at an affordable, reasonable rate in a manageable timreframe.
If you are deficient in your court-ordered support obligations, contact The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a free, initial consultation so that we can determine whether a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be right for you.