Not every North Carolina resident will file for it, but many have heard of it: bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is the legal process by which a person may eliminate many of their debts either through the liquidation of their assets in Chapter 7 bankruptcy or the repayment of their debts in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When a noncustodial parent who has delinquent child support payments in their history files for bankruptcy, a custodial parent may become nervous about whether those payments will ever be made.
Generally, bankruptcy does not eliminate a parent’s obligation to support their child. In fact, an active bankruptcy proceeding will have no impact on many of the family law proceedings that are necessary to establish child support, such as paternity hearings or support modification requests. It will not delay or cancel them: child support matters continue throughout a bankruptcy proceeding.
To this end, a parent who owes child support and who files for bankruptcy will emerge from the financial process with their obligation to their child intact. Although their other debts, such as those on credit cards or to financial institutions, may be eliminated, their child support debts will persist once their bankruptcy discharge is approved.
Seeking child support from a noncompliant parent can be a very difficult process for a custodial parent. The state offers a number of ways through which payment may be compelled and bankruptcy will not sever the noncompliant parent’s obligations to their child. Family law attorneys can help their clients and their clients’ kids secure the support they need despite the legal actions taken by the noncustodial parents.