Child Support and Bankruptcy in California

Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to provide financial support to their children, even after a divorce or separation. In California, the law requires both parents to contribute to their child’s well-being and support, regardless of the custodial arrangement. However, financial situations can change, and some parents may find themselves unable to pay child support. In such cases, bankruptcy may seem like an option, but it’s essential to understand how child support and bankruptcy intersect in California.

Firstly, it’s crucial to note that child support obligations cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. In other words, filing for bankruptcy will not relieve a parent of their responsibility to pay child support. In fact, the bankruptcy court prioritizes child support obligations above most other debts, including credit card bills, medical bills, and personal loans.

However, filing for bankruptcy can still have an impact on child support payments. For instance, a bankruptcy filing may result in an automatic stay, which temporarily stops all creditor collections, including child support payments. Still, child support is exempted from the automatic stay and must continue to be paid.

Additionally, bankruptcy proceedings can impact a parent’s ability to pay child support. For example, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing involves a payment plan that may affect the amount available for child support payments. However, child support must still be paid according to the state’s guidelines.

In conclusion, bankruptcy does not eliminate child support obligations in California. Parents are required to continue paying child support even after filing for bankruptcy. If a parent is struggling to pay child support due to financial difficulties, they should consider exploring other legal avenues, such as requesting a modification of the child support order. It’s also essential to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to understand the legal implications of bankruptcy on child support payments.

This article was written by Alla Tenina. Alla is a top San Fernando Valley bankruptcy lawyer, and the founder of Tenina Law. She has experience in bankruptcies, real estate planning, and complex tax matters. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.


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