Some Illinois parents depend greatly on child support to handle their child’s expenses. So the possibility of an ex-spouse declaring bankruptcy can be a frightening one. If your former spouse filed for bankruptcy, you might wonder if your ex is now released from paying child support. The answer to this question is no. Your ex would still be obligated to pay support even if bankruptcy is filed.
FindLaw explains that bankruptcy does not place any holds on ongoing child support payments. This means a bankruptcy filer cannot stop paying child support even if bankruptcy is granted. An ex-spouse that stops paying support is still subject to court or state efforts to enforce payments. Bankruptcy also does not stop attempts to establish paternity, modify child support or establish a parent’s obligation to pay child support.
Bankruptcy allows for many past debts to be discharged, meaning that the bankruptcy filer is no longer obligated to pay them, but this is not true for child support. If your ex-spouse has accumulated a few months of unpaid support, bankruptcy will not wipe out those debts. The ideal situation is that your former spouse’s financial situation will significantly improve if other debts are discharged and help the spouse pay the owed support in a timely manner.
A financially burdened parent can still petition the court to lower future child support payments. Filing for bankruptcy may be enough to convince a judge to grant a motion to reduce future amounts of support, but this does not change the amount of past support that the parent owes. The parent is still responsible for paying off the back support payments in their original amounts.
Some Illinois parents have a sincere need to file bankruptcy to improve their financial state. However, there is the possibility that a divorced spouse may use the fog of bankruptcy to try to get out of paying child support. This is not permitted and you have the right to seek legal help in the event you suspect you are being unlawfully deprived of support payments.
This article is written to provide readers with general information on family law topics. It is not intended as legal advice.