How Child Support Obligations Are Affected By Bankruptcy
Child support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The Michigan State Disbursement Unit, the applicable county Friend of Court, and the recipient of child support are required to be notified of the bankruptcy but they do not have to do anything in the bankruptcy court. The recipient of child support has the right to attend the meeting of creditors, but usually does not do so. If you are the recipient of child support but are not receiving payments from a debtor in bankruptcy you certainly have the right to attend the meeting of creditors and make the Trustee aware of this. But you should also notify the county Friend of Court office in charge of the child support case, as they are in the best position to pursue the matter.
You are required to list your child support obligation in your bankruptcy, even if you are current on the obligation. Even though you are in bankruptcy, the payroll deduction for child support payments will continue to come out of your pay checks. At your meeting of creditors, the Trustee will ask you if you have any domestic support obligations. For more information about the meeting of creditors, see my article entitled, “What to Do at Your Meeting of Creditors.” If you are in bankruptcy and are receiving child support payments or are not receiving payments but have a right to receive payments, you must disclose this in your bankruptcy filings.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, toward the end of the case you have to complete and file a document known as “Chapter 13 Debtor’s Certifications Regarding Domestic Support Obligations.” A debtor in a Chapter 13 case must complete and file this form to the court or the court will not issue a discharge of the debts. This is true even if you do not have a domestic support obligation. You must certify that either you do not have a domestic support obligation, or that you do have a domestic support obligation but you made all the payments you were required to make from the filing of the bankruptcy case to the present. For more information on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 see my article entitled, “The Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and Which Chapter is Right For You.”
The above information is a general overview and is not intended to be used as legal advice. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the best thing to do is call our office at 248-557-3645 and schedule a free consultation so you can receive advice which is tailored to your specific circumstances.
By: Michael Benkstein, Esq.
Managing Attorney, Bankruptcy Department
The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC