Can You File Bankruptcy on Child Support in Illinois?
When parents in Illinois find themselves struggling to make ends meet, they may consider filing for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, some debts—such as child support payments—are not dischargeable through the process.
Still, filing can help you get back on your feet and catch up with your past-due obligations by eliminating your other debts.
Does Bankruptcy Cancel Child Support?
If you are behind on your child support payments in Illinois, you may be wondering if you can file for bankruptcy to get out of this debt.
You can’t discharge your child support obligations through bankruptcy. However, filing can still drastically improve your financial situation by reducing your other costs. This means you will have more money to put towards your court-ordered maintenance payments.
How Will Bankruptcy Affect Your Obligations?
In Illinois, when you file a Chapter 7 declaration, your “non-exempt” assets will be liquidated to pay back creditors. Then, your remaining eligible debts will be discharged, meaning you won’t have to repay them.
As we discussed earlier, you can’t have your unpaid maintenance forgiven or use bankruptcy to lower your payments. But filing can still help by eliminating your other obligations and allowing you to catch up on any back maintenance that you owe. Because your past due support is a “priority debt,” the money that is made from selling your assets will go to paying that before non-priority creditors can get paid.
It’s important to keep in mind that your maintenance costs won’t get any lower. But, your other financial commitments will be reduced or wiped out entirely. This will allow you to reallocate a larger portion of your income toward child support.
Chapter 13 will also allow you to catch up on past-due payments. You will be able to repay this debt as part of a 3-to-5-year payment plan that consolidates your debts into an affordable monthly payment. After you complete the repayment period, your remaining eligible debts will be discharged.
What Happens if You Can’t Pay Child Support?
Failing to pay can have serious consequences in Illinois. The less serious possibilities include wage garnishment and interest charges. The court may also suspend your driver’s license. In some cases, the laws can even allow for a criminal conviction or jail time.
If you are behind on payments, it is important to take action as soon as possible to avoid these penalties. While you may be able to receive a modification of the court order if your circumstances have changed, don’t forget that past due maintenance typically cannot be adjusted.
By filing for bankruptcy in Illinois, you can address the real cause of your financial troubles: your debt. When your other debts are reduced and eliminated, you will have more money to allocate to supporting your children.
Comprehensive Debt Solutions through DebtStoppers
If you are struggling to make your Illinois child support payments, or if you have other overwhelming debts that are making it difficult to keep up with your obligations, bankruptcy may be a viable solution for you.
Contact our DebtStopers today for a free consultation, and our experienced Illinois lawyers can help you determine whether filing is the right option for relieving your debt burden and allowing you to meet your maintenance obligations.