When California parents of young children, it is likely that one parent will be responsible for paying a certain amount in child support, and in some cases alimony, every month. However, should those parents unexpectedly lose their job or otherwise experience a financial downturn, they might turn to bankruptcy in order to get some relief from some of their obligations.
It should be noted that child support and alimony obligations cannot be eliminated by declaring bankruptcy. However, if a parent is in extreme debt and cannot get caught up, bankruptcy can potentially help. In some cases, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow parents who large amounts of past due child support and alimony to get a handle on manageable payments without facing serious legal consequences.
When parents file a Chapter 13 case, they will have to come up with a plan that the court must approve of. These plans usually involve paying off high priority debts first over a period of three or five years. Priority debts include child support, some tax obligations, and alimony.
Child support and alimony payments are calculated based on a variety of factors. However, parents’ financial situations can change after the order is made by the court, making it difficult to keep up with the payments. If a parent who is responsible for paying child support can no longer afford the payments, a family law attorney may go back to court on behalf of the parent in order to request a modification to the child support order. It is important to know, however, that the modification will only apply to future payments.