This is a complex matter that involves the intersection of two complicated practice areas: family law and bankruptcy. If you are quickly becoming financially insolvent, bankruptcy may be the best choice to protect yourself. It is no secret that a divorce could put some strain on finances, which could play a role in a parent having to declare bankruptcy.
However, don't make the mistake of assuming that bankruptcy discharges your child support obligations. Both parents of a child have a legal responsibility to financially care for their child, and the courts strictly enforce this obligation.
Child support payments generally cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This means that if you try to escape your child support duties, the courts will enforce payment obligations against you. Additionally, filing for bankruptcy does not discharge any "arrears." Arrears are unpaid child support payments that are accumulated against the non-compliant spouse.
If you cease payments, your arrears will grow until the court takes action against you. However, you may file an action with the court to modify support payments due to your bankruptcy. Finally, any additional debts incurred to support your child may not be discharged. This includes everything related to your child's welfare, such as medical bills, and upbringing, like school costs.
You may want to consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney to clarify how bankruptcy affects child support payments. You are already going through bankruptcy; you do not want to get dragged into another costly court battle. An attorney may be able to help you avoid the difficulties you would face if you were forced to appear in court regarding your support payments.
The drama of a divorce does not end with formal separation, especially if you share children. An attorney could possibly create a solution that works for you, your ex-spouse and your children.