Chapter 13 Discharge and Child Support Arrears

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases can take between 3 and 5 years to complete, and, in a current economy, as many as two thirds of all Chapter 13 plans fail.  Thus, any debtor who has completed the plan should be proud of his or her accomplishments.

However, under some circumstances, even if all of the plan payments are made over a five year period, the debtor may not receive his Chapter 13 discharge. Specifically, Bankruptcy Code Section §1328, precludes the judge from issuing a discharge if you do not certify that all domestic support obligations that have come due during the pendency of your case have been paid. Additionally, if the debtor has child support arrears prior to filing of the case, those arrears must be paid in full during the term of the plan.

If domestic support (i.e. child support or alimony) were not paid, and that failure was not excusable, the case will be closed, and the debtor will not receive the discharge. In the case of child support in Chapter 13, the debtor cannot ignore the obligation, even if the custodial parent or child support enforcement is saying and doing nothing. Otherwise, the debtor may end up with a perfect  payment history in Chapter 13, but no order of discharge.

If you are contemplating filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, or are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a Rochester, NY, bankruptcy lawyer.