Between legal fees, a new place and child support, divorce has already hurt your bank account. Whether you were already in a bad place before, have not recovered from the divorce costs or have experienced a financial disaster, bankruptcy may now be in your future.
With so much debt to worry about, you may wonder how declaring bankruptcy will affect your child support obligations. Do they go away or become lower? Do you have to continue paying when you are broke? Understanding New Hampshire laws can help prevent you from getting yourself into further financial trouble.
How bankruptcy affects child support
While bankruptcy eliminates most debt, it does not wipe away child support payments, spousal support or any other monetary obligation related to your divorce. However, with fewer debts (Chapter 7 bankruptcy) or a low repayment plan (Chapter 13 bankruptcy), you can put more of your money toward child support so you do not fall behind. Not paying may result in the following consequences in New Hampshire:
- Loss of driver’s, professional and sporting license
- Jail time
- Lien on your assets
- Interception of your tax refund
- Passport denial
Penalties increase if it has been a year since you last paid or you owe more than $10,000.
How to reduce your child support payment
What should you do, then, when you cannot afford to pay? The good news is that you have the option of modifying the order because of this change in your financial circumstances. With the help of an attorney, you can prove your bankruptcy and any other factor related to it, such as the termination of employment, decreased salary or a health problem. If you are successful, the court will lower the amount you have to pay. It may or may not be temporary depending on your case. In the meantime, still pay the full amount or at least whatever you can to show willingness to comply with the court order.