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Effects of Bankruptcy on Child Support and Custody in Pennsylvania

People often ignore the fact but divorce and bankruptcy can be closely interconnected. And when one of the spouses is filing Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, it will have serious effects on child custody and domestic support. When you have filed for bankruptcy, are you wondering whether the court will take away your custody rights? Even after filing for bankruptcy, would you still have to pay for your child support debts? Consult an experienced Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer to understand the implications of filing for bankruptcy on child custody and support.

Will You Still Have to Pay for Child Support When You File for Bankruptcy?

While getting the discharge of a bankruptcy case, the debts get divided into two categories, dischargeable debts which get eliminated, and the non-dischargeable debts that the debtor has to pay. No matter what you are filing, chapter 7 or chapter 13, most of the obligations fall into dischargeable debts including credit card debts or medical bills. But there will be non-dischargeable debts that you will be stuck with. Your child support will be included in that.

Child support is not only considered to be non-dischargeable but also is a priority debt. Just like the name, the priority debts need to be paid in the first place to the creditor. The child support debt often takes the front seat over other priority debts like income tax or financial restitution. If with bankruptcy, you are getting a divorce, you also need to know that spousal support or alimony is also considered to be a priority debt.

If you are wondering about the automatic stay period of bankruptcy and its effect, then you need to know that it has no effects on child support for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing doesn’t include your income after the filing. Hence, the automotive stay won’t have any effect on your domestic support either. In fact, you might get sued if you don’t pay for child support on time.

If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you need to know that you will get better protection. This chapter includes the post-filing income. This means that if your spouse wants to get paid for domestic support, they will have to file a motion to lift the stay. You need to ensure in this case that you follow the court’s repayment plan.

Consulting a Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer will help you immensely.

Bankruptcy and its Effect on Custody

Generally speaking, you can be relieved as bankruptcy has no effect on child custody arrangements. For the court to choose the best custody arrangement from either of the spouses depends on who is able to offer the child a more favorable quality of life for the child. That is why the court focuses on the factors like the criminal record of the parents as well as how safe the child will be with either of the parents along with the child’s own preference.

However, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind and that is getting the child’s custody will depend on the financial stability of the parents. And if you don’t have that stability, if your financial insolvency interferes with the child’s quality of life, then getting custody will be difficult. If you cannot provide for schooling, proper food, clothing, and housing, then the court will choose the other parent for custody.

If you already have custody of your child and then you are filing for bankruptcy, then you need to know that the filing won’t affect the custody arrangements. If you or your former spouse wants to change the custody arrangements, then you have to file a petition for modifying the preexisting arrangements.

It is always advised that you consult a Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer. Come to us at Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Law Group and let us handle your filing. And if case you need to have more information, you should connect with your family attorney too.

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