Are your wages currently being garnished because you are behind in your child support? Have you been served with paperwork to go to court to explain why you are behind in your child support? Did you know that a South Carolina Family Court Judge can put you in jail for a very long time just because you are behind on your child support? A Judge may put you in jail even if you believe that you cannot afford to pay what you owe. Filing bankruptcy may be able to help.
Filing bankruptcy will not relieve you of your responsibility to pay child support. Most of my clients who owe child support are more than willing to pay it for the benefit of their children but their circumstances caused them to fall behind. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help solve the problem. The Bankruptcy will allow you up to 5 years to make monthly payments to catch up the amount that you are behind. Unless a Family Court Judge orders otherwise, you must continue (or in some cases resume) making your regular monthly child support payment. Bankruptcy law also requires that you remain current with your child support payments while your bankruptcy case is pending.
Once the bankruptcy case is filed you do not need to worry about a Family Court Judge throwing you in jail for the back child support that is owed when the case is filed, nor do you need to worry about back child support being deducted from your paycheck. However, I do highly recommend that where possible you request that both your current child support payment and your bankruptcy payment be deducted from your pay.
If you feel as though your child support payment is excessive or if your income level has decreased since your child support was set please let me know as it may be wise to file an action to lower your payment in addition to the bankruptcy filing.
-written by Columbia Bankruptcy Attorney David Melnyk