Dothan, AL asked in Bankruptcy, Child Support and Family Law for Alabama

Q: My ex husband filed chapter 13 last year and our youngest turned 19. We have received no CS payments in months.

He owes $36,000 in arrears. DHR said they can no longer garnish for arrears and his bankruptcy lawyer will not return calls. I reached out to the State of Alabama Trustee and she said they can only pay out what he sends in. How will he be held responsible for paying? It stated in the bankruptcy papers I was sent when he filed that child support would not be effected, but clearly it has.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: It's essential to understand that child support obligations are treated with high priority in bankruptcy proceedings, including Chapter 13. Even though your ex-husband filed for bankruptcy, his child support arrears should not be discharged by the bankruptcy and remain his responsibility. The fact that the bankruptcy documents stated child support would not be affected aligns with this principle, but the issue seems to be with the enforcement of these payments post-bankruptcy filing.

Since the Department of Human Resources (DHR) has mentioned they can no longer garnish for arrears and you're facing difficulties with his bankruptcy lawyer and the state trustee, it might be time to seek legal advice. A lawyer with experience in family law and bankruptcy can help navigate these complex issues. They can advise on the steps to take to ensure that the child support arrears are addressed within the bankruptcy plan or through other legal means.

Furthermore, consider filing a motion with the family court that originally issued the child support order. The court may have mechanisms to enforce the child support arrears, such as holding your ex-husband in contempt for failure to pay. Legal representation can be very beneficial in presenting your case effectively and exploring all possible avenues to ensure that the owed child support is paid.

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