Child Support

Bankruptcy helps consumers eliminate many different kinds of debt, but child support and other domestic support obligations cannot be discharged in any bankruptcy proceeding. When the United States Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), the legislation made child support, alimony, and other domestic support obligations "priority debts"—meaning that such debts are treated as the first priority ahead of all other creditors.

Regardless of which chapter bankruptcy, a person files, failure to continue making child support payments can result in very serious consequences. Any missed payments will prevent a debtor from having his or her bankruptcy case discharged and thus possibly leave him, or her still obligated to pay debts to other creditors that would have been otherwise discharged.

Bankruptcy Attorney in Cincinnati Discusses Child Support

Are you concerned about how your child support will impact your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing in Ohio or Kentucky? You will want to make sure that you seek the help of experienced legal counsel.

The Cincinnati bankruptcy lawyers of Steiden Law Offices represent clients in communities throughout Hamilton County in Ohio and Boone County and Kenton County in Kentucky. They can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call to receive a free initial consultation.


Overview of Child Support in Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Cases


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Ohio Domestic Support Obligations

Title 11 U.S. Code § 101(14A) defines a domestic support obligation as "a debt that accrues before, on, or after the date of the order for relief in a case under this title, including interest that accrues on that debt as provided under applicable nonbankruptcy law notwithstanding any other provision of this title, that is:

  • owed to or recoverable by a spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor or such child’s parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative; or a governmental unit;
  • in the nature of alimony, maintenance, or support (including assistance provided by a governmental unit) of such spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor or such child’s parent, without regard to whether such debt is expressly so designated;
  • established or subject to establishment before, on, or after the date of the order for relief in a case under this title, by reason of applicable provisions of a separation agreement, divorce decree, or property settlement agreement; an order of a court of record; or a determination made in accordance with applicable nonbankruptcy law by a governmental unit; and
  • not assigned to a nongovernmental entity, unless that obligation is assigned voluntarily by the spouse, former spouse, child of the debtor, or such child’s parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative to collect the debt.

Domestic support obligations cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.


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Child Support and the Automatic Stay in Kentucky

When a person files for bankruptcy, it results in an automatic stay an injunction that prohibits most creditors from collecting debts from the bankruptcy debtor. Child support and other domestic support obligations are an exception to the automatic stay prohibition.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the proceeds of any funds obtained through the liquidation of the debtor's nonexempt property will be used to pay any child support first. A debtor must pay all back child support in order to receive his or her discharge. Furthermore, a debtor's income is not part of his or her estate, so it may the court may order wage garnishments to fulfill child support obligations.

With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, child support and other domestic support obligations usually become part of the debtor's repayment plan. For many debtors, Chapter 13 repayment plans help them get caught up on missed child support payments. Any effort to collect child support from a debtor's post-bankruptcy earnings requires the creditor to file a motion for relief from the automatic stay.


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Child Support Resources in Ohio and Kentucky

Child Support | Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) — The ODJFS is the administrative department of the state government responsible for supervising the state's child support program and many other programs. Use this website to access the Ohio Child Support Customer Service Portal and view your case information. You can also find a child support calculator, common child support forms, and a child support overview.

Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA)
222 E. Central Pkwy.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 946-7387

Kentucky: Cabinet for Health and Family Services | Child Support Enforcement — The Child Support Enforcement Program is administered by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. In addition to other functions, the Child Support Enforcement Program enforces and collects support payments, enforces spousal support orders when the child and spouse or former spouse live together, and the child support agency is collecting support for the child, and reviews support orders for possible modification. Visit this website to learn more about where to send child support payments, how to apply for child support enforcement services, and how to request a review and modification.


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Steiden Law Offices | Cincinnati Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy after a recent divorce, it will be in your best interest to seek legal representation to ensure that you handle your child support obligations correctly. Contact Steiden Law Offices as soon as possible.

Our Cincinnati bankruptcy attorneys have Ohio locations in Cincinnati, West Chester, and Maineville as well as offices in Florence and Covington in Kentucky. Call or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation



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