Chapter 13 Is Powerful Medicine for Curing Child and Spousal Support Arrearage

Chapter 13 is an extraordinary legal tool for protecting you from the aggressive civil law collection methods of your ex-spouse and support enforcement agency, allowing you to catch up while under this protection.

Child and Spousal Support (Alimony) Collections

Blank check Texas state law allows ex-spouses and support enforcement agencies to be extremely aggressive in their methods for collecting support arrearage, especially for child support. This includes filing a lien on your property, including personal property, bank accounts and any real estate you may own.

Another common enforcement tool is the suspension or revocation of state-issued licenses. This includes ANY license issued by the state, including not just your driver’s license, but also professional licenses for everyone from plumbers to doctors, as well as hunting and fishing licenses. In fact, there are at least 60 licensing agencies in the State of Texas that issue licenses that could be taken from you. If you fall more than three months behind on child support AND you are not in compliance with an existing court-ordered or voluntary repayment schedule, your various licenses could be suspended.

Chapter 7 as a Possible Solution

Notwithstanding the above, if you are behind on support payments you may be able to arrange a catch-up program with your support enforcement agency directly. Whether this will be possible greatly varies from one agency to another and also depends on the circumstances of your case. But especially if you are not far behind, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to discharge all or most of your other debts may make sense. Your goal would be to clean up your finances so that you could pay the catch-up payments along with reliably making the regular monthly support payments going forward.

The Power of Chapter 13

But if you are not able to make workable payment arrangements with your support enforcement agency and fear that the agency is about to start suspending your license(s) or take other collection action against you, Chapter 13 can be extremely helpful. Chapter 13 stops all of the civil law collection procedures stated above. It gives you three to five years to pay the support payments currently due, as long as you rigorously keep up with your ongoing monthly support payments in the meantime. And throughout this time, most of the very tough collection tools usually available to your ex-spouse or support agency are put on hold for your benefit.

The Limitations of Chapter 13

Unfortunately, bankruptcy generally, and Chapter 13 particularly, does not have power over the criminal courts. Nonpayment of support is considered grounds for “contempt of court” for failure to not comply with the court order establishing the support obligation. This comes with a risk of jail, serious fines and payment of the state’s attorney’s fees and court costs.

Contact an Experienced Rockwall Bankruptcy Lawyer

To schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Rockwall, Texas, please call me at 972-772-3083 or fill out this form and I will contact you to schedule an appointment. I do my best to answer all calls, but sometimes I am in court or with another client. Please leave a message if I do not answer the phone, and I will return your call as soon as possible.

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Call Rockwall bankruptcy lawyer Carrie Weir at 972-772-3083 or fill out the contact from below for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your options.

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