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Tuesday’s Legal Tidbit: Child Support Modification After Job Loss

Question: Can I have my child support modified in Georgia because I lost my job?

Answer: Yes, according to O.C.G.A.§ 19-6-5 child support can be modified when a party can demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in either parent’s income, financial status or the needs of the child. Usually, modifications can only be requested every two years, but the courts allow for a “hardship” modification when the party loses at least a quarter of their income by job loss or some other hardship.

However, although the courts allow for modifications for loss of income, they do not tolerate willful or voluntary unemployment or underemployment. Upon the presentation of all evidence at a hearing, the Court will make the final decision on whether child support will be modified.

If you or someone you know has questions about the child support modification laws in Georgia, needs help filing a modification or needs legal assistance with other child custody issues, please call The Boddie Law Firm at (404) 287-2393 for a complete consultation.

(c) 2012. The Boddie Law Firm. All rights reserved. The information contained in this post is subject to our Disclaimer. Comments to this blog are moderated and subject to editing, removal or deletion at the discretion of the owner.

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Tuesday’s Legal Tidbit–Can Child Support Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Question: My ex-husband, who is currently behind on child support, just filed bankruptcy. Does this mean he will get out of paying back child support?

Answer:  No. Child and spousal support, including back child support and alimony, are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, back child support and alimony must be paid before any other creditor, including taxes owed.

Section 362(b)(2)(B) specifically excludes from the automatic stay any action to collect a “domestic support obligation.”  This means that if the child support payer files Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the automatic stay protection associated with a Chapter 13 filing should not stop a state court judge from hearing or ruling on a contempt action for collection of child support, nor should it stop a wage or bank account garnishment against the child support payer.

However, some state court judges will not assume anything about bankruptcy and will insist on an order from the Bankruptcy Judge before they will proceed with a child support collection case.

Understand that while the parent filing for bankruptcy will not be able to discharge the arrearage or back child support, that does not mean he may not be able to file for a modification under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  This would mean that the ex-husband’s debt will be calculated and the Court would decide one fixed amount for a specified time period so that all debts can be repaid.

If you have any questions about child support modification during bankruptcy, please call The Boddie Law Group, LLC at 404-287-2393 for a complete and thorough consultation.

 

(c) 2012. The Boddie Law Group, LLC. All rights reserved. The information contained in this post is subject to our Disclaimer. Comments to this blog are moderated.

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