If you are considering whether or not to file for bankruptcy but are concerned it might affect the custody of your children, you can rest easy. The primary concern of child custody courts is to determine what is best for the child. The court will look at the parent’s ability to care for and nurture him or her. As long as your child is fed, clothed, has a roof over his or head and is thriving, the court is not concerned with your bankruptcy status. However, if any of those things were to change and you are no longer caring for the child appropriately, the custody arrangement could be affected.
How does bankruptcy work?
Many folks have a negative connotation when it comes to claiming bankruptcy. Unfortunately, we live in a society where it is very easy to purchase anything you want with a credit card. “No payments for two years!” they might claim, but eventually you do need to pay the debt. Many people are impacted by this hook and find themselves so far in financial peril that they can’t seem to find their way out. Payment after payment is missed because your kids need new shoes or a backpack for school. You have to prioritize what to spend your money on and sooner or later the debt comes knocking on your door. Filing for bankruptcy might be the only way to get out from that debt. If you decide to file, there are a few options. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common bankruptcy avenues. Both have qualifying criteria and different methods for absolving your debt. It is best to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more about your options and what course of action is best for your circumstance.
Will I lose custody of my children?
You will not lose your children just because you file for bankruptcy. In fact, it is often thought as the responsible course of action. In filing for bankruptcy, you are making a choice to change your financial situation and provide yourself with a do-over, so to speak. This does not necessarily reflect on your ability to nurture and care for your children. The custody arrangements of children are handled through family court, which is not directly associated nor concerned with any history of bankruptcy. Furthermore, should your former spouse, who is responsible for child support payments, file for bankruptcy, he or she will still be responsible for the payments. The courts believe that the welfare of the children is of number one concern. In the world of bankruptcy, child support is considered a “priority debt” and therefore payments are still expected to be honored despite filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If there is any concern regarding your custody, or child support payments, you are best to contact a family law attorney and discuss your concerns.
In choosing to file for bankruptcy, you are very often making the right choice for your future. It will not affect the custody of your children as long as you are still able to care for them. A Bloomington family lawyer will be your best resource and can provide knowledge and guidance based on your specific situation.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti Attorneys at Law for their insight into circumstances affecting family law and child custody.