SUMMARY: Garnishment for past due child support may usually be stopped by filing bankruptcy. The regular child support payment can only be lowered by modification of the support order in state court.
In most circumstances, garnishment for past child support arrearage may be stopped by filing and providing for the arrearage in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Withholding for the regular (current) child support payments continues. Where the Debtor has lost his job or income has decreased, the Bankruptcy Court cannot lower the regular child support payment. The Texas Attorney General Child Support Unit may be able to help you if you request your payment be lowered. Texas Attorney General Child Support Unit publishes an FAQ on garnishment procedures for child support. A family law attorney may also assist you with lowering regular child support payments.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be used to catch up on past due child support over a 5 year period. This may lower the amount that is being garnished for arrearage. Certain arrearage may not have to be paid back at all and can be discharged. This is limited to arrearage that has been assigned to a governmental unit. This is usually where a state agency provided welfare benefits in exchange for the mother assigning her child support rights.