Atlanta NFL player struggles with child support after bankruptcy
Earlier this week, former professional football player and Atlanta native Jamal Lewis was arrested for his alleged failure to make his court-ordered child support payments to the mother of his son. In a statement to the media following his arrest and release from jail, Lewis denies that he is behind on child support, stating that the charges against him are the product of a simple misunderstanding.
However, it is highly possible that Lewis is financially unable to make his child support payments, and that he has been so for some time. About four months ago, Lewis filed for bankruptcy, citing more than $10 million in debt. It is not known whether he sought a child support modification in the wake of his financial trouble and bankruptcy filing.
It is important to note, however, that bankruptcy does not relieve a parent of his or her child support obligation. Support payments are one of the few debts that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and the failure to make those payments, even if you are financially unable to do so, can result in an arrest warrant.
However, bankruptcy can provide relief to people who are in deep debt and unable to pay child support as a result. A Chapter 7 filing can wipe out other debts, leaving you with more income to make child support payments. A Chapter 13 filing will allow you to make a court-supervised repayment plan, potentially lowering your monthly payments but ensuring that you will not be criminally charged for your inability to pay.
If you are in this situation, a bankruptcy attorney can help you figure out your options and determine if a bankruptcy filing is the best decision for you and your family law situation.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Former NFL star: Arrest a misunderstanding,” Alexis Stevens, Aug. 2, 2012