Generally, child support obligations are not dischargeable under Chapter 7. The bankruptcy will not affect the state's ability to collect past-due support, but the automatic stay may prevent them from attempting to collect pre-bankruptcy-petition past-due child support from property in the bankruptcy estate.
Like Chapter 7, Chapter 13 does not change the obligation to pay ongoing support. Usually the Chapter 13 trustees will not recommend confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan if post-petition child support is behind.
Also, note that before filing a contempt action to collect past due child support, the state / creditor may need to get a order from the bankruptcy court. Although the automatic stay does not apply to collection of child support against property that is not property of the estate, in a Chapter 13, the debtor's earnings are property of the estate, and most of the time that's all there is to collect.
Where an order is needed, however, the courts in this jurisdiction generally grant them as a matter of course, usually without a hearing. And, while the Chapter 13 is pending, any collection activity outside the bankruptcy court must be limited to support payments that came due after the Chapter 13 was filed.
For example, let's say Debtor owes back child support of $1,500 when she files her bankruptcy case on July 1. Then, in September, she falls behind again, to the tune of another $300. If the state files a contempt action at that time, it will be to collect $300, not the entire $1,800 that is then due.
Past due support obligations are generally required to be paid in full through the debtor's plan. Support debts have a first priority, meaning they are paid before other kinds of priority debts, like taxes.
The state must be listed as a creditor and it must also file a claim to receive any payment at all from a trustee. Most courts send out claim forms along with the notice of the initial bankruptcy filing, and will include instructions for filing the claim with the court.
If the state was not listed as a creditor you may need to amend the BK filing to include the state as a creditor so they can file the claim.
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