For Immediate Release
December 9, 2011
Peter Roth, Senior Assistant Attorney General
A ruling by a bankruptcy court curtailing the State's power to collect child support arrearages during a bankruptcy case was reversed on appeal. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit ruled that the bankruptcy court erred when it ruled that the State's right to intercept tax refunds owed to a Chapter 13 debtor was implicitly prohibited by a debtor's plan which did not specifically sanction those rights.
At present some 60 bankrupt debtors together owe over $300,000 dollars in child support arrears. The State uses tax refund intercepts, wage garnishments and license revocations as tools to collect for support creditor parents. The State's tax refund intercept program brought in approximately $9 million in 2008.
The Appellate Panel ruled that a debtor's repayment plan cannot silently revoke the State's right to intercept and bind the State to that revocation.
"I am committed to assuring the prompt recovery of child support from non-paying parents and we will take action to protect the State's powers to collect. Bankruptcy is not intended as a haven from child support responsibilities and I am gratified that the Appellate Panel recognized that with this decision," said Attorney General Delaney.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301