What Are Priority Debts?

The most common types of priority debts that we encounter in bankruptcy law are:

  • governmental debts
  • taxes
  • child support arrears
  • criminal restitution
  • student loans.

Child support arrears are also deemed to be, for public policy reasons, priority debts. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy child support arrears are not dischargeable. These debts will survive the bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, the child support arrears will be stretched out and paid out over the life of the plan. However, the child support arrears must be paid off in full over the life of the plan.

If you have priority debts and you do not resolve them in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, I encourage you to consult this issue with your consulting attorney. They may well be able to advise you of processes you can avail yourself of after filing bankruptcy which can resolve these debts.

The IRS for example has 3 distinct techniques for resolving IRS debt. They are: an Offer in Compromise, Abatement and an Installment Agreement. In some instances, you may wish to use one or a combination of these debt negotiations techniques with the IRS. Your attorney will be able to instruct you as to which process would be of the most benefit to you and handling your debt with the IRS or governmental authorities.


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