Marriage and Debt

22 Aug Our Best Tips For Filing For Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse

If you're thinking of filing for bankruptcy without your spouse, follow these steps to avoid pitfalls. Filing for bankruptcy means disclosing your assets, property, debts, and household income. For most people, that's a fair trade-off for getting out of debt. But if you're married, you may not be comfortable with the impact on your spouse. Thankfully, the bankruptcy laws reflect the fact that in the real world, you and your spouse may not share everything with one another. Here are our best tips for filing for bankruptcy without your spouse.
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06 Jul Attorney’s Fees Awarded in a State Court Support Proceding: Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

alimony, child support and attorneys fees in bankruptcyThe United States Bankruptcy Code clearly states that domestic support obligations such as alimony and child support are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Section 523(a)(5) excepts from discharge a "domestic support obligation." But what about attorney’s fees awarded to the spouse who is awarded this support? Often, when a state court awards child support or alimony it also awards attorneys fees to the prevailing spouse. Should this attorney fee award also be non-dischargeable, or are attorney’s fees a separate category of debt, and treated like any other unsecured debt? Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code does not address the fate of this class of attorney’s fees but bankruptcy judges have weighed in. In the 11th Circuit, where I practice, attorney’s fees arising from a post-dissolution custody [or alimony] action constitutes support for the former spouse where the award is based on ability to pay.
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30 Apr Divorce during Bankruptcy

One of the leading causes of marital conflict involves money, or lack thereof. If you and your spouse filed a joint bankruptcy and you are now considering divorce, your respective financial positions may be at odds with each other. One person may want the house, one may not. Both may want the same vehicle. Who will pay, who will not. Think about that for a moment, if you cannot agree to get along in marriage, will you be able to agree to do the things necessary to complete your case after you divorce. This situation places the attorney squarely in a potential conflict of interest between both spouses. An attorney cannot serve two masters. [caption id="attachment_28861" align="alignleft" width="176" caption="Conflict resolution"][/caption] This conflict does not exist if only one spouse is represented in bankruptcy unless the attorney also has an attorney client representation arrangement with the other spouse on some other matter. In a joint bankruptcy case, the attorney represents both parties. That attorney cannot ethically pick and choose sides or plan strategy favoring one client against the other. Even if you only want a simple question answered, a conflict of interest prevents the attorney from providing one spouse advice that could hurt the other spouse. So what do you do?
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