How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask cfortunato Your Own Question

cfortunato
cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
14232603
Type Your Bankruptcy Law Question Here...
cfortunato is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am looking to file a Chapter 13 in New York. I have both

Resolved Question:

I am looking to file a Chapter 13 in New York.

I have both child support arrears AND a judgment against me for my ex-spouse's attorney's fees.

I am of the understanding that my ex-spouse's attorney's fees cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7, which is why I am going to file a 13. She has a judgment against me for the,.

Also, my child support arrears are not arrears due to non-payment of support, but due to expenses a judge added to child support arrears in the judgment of divorce.

Question: In order for my 13 to be confirmed, does my plan have to show that I can bring both (the child support arrears AND the judgment against me for my ex-spouse's attorney's fees) current? Or, do I have to just bring the arrears current?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.

cfortunato :

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Bankruptcy attorney here to assist you.

cfortunato :

According to the terms of the judgment, were you ordered to pay your ex-spouse's attorney fees directly to the attorney, or were you ordered to pay those fees to your ex-spouse?

Customer:

I was ordered to pay those fees to my ex-spouse, and now she has a judgment against me for them.

cfortunato :

Thank you for your response.

cfortunato :

Last question - were the attorney fees deemed to be a property settlement obligation or part of a domestic support obliation?

cfortunato :

If the attorney fees are deemed to be a part of a domestic support obligation, then your plan would have to show payment in full for the attorney fees.

cfortunato :

If the attorney fees are deemed to be part of a property settlement, then it would not be necessary to show payment in full over the course of your plan, and the balance owed at the end of your plan would be discharged.

Customer:

A judge deemed an inheritance of $50,000 was a marital asset. I received 1/2. She received 1/2. My $25,000 was applied to cover some of her attorney's fee's and some other minor car expenses, and now I am left owing the rest;

cfortunato :

Given the information you provided, the judgment is part of a property settlement. That means it is not necessary to show the obligation can be paid in full over the course of your Chapter 13.

cfortunato :

It would only be necessary to show that the child arrears can be paid in full.

Customer:

How is it part of a property settlement?

cfortunato :

The $50,000 inheritance is property.

cfortunato :

Splitting it was a property settlement.

Customer:

Yes. It was given to me by family. The court decided that half of it was mine and half of it was hers.

Customer:

The money was all gone by the time the judgment of divorce rolled around, and the judge applied my half to what I owed her for attorney's fees. There's still 40,000 left.

cfortunato :

The part of the judgment that related to the division of property (property settlement) can be discargable in a Bankruptcy, and the part that is related to child support would not be dischargable.

Customer:

So, I could put her attorney's fees award in a Chapter 7?

cfortunato :

No - because you were ordered to pay them directly to her.

Customer:

And then she wouldn't get anything?

Customer:

Alright, so, then I cannot put them in a 7. BUT, I do not have to provide a plan to pay them over the life of the 13, right?

cfortunato :

That is correct.

Customer:

Ok. But, what if I was just ordered to pay her attorneys fees?

cfortunato :

Do you mean if you were ordered to pay the attorney fees directly to her attorney?

Customer:

Yes.

cfortunato :

Were some of those fees incurred for the child support obligation?

Customer:

I am uncertain. They are my ex-spouse's attorney fees. I am not sure how or where they were incurred.

cfortunato :

The entire amount of those fees can be discharged in a Chapter 13 - regardless of what the fees were for.

Customer:

But, they were all incurred as part of our divorce proceedings. She was awarded an amount, and my half of the inheritance check was applied to the amount she was awarded to offset some of it.

Customer:

I can get rid of them all?

Customer:

So, I don't have to pay them?

cfortunato :

You will probably have to pay some of them. They would be in the same group as your other unsecured creditors - such as credit cards.

cfortunato :

But the balance of the fees would be discharged at the end of your Chapter 13, along with the balance owed to your unsecured creditors.

Customer:

I bought this book from NOLO to learn more about Chapter 13 PRIOR to hiring an attorney. Given what I've read, it appears that since this could not be discharged in a 7, it would have to be paid in full in a 13. Why the difference? I guess that's where I'm a little lost.

cfortunato :

The difference is judgments payable to your ex-spouse are not dischargable in a Chapter 7, but are dischargable in a Chapter 13. This is pursuant to Bankruptcy Stat. 523(a)(15).

cfortunato :

I made a mistake above.

Customer:

Even if they are for attorney's fees?

cfortunato :

The part of the attorney fees incurred for domestic support (eg. child support) is not dischargable in a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

cfortunato :

Only the part of the attorney fees incurred for property settlement is dischargable in a Chapter 13.

cfortunato :

Neither one is dischargable in a Chapter 7.

Customer:

So, the fact that they said that I owed her money for attorney fees makes it a property settlement.

Customer:

I will wait for your reply.

cfortunato :

What was the total amount of attorney fees owed - before your $25,000 was subtracted from those fees?

cfortunato :

Also, was there a dispute over child support or custody or alimony?

cfortunato :

Was there a dispute over the division of assets or a dispute over the determination of what assets were marital property - such as your inheritance?

cfortunato :

Please answer all 3 questions.

cfortunato :

Thank you.

Customer:

1. The amount of attorney fees owed was $60,000.

Customer:

2. There was a dispute over child support and custody. Years later, we are still dealing with the custody issue. The issues over child support were not due to non-payment, but various awards for my ex-spouse (child care, unreimbursed medical expenses) that were given to her by the judgment of divorce.

Customer:

3. The court decided on the division of the inheritance and stated it was marital property. This was all decided within the judgment of divorce.

Customer:

My apologies for not replying for 2 days. I did not know you had replied. There was not an indication in the console nor did I receive an email. I await your response. Thank you.

Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am now out of the chat and for some reason it is gone. It only exists here. I replied to your 3 questions.

Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your response.

Attorney fees can be classified into 2 categories: 1) domestic support issues, and 2) division of property issues.
The first category is not dischargable in a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
The second category is dischargeable in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, but not in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

From the information you provided, it is apparent that both issues were involved in your ex-wife's attorney fees. However, as it is not apparent how much of the attorney fees were devoted to each category, I cannot tell you how much of those attorney fees would be discharged in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. However, you should be able to get such a breakdown from the attorney.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think I understand this a little better now.


 


So, you're stating that Division of Property issues are dischargeable in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Meaning, the portion of her attorney fees that are directly related to division of property can be discharged. Correct? So, if out of the $60,000, it was $30,000 and $30,000 - I could discharge $30,000 in a Chapter 13?


 


I'd have to get this info before the bankruptcy lawyer is contacted or after? Meaning, do I need to have this now or do I need it later.

Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.
1) Yes - if $30,000 of the attorney fees was devoted to property division issues, and $30,000 was devoted to domestic support issues, only $30,000 would be dischargeable in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. (And none of the $60,000 would be dischargeable in a Chapter 7.)
2) You should try to get this information before you go to see a Bankruptcy attorney, but if you are not successful, your Bankruptcy attorney can get the information from your ex-wife's attorney.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

And this applies to NY?

Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.
Yes - since Bankruptcy is a federal program, the above applies to all states, including New York.
cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience: Bankruptcy professor.
cfortunato and 2 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3203
    Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3203
    Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TL/tleeders/2012-6-13_204815_TSL1.64x64.jpg Terry L.'s Avatar

    Terry L.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2204
    Better Business Bur 15yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    950
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/cortrightlaw/2011-12-5_4117_Kevin.64x64.JPG cortrightlaw's Avatar

    cortrightlaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    490
    Attorney practicing Bankruptcy Law including Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/Jay1968/2006-12-03_004423_JoeRossPhoto.jpg JoeLawyer's Avatar

    JoeLawyer

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    376
    Attorney in the practice of Bankruptcy Law since 1996
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DY/Dylatess/2012-9-11_1968_BHBTemplePhoto.64x64.jpg dylatess's Avatar

    dylatess

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    370
    35 plus years of experience specializing in bankruptcy law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/US/USLawAnswers/2012-9-20_23143_20090105211638Headshot3b.64x64.jpg Brent Blanchard's Avatar

    Brent Blanchard

    Bankruptcy Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    315
    Twelve years experience in all aspects of debtor & creditor BK.