Are ongoing opposing counsel fees discharge-able in Chapter 7?

Asked over 1 year ago - Atlanta, GA

I (plaintiff) filed for divorce from my son's mother 9 months ago. Recently I had to file chapter 7 due to loss of income about 6 months ago - currently receiving unemployment. I went to the 341 hearing last week. My question is....as part of wife's (defendant) attorney response to my divorce filing she requested that the judge compel me to pay her attorney fees. That's I the plaintiff pay the defendant attorney's fees because she was not working during the marriage and is still not working. I didn't include this in my chapter 7 because I don't know if the judge will award it or what the amount might be. If judge aware it will it be assumed discharged since I was not aware of it or do I have to pay it post bk7? The case is ongoing...again do I pay attorney fees I don't know?

Additional information

Thanks to you all. My question have been answered. I wish there was a way to mark question resolved/closed.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Glen Edward Ashman

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    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . First of all get a lawyer. You have commited a felony in omitting a debt in your schedules. That is grounds to jail and fine you, or to dismiss your bankruptcy, or to deny a discharge. The lawyer will amend your schedules and check for other mistakes. As a general rule, the debt is not dischargeable, but as a domestic support obligation there are special reporting requirements.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to... more
  2. Wendy Erin Morris

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . First and foremost, your wife (and by extension her attorney) needs to be listed as creditors in your bankruptcy. Moreover, anyone who has or MAY have a claim against you for money or property as of the date that you filed for bankruptcy MUST be listed. Bankruptcy will only deal with debts as of the petition date. Attorneys fees associated with a divorce can be discharged EXCEPT in situations where it can be shown that they amount to a debt associated with an obligation to pay alimony, maintenance or support. I highly suggest you talk to a bankruptcy attorney versed in family law licensed to practice in your district because the timing of your filing will have a direct impact on your divorce proceeding (the state court judge needs to know about the bankruptcy ASAP) and whether the attorneys fees will be discharged or excepted from your discharge through a separate bankruptcy proceeding.

    I am only licensed in the state of Illinois. This is only my general observation about the law and my experiences... more
  3. Robert M. Gardner Jr.

    Contributor Level 18

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    Best Answer
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    Answered . Money owed to a spouse pursuant to a domestic relations order (including a divorce) would be a non-dischargeable debt in your case. If the money is owed to her attorney, but would be owed by her if you did not pay, could and probably will be seen as money owed in the nature of support, which would make it non-dischargeable as well. First, you need to list her as a potential creditor in your bankruptcy case, and make sure to add her attorney as a notice only recipient. You don't need to list her attorney as a creditor right now because there is no court order creating an obligation to them, and adding them may be seen as an admission that you owe them. Further, adding your wife as a creditor and making the judge in the divorce case aware of your bankruptcy may cause them to hesitate to award her attorney's fees because you are insolvent.

    Finally, if you don't have an attorney for your bankruptcy case, you need to get one who has experience in divorce as well. There are many issues that could cause you to still owe money after bankruptcy if the language in your divorce is not done correctly, so it is imperative that you deal with them before an order is entered in your divorce case.

    The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base... more
  4. Diane L Gruber

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . You still have several weeks to file an amendment to your bankruptcy petition to add both your wife and her attorney as potential creditors. HOWEVER, this will NOT discharge child or spousal support. Call your attorney NOW.

    Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662.... more

Related Topics

Divorce

Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

Debt in a Divorce

Responsibility for debts acquired during marriage may fall upon both parties after divorce, even if only one spouse incurred the debt.

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