Can family court sanctions be write off when file bankruptcy?

Asked over 1 year ago - San Diego, CA

If ordered to pay over 100k$ in attorney fees for opposite side, can this be bankrupt ? Family court in california.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Sandra Maria Nutt

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is a nondischargeable debt.

  2. Charles Ross Smith III

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, That kind of debt is non-dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. However, it can be handled in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan. You will need an attorney for that project. Good luck.

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  3. Brian Crozier Whitaker

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, it can ... but only in a Ch13.

  4. Stuart Gregory Steingraber

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I respectfully disagree with my colleagues. Family law attorney fees are not "ipso facto" non-dischargeable. Unless the family law attorney has specially crafted the language in the property settlement agreement, the attorney fees are dischargeable. Furthermore, the family law attorney will have to file an adversary complaint prior to the "bar date" for such actions. An analysis of the documents is necessary in order to give you a more certain response.

  5. Joseph Douglas Nakos


    Contributor Level 4


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally, no. Section 523(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code identifies three requirements that are to be met in order for family law order to be non-dischargeable: (1) the underlying debt must be in the nature of alimony, maintenance, or support; (2) the debt must be owed to a former spouse or child; and (3) the debt must be incurred in connection with a separation agreement, divorce, or property settlement agreement or other order of a court of record. If you were ordered to pay attorney fees directly to your ex-spouse directly then "likely no due to the broad language of the code". If you were ordered to pay directly to your ex-spouse's counsel, this is likely dischargeable (depends on the Trustee). I have had fees owed directly to me by court order both discharged (the Trustee cited 523(a)(5) (2)) and also not discharged by a Trustee .

    I hope this helped.

  6. Marc Gregory Wagman

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It depends on the order. An attorney is going to have to review the divorce decree. It could be non dischargeable or dischargeable depending on the language used. Even if it is dischargeable the other party to the divorce decree can bring you back into family court for not paying the attorneys fees.

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