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Can family court sanctions be write off when file bankruptcy?

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. 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.

    Don't forget to click on the "Best Answer" button, if you appreciate this wit and wisdom. This answer is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and may not be relied upon as legal advice. A careful examination of the facts is necessary before a legal answer may be relied on. You should consult your own attorney before taking or refraining from any legal action.


  2. This is a nondischargeable debt.


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


  4. 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. 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.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.


  6. 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.

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