Can I discharge my divorce lawyers fees in bankruptcy?

Asked over 3 years ago - Kalamazoo, MI

My divorce lawyer suggested that since my now ex-wife had run up credit cards in my name, which I am legally responsible for, even though almost all the charges were for things for her and her new boyfriend, that I should file for bankruptcy. After suggesting this to me, he sent me a bill for almost an additions $3000 dollars which took me totally by surprise. I can't afford this and I did pay him a hefty retainer in the beginning. Can I discharge this last bill of his if I successfully file bankruptcy? I don't like not paying bills, but I am on disability and don't have a big income so I am in a desperate financial situation now having to make all the house payments and utilities on my own. I would appreciate any advice, thank you

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Dorothy G Bunce

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20
    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . As a general rule, you can discharge fees for professional services in Bankruptcy. That would include attorney fees, accountant fees, doctor bills, etc. I hate to say it, but I believe in being honest.

  2. Perry B. Thompson

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Yes. If you file a chapter 7, the debt to the attorney would have to be listed and it would end up being discharged. If you need to file because of the credit card debt, then the legal fee will probably end up getting taken out wth it. But, a $3000 debt is probably not a reason to file, whether it is to an attorney or not. Even for the most basic Chapter 7 filing you will probably end up paying about half that much just to do the bankruptcy.

  3. Ralph M. Reisinger

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . The short answer is yes, however, if you agreed to pay those cards off in the divorce and your ex wife is also a debtor on those cards, filing for bankruptcy may not relieve you of the obligation to pay her back, if she gets sued on that debt. Make sure you bring a copy of your divorce decree with you when you meet with a bankruptcy attorney.

  4. Benjamin Michael Glazebrook

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . Yes, fees for professional services (including attorneys fees) are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy. As to the credit card fees, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could remove your liability as to the credit card companies, but your ex-wife could still force you to pay them through the divorce court. However, depending on the language of your divorce decree and other circumstances, you may be able to discharge even that obligation through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Given that your income is low, you may have trouble making the payments required under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it is worth discussing with your attorney.

  5. Rami N. Nabi

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . If you list your attorney as a creditor on your bankruptcy petition the debt can be discharged.

    The foregoing is offered for informational purposes only and is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship

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