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I just lost a child custody suit with the ex .. opposing attorney wants big fees paid. How can I protect paycheck, and house?

Atlanta, GA |

I am depleted of all funds and already in debt from paying my own legal fees. The opposing attorney knows I am broke and just barely have enough money to pay bills each month. My guess is the opposing attorney will go after my house and montly income. After trying to rescue my children - I am broke and have no means to pay other side attorney fees. BTW, This was not child support issue. So will BK protect my paycheck and house? If so which BK plan would be best in this situation?

Attorney Answers 2


As a general rule, attorneys fees awarded in a domestic case are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. In some cases a chapter 13 may create an orderly plan to pay such fees over 5 years without losing your home. You don't see if the fees have been awarded or just sought, but if they haven't been awarded yet, your best bet is to try to win in the state court case (by keeping the award low). Discuss these options with your lawyer.

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I agree with Mr. Ashman, but would like to add one thing, GA law allows for the assessing of attorneys fees against one spouse in order to create a level playing field allowing both parties to be represented, when one spouse earns more than the other spouse. Most of the time, the man earns more than the woman, tho that has changed in recent years and some women have been assessed to pay their spouse's attorney fees. The other attorney isn't trying to upset you or cause you a hardship, but if the other party has the children, chances are, they will always be paying more for the kids' expenses than the award of support. It's amazing how many incidental costs exist when having the kids in the house on a day to day basis.

Sometimes the court will also award attorneys fees when it believes that one spouse has dragged out the proceedings costing unnecessary time and expense. Judges don't live in your home and see what has gone on on a daily basis and can only judge based on what has been presented before them in hearings and other properly entered court documents.

This is not intended to be legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If more information is needed, you should consult with an attorney in your state regarding the specifics of your situation and the options available to you.

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