Since he filed for bankruptcy, the automatic stay went into effect, and I cannot collect on my judgement while he is working to get them overturned at the Court of Special Appeals. I was awarded several large judgments, and he has not paid child support in over a year. The stay also stopped the civil contempt charges for nonpayment of child support.
I just need some guidance on how to proceed, so I can afford representation in bankruptcy court. I would like to protect the judgments that were awarded to me.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Depending on the type of judgment awarded to you - it may not be dischargeable under the bankruptcy code. You should speak with a bankruptcy attorney immediately to advise you on how to proceed.
This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client Relationship. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland.
Bankruptcy will not protect him from child support. You can go to the Meeting of Creditors by yourself with the Court Orders. If he did not include the child support arrearage in his Petition, he will have significant legal problems. Contempt in Bankruptcy court is more severe than in Circuit Court. As for the other judgments, you should seek counsel - some may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
The interplay between bankruptcy (and the various types of bankruptcy like liquidation (7) v reorganization (13) can be complex. No one can give you guidance on how to do this yourself. Child support is not a dischargeable debt under any circumstances but the appeal could modify whatever decisions were made in State Court. So, you need both a very good appellate attorney and possibly a bankruptcy attorney to review your husband's petition with you to make sure it is accurate and to glean whatever relevant and useful information may be contained therein.
This is not to be considered legal advise and no attorney client has been established.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Normally, I advise persons to employ an attorney who ONLY does bankruptcy law 100% and has done so for many years. A rare exception is if in facts like yours, if you can find a well recommended bankruptcy attorney who also practices divorce law, then use them. But I would never suggest how to do this w/o an attorney. Find one. Do not let him get away with it. I believe your divorce attorney will advise you on how to enforce the present child support orders in place..and even if appealed, the issue is can you still enforce the orders until an appeal overturns them (or he posts some sort of bond to protect you). So really this is a child support issue and you need an aggressive attorney to go after him. Find out who is a pit bull attorney that is reasonable and if you are lucky, practices bankruptcy law also. Good luck.