Can a divorce property settlement be dismissed in a bankruptcy?

 My ex-husband has filed Chapter 13 in KY;. I live in AL where our divorce was finalized. He owes me a property settlement of $10,000 from our divorce. Is there anything I can file or do to make sure that he is not relieved of paying me this settlement?

Asked on December 7, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Chapter 13 does not allow someone to discharge--or eliminate and get out from under--debts for either alimony or child support, so it would seem to be the case that a property settlement from a divorce would also not be discharged in chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition, in chapter 13, debts are *not* simply wiped out: instead a plan is developed, based on the filer's income and expenses, under which he will pay as much of his debts as possible over the next 3 - 5 (usually 5) years, so creditors usually receive some portion of what is owed in any event.

On the negative side, during the period of the automatic stay, he does not have to pay anything and no action can be taken against him, so there will a period of time, several months, during which he does not have to pay. Also, regardless of the law, if he truly has no assets and/or little income, it may be almost impossible to recover this money.

You do need to make sure that you document your claim to the bankruptcy trustee. Here is a link with good background information: http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Chapter13.aspx


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