In re Bartlett

(Bankr. N.D. Ind. Nov. 26, 2014)

The bankruptcy court sustains the debtor’s objection to his ex-wife’s claim to the extent it purported to be a priority claim arising from a domestic support obligation. The state court had resolved custody and child support issues in its initial divorce decree. A year later it entered an order titled “Order Dividing Marital Assets and Debts,” directing the debtor to pay $50,000 to his ex-wife “[t]o equalize the division of the marital state,” but also stating “the Court finds this judgment to be in the nature of child support and maintenance.” Despite the state court’s statement that the judgment was in the nature of child support and maintenance, the bankruptcy court looks to the context and purpose of the award to determine whether it is a domestic support obligation under the bankruptcy code. Under the circumstances, the bankruptcy court concludes it is not. Opinion below.

2014-11-26 – in re bartlett

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