The Troublesome Trio – Women, Child Support, and Bankruptcy in Indiana: Part One

December 1, 2012 2:30 pm Published by

“Women after divorce are more likely to become responsible for care of the children, leaving them as single parents, more vulnerable to effects of our ailing economy,” observes Massachusetts consumer bankruptcy lawyer Peter Kaplan.

As an Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyer, I certainly agree with Kaplan.  In each recent year, more than one million women in our country have found themselves in bankruptcy court. (To put that into perspective, that’s more women than graduated from college or were diagnosed with cancer!)  But, at all five Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices, we haven’t needed to read statistics to understand the problem.  We know, because the majority of clients who seek our help as debt consolidation lawyers – are female.

Significantly, (and this is what I want to call Bankruptcy in Indiana readers’ attention to today), many of the problems women face are related to one amazing fact:

Fewer than half of single moms receive all the child support
they were awarded in their divorce decrees!

Now, you’ve probably heard that filing personal bankruptcy in Indiana does not get an ex-spouse out of the obligation of paying child support or spousal support. That’s because those obligations are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy Chapter 7 (but usually go away in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy).
Why, then, is it true, as one of our Richmond, Indiana attorneys for bankruptcy points out, that, of those one million women I mentioned earlier who appear in bankruptcy court each year, a fifth of them are not there as debtors, but as creditors!  What does this mean? These women are actually appearing in bankruptcy court for the creditors’ meeting at their ex-husbands’ bankruptcies, trying to collect the support money they were promised in the divorce!

It’s important to point out that divorce and bankruptcy in Indiana are two entirely separate legal proceedings, each with its own set of laws and rules to follow. That holds true whether it’s the ex-spouse filing individual bankruptcy in Indiana, the already-divorced woman herself filing bankruptcy, or both.

Yet, since divorce and bankruptcy have so much of an effect on each other, (as I’ve seen first hand over my 26-year long career offering Indiana bankruptcy help), I have always coordinated my efforts with those of divorce professionals.  Much of the time, timing is super-important when both divorce and bankruptcy are involved.  That’s because Indiana bankruptcy law deals only with debts that are in existence the day you file.  On the other hand, divorce may break up a couple legally, yet leave them financially tied to each other and to their past debt obligations.

Women, child support, and bankruptcy in Indiana – those three make a troublesome trio, with the brunt of the trouble being borne by women.



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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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