§ 30.4     Marital Status and Stability
Cite as:    Keith M. Lundin, Lundin On Chapter 13, § 30.4, at ¶ ____, LundinOnChapter13.com (last visited __________).

Marital instability often causes financial distress. The schedules must accurately reflect the debtor’s marital status.


That the debtor is divorced (or divorcing) is not sufficient information. Counsel must gather and read the key divorce documents. Review of the divorce decree, support orders and property settlement agreement is essential to accurate statement of the debtor’s assets and liabilities and to designing a Chapter 13 budget and plan that reflect obligations to former spouses or children. If the debtor is behind in payment of support, debtor’s counsel must ask the right questions to determine the extent of default and whether enforcement proceedings are pending in state court. The names and phone numbers of the domestic relations attorneys involved are a good place to start.


The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA)1 gave Chapter 13 trustees new responsibilities to give notices to the holders of “domestic support obligations” (DSOs).2 Almost all debts for alimony, maintenance or support will be DSOs under the new scheme, and accurate addresses will be essential to enable the trustee to give the appropriate new notices.


1  Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (2005).


2  See 11 U.S.C. §  1302(d), discussed in § 417.1 [ New Noticing Responsibilities ] § 53.16  Noticing Responsibilities.