E.D.N.C.: Baum v.  Baum- Date of Separation and New Debts for Nondischargeability under §523(a)(15)

Summary:
On appeal from the bankruptcy court decision in Baum v.  Baum, the district court reviewed whether debts between separated spouse are discharged under 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(15), which  provides, that a debtor shall not be discharged from a debt:

(15) not of the kind described in paragraph (5) [dealing with alimony, maintenance and child support] that is incurred by the debtor in the course of a divorce or separation or in connection with a separation agreement, divorce decree or other order of a court of record, or a determination made in accordance with State or territorial law by a governmental unit;

First, the district court agreed with the bankruptcy court that while the parties were “informally” separated, sleeping in different rooms, at the time the debts were incurred, under North Carolina law separation requires a “cessation of cohabitation.”  Secondly, the district court also held that §523(a)(15) requires the creation of new debts.  The consent orders eventually entered into by the parties as part of their divorce did not create any new debts at that point.  Accordingly, the debts were discharged.

For a copy of the opinion, please see:

Baum v. Baum- Date of Separation and New Debts for Nondischargeability under §523(a)(15)

About

1. Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Washington University, 1993. 2. Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University, 1996. Admissions to Practice of Law: North Carolina Bar, 1996. Federal District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. Specialty Certification: North Carolina State Bar: Certified as a Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy. Areas of Practice: Practice limited to consumer and business debtor bankruptcy law, 1998 to present. Memberships: National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (NCATL). North Carolina Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section. Lectures prepared and presented: North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers seminar on bankruptcy; Topic: Counseling the Consumer Debtor Prior to Court - C.Y.A. Forms to Help 'Gird They Loins'; 2001. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Preparing Chapter 13 Plans; 2002. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Efficient Office Practices; 2003. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Debates; 2004. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Chapter 7 & 13 Hot Issues; 2004. Positions held: NACBA National Convention; Convention Chair; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator: Topic: Basic Bankruptcy Issues; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Chapter 13-Disposable Income and Other Issues; 2007. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Representing Members of the Military and Their Families; 2007. NACBA, Member of National Board of Directors, 2006 to present. NCATL, Chair of the Bankruptcy Section, 2003 to 2007. NACBA, Chair of the North Carolina Section, 2003 to 2007. NC Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, Bankruptcy Council Member, 2004 to present.

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