During a period of financial distress and shortly before their divorce, Doreen Baum made repeated unauthorized withdrawals from the Martin Baum’s IRAs, and did not pay the mortgage on the couple’s beach house, using the funds for the support and maintenance of the family. When the Baums divorced, the parties entered into an consent orders for Alimony and Equitable Distribution. While aware of the unauthorized withdrawals, Martin Baum believed any claims he had for fraud were preserved, whereas Doreen Baum believe these consent orders resolved all issues, including for the unauthorized withdrawals.
Doreen Baum filed Chapter 7 and Martin Baum brought an Adversary Proceeding seeking to both have the bankruptcy court determine that Doreen Baum was indebted to him for compensatory and punitive damages resulting from fraud and to have such declared nondischargable.… Read More
While Ms. Sparrow’s civil action for equitable distribution was pending in state court, she file a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The primary assets of her bankruptcy estate consist of a fee simple interest in a house and lot located in Durham, North Carolina and a one-half undivided tenant-in-common interest in five tracts of real property located in Granville County, North Carolina, the stated intention being that the plan would liquidate these assets and pay creditors, potentially in full. Ms. Sparrow first commenced an Adversary Proceeding against Mr. Drew, her ex-husband, seeking to sell the Granville Property pursuant to 11 U.S.C.… Read More
Bankruptcy Court Characterization of Equitable Distribution Awards
Cheryl Jones brought motions against the Debtor, her ex-husband, Sean Jones, seeking relief from the stay and for determination of Domestic Support Obligation, with the primary question being whether the family court’s Equitable Distribution Order award of $116,182 from the debtor’s 401(k) plan and $63,736 from the debtor’s retirement account were in the nature of a domestic support obligation, pursuant to §§ 101(14A) and 523(a)(5), or, as argued by the debtor, were property distributions within the scope of §523(a)(15). If the former, the obligation would be nondischargeable, but the latter would be discharged in a Chapter 13 case, pursuant to § 1328(a).… Read More
The Debtor sought approval of the settlement of an Equitable Distribution, conducted in Maine, that would have allowed her to transfer funds into exempt IRAs, arguing that an Equitable Distribution rights are not property rights and therefore not an asset of the bankruptcy estate. The Trustee objected.
As a result of a recent amendment to the Maine Revised Statutes, the bankruptcy court found that the debtor had an inchoate equitable ownership interest in the individual retirement accounts of her estranged husband and that this inchoate equitable interest in the retirement accounts is property of the debtor’s estate pursuant to § 541(a)(1).… Read More