Television actor Gary Dourdan, best known for his role as Warrick Brown on the hit drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, filed bankruptcy recently and is facing claims by his ex-girlfriend that he owes her money from a 2012 settlement between the two of them that cannot be cleared in the bankruptcy proceeding. According to an article posted on Foxnews.com, the actor is filing for bankruptcy for the second time, and his ex-girlfriend has requested that the Bankruptcy Court refuse to clear a nearly $100,000 debt he owes her from a settlement after allegedly breaking her nose.
When a debtor files for bankruptcy in federal bankruptcy court, 11 USC § 362(a) of the United States Code has created an automatic stay preventing the filing of civil actions, collection of debts or enforcement of judgments against the debtor once the bankruptcy is filed. This law includes punishments against creditors who continue collection efforts after a debtor files for bankruptcy. The automatic stay helps bankruptcy debtors obtain immediate relief from the overwhelming harassment that collection agencies and creditors so often use to go after debts. The creditors will still have an opportunity to be heard in the bankruptcy proceeding and make their case for monthly payments or a share of the debtor’s estate, but they must wait and address their claims through the bankruptcy with all of the other creditors.
Exceptions to the Automatic Stay
Based on the automatic stay mentioned above, it would appear that the ex-girlfriend’s claim for payment from a 2012 settlement is a violation of the automatic stay in Mr. Dourdan’s bankruptcy and could subject her to sanctions by the bankruptcy court, but there are exceptions to the automatic stay. For example, § 362(b) of the Bankruptcy Code notes exceptions for types of debts that are not subject to the automatic stay and may be collected throughout a bankruptcy proceeding.
Although the details of the motion discussed above are unclear, she may be seeking an exemption from the automatic stay under §362(b)(2)(a)(iv), which allows for the commencement or continuation of a proceeding against the debtor “regarding domestic violence.” Other types of debts, which may be collected throughout the proceeding, relate to domestic support, paternity, property division based on divorce, criminal or civil fines and administrative fees, among others. see 11 USC §362(b)(2). It is essential for a debtor to know which claims may not be subject to the stay, and to structure their debt properly to protect the assets that should be protected by a bankruptcy.
Thinking of Filing for Bankruptcy?
The automatic stay is just one of hundreds of factors that must be considered when addressing debt and filing for bankruptcy. While there are usually many ways to address a debtor’s situation and for them to eventually become debt free, the amount of time and extra money spent to get there can vary immensely depending on how the debt is addressed and whether a bankruptcy is filed correctly. If you are considering bankruptcy or other debt relief measures, contact the Louisville and Southern Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at the Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center get started with your case We advise clients on many debt relief options, including bankruptcy as well as alternatives to bankruptcy. Our attorneys know how to help our clients get back on their feet. Call 866-366-3328 today to schedule a risk free consultation or contact us through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Bankruptcy Judge Allows Debtor To Recover Attorney’s Fees After Creditor Violated Automatic Stay, Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog, published October 6, 2014.
Recently Released Analysis from Federal Reserve Research and Statistics Group Demonstrates The Pitfalls of Not Filing for Bankruptcy, Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog, published March 14, 2015.