11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5), (a)(15); Debt Arising From Divorce Action
Warner, Mayoue, Bates & Nolen P.C. v. Cook, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 857, Adv. No. 05-9023 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. March 17, 2006)(Murphy)
Plaintiff law firm represented the debtor in a divorce action prior to the filing of debtor’s bankruptcy petition. The debtor and her spouse ultimately dismissed the divorce proceeding and remained married, and the debtor was indebted to the plaintiff for legal fees in excess of $95,000. Plaintiff filed an adversary contending the debt should be declared nondischargeable pursuant to § 523(a)(5) or (a)(15), and debtor filed a motion for partial summary judgment.
The court granted the debtor’s motion. Section 523(a)(5) covers only debts owed to a spouse, former spouse or child. Therefore, the plaintiff lacked standing under that section. Additionally, the overwhelming case law and legislative history supported a finding that § 523(a)(15) is only available to a spouse, former spouse or child of the debtor. Therefore, plaintiff also lacked standing under that section.