Is Chapter 13 bankruptcy available to protect a person who is behind on child support or alimony payments and has been jailed or is facing an attempt to jail him or her? State court judges have the power to sanction a person for contempt of court for failing to comply with state court Orders requiring support payments and can arrest and have that person placed in jail.
Filing a Chapter 13 case creates an “automatic stay”, like a protective shield, which stops most collection activity by a creditor. Once a Chapter 13 case is filed, does the jailing or any continued jailing violate the protection of the “stay”? In Georgia, the answer can be yes! If the state court judge’s Order sanctioning the person for contempt contains a “purge amount”, that is, requires the payment of a dollar amount to get out of jail, then the Order is a civil contempt Order and is a collection activity stopped by the “stay”. On the other hand, if the Order contains no “purge amount”, the Order is a criminal contempt Order and is not stopped by the “stay”. A Jeff Field & Associates attorney can help you sort this out.
At Jeff Field & Associates, we are aware that the filing of a Chapter 13 case may not only provide an opportunity to get out of jail but also provides an opportunity to provide a repayment plan to deal with any past due payments and to deal with future payments as they come due. Bottom line: Jeff Field & Associates attorneys have successfully handled these cases and can advise you or your domestic relations attorney of the protection available to you in a Chapter 13 case.
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