Cantarella v. Herrera (In re Cantarella)

9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Case No. CC-14-1316-KiTaPa (August 26, 2015) - Not for Publication
The 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel ("BAP") reversed the bankruptcy court's order and judgment excepting certain debts of the Debtor. To establish an exception from discharge the plaintiff must demonstrate three elements: (1) that the debt in question is owed to Debtor’s child; (2) that the debt is not a support obligation within the meaning of § 523(a)(5); and (3) that the debt was incurred 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. Only the third element was satisfied.
Procedural context:
The Debtor appealed the bankruptcy court's order and judgment excepting from discharge obligations due to Ruth Herrera ("Herrera").
Pre-petition the Debtor and Herrera were involved in family law dispute related to their child. The Debtor and Herrera stipulated to the fact that their marriage in Mexico was null and void in California, the Debtor's paternity of the child, non-existence of community or quasi-community debts, payment of certain child birth expenses, and resolution of issues related to property. Throughout the family law matter, the Debtor was sanctioned and otherwise required to pay certain obligations; however, Herrera was required to pay child support to the Debtor. The Debtor filed Chapter 7 in November 2012, and Herrera (acting pro se) commenced an adversary proceeding seeking exception of discharge pursuant to Sec. 523(a)(15). The Debtor filed a Motion to Dismiss; however, the bankruptcy court orally denied the motion. The bankruptcy court entered a decision after the trial, summarily concluding that the all of the amounts asserted by Herrera except $400 were excepted from discharge.
KIRSCHER, PAPPAS and TAYLOR, Bankruptcy Judges

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