Levin v. Carlton (In re Carlton)

Case Type:
Consumer
Case Status:
Affirmed
Citation:
BAP No. CO-15-044 (10th Circuit, Jan 18,2017) Not Published
Tag(s):
Ruling:
Although the Court addressed multiple procedural and substantive issues in the opinion, it principally held that the mere recitation of procedural rules and requirements is insufficient to warrant reversal unless the appellant can show how those procedures were violated.
Procedural context:
After the debtor-appellant filed for bankruptcy relief, appellee filed an adversary proceeding to declare his judgments non dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(5) and (15). The Debtor-appellant counterclaimed, alleging that appellee was violating the automatic stay by continuing to withhold alimony payments to reduce the debt owed to him for attorneys fees arising from the divorce proceedings. The bankruptcy court dismissed the counterclaim, concluding that the appellee was simply making the alimony payments in accordance with the state court's orders. The debtor-appellant appealed.
Facts:
Debtor-appellant and appellee were involved in extended divorce proceedings regarding a prenuptial agreement that was ultimately enforced. Appellee, as the prevailing party at each stage of trial and appellate litigation, was awarded attorneys' fees, which were ordered by the various state courts to be paid by appellee as a deduction from the alimony payments otherwise owed to appellant. At each stage of litigation, Ultimately, the deductions reduced the alimony payments payable by appellee to the debtor-appellant from $15,000 per month to $4,150 per month. In one of the last such state court orders, following the debtor's bankruptcy filing, the court opined that the award of attorneys fees to appellee should be deemed non dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(15) as "a debt incurred during the course of a divorce."
Judge(s):
Nugent, Somers, and Hall.

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