Two weeks back, the AJC had a brief article reporting that the bankruptcy court in Alabama had ordered Karen Russell, a Georgia resident, to pay $50,000+. Russell had obtained an arrest warrant against former NBA player Jason Caffey for failing to support their child. The bankruptcy judge ruled that the arrest warrant violated rules prohibiting creditors from seeking to collect debts.
While obtaining an arrest warrant seemed a tad aggressive in the circumstances, I was puzzled. Caffey could assert the bankruptcy and his financial distress as defenses to nonpayment. But child support payments cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, and a bankruptcy proceeding should not stay child support proceedings. If child support proceedings are not stayable, why should Russell be liable to the bankruptcy estate?
This has been remedied by the Alabama court’s new decision to dismiss the bankruptcy. But from 2007, Caffey has been able to avoid the child support claims in bankruptcy court, even though the bankruptcy code attempts to prevent bankruptcy from impacting child support actions.