Debtor is jointly liable on a promissory note with ex-spouse and files a Chapter 13 plan proposing to discharge $3,164.00 as a DSO and lists the note as a general unsecured debt. Ex wife objects to confirmation of the plan and nearly a year after confirmation of debtor’s plan, files motions in state court to force the debtor to contribute to payment of marital debt. Debtor files an Adversary Proceeding and ex spouse withdraws and modifies her motions.
The Court held that the state court motions violated the automatic stay and that withdraw of the motion(s) may have reduced damages, but did not undo the stay violation. “Creditors should not be permitted to use the spousal support modification exception for the sole purpose of recharacterizing an otherwise dischargeable property division as a nondischargeable domestic support obligation.” The Court imposed damages of $3,000.00 for attorney’s fees in defending the state court motions.
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