Attorney Ian M. Falcone spoke at the May 4 breakfast meeting of the DeKalb Bar Association’s Family Law Section. Mr. Falcone has practiced law in the courts of Georgia, New York, Connecticut, and federal courts, and his firm, The Falcone Law Firm, P.C., specializes in complex bankruptcies, domestic law and small business matters. His presentation, titled “A Few Things Every Divorce Lawyer Should Know About Bankruptcy Law,” provided supremely helpful practice tips that every attorney should know.
Mr. Falcone shared a wealth of information. Here are a few especially interesting nuggets: an automatic stay of bankruptcy does not prohibit the establishment or modification of an order for domestic support obligations (DSO), but the stay does prohibit contempt proceedings on DSO. The determination of whether an obligation is DSO (which is not dischargeable) or a property settlement (which is dischargeable) is based on the intent of the parties at the time the obligation was created; thus, even if an obligation is labeled a DSO, a bankruptcy court could, upon sufficient evidence of intent, declare it to be a property settlement. Mr. Falcone suggested including a “roadmap” in the agreement, detailing the parties’ reasoning behind the obligation. And finally, attorney’s fees that are to be paid by the other party are almost always a form of support whereas attorney’s fees that are owed by your client are almost always dischargeable.
Section Chair Alice Limehouse presided over the program. Announcements included a reminder that we help support Nia’s Place. The family law section collects donations and purchases items that Nia’s Place cannot afford to buy with its budget.
Check back for a recap of the June 1 breakfast, and don’t forget to RSVP for the next breakfast on Thursday, July 6 at 7:30 am in the Historic DeKalb Courthouse.