Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney

Choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Michigan

Detroit Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Consumer Bankruptcy Filings

Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist Walter Metzen

American Board of Bankruptcy Certification

Domestic Support Obligations and Bankruptcy

Domestic Support Obligations (DSOs)  

Q: How does a trustee carry out his/her DSO notice duties if the DSO claimholder does not want the debtor to know where he/she lives?

A: If a DSO claimant’s address does not appear in the bankruptcy schedules and it is still unknown after the trustee’s inquiry at the 341 meeting, the trustee does not have to send the notice to the DSO claimant. However, if the claimant’s State of residence is known, then the trustee should send the notice to the State agency.

August 2006  

Q: When should the required DSO notices be sent?

A: While BAPCPA is silent on the timing of DSO notices, trustees should send the first notice generally no later than three business days after the 341 meeting. However, if the information is otherwise available to the trustee, the trustee may send the notice at anytime prior to the 341 meeting. Trustees must send a second notice to DSO claim holders and State child support enforcement agencies when a discharge is granted.
 

December 2007  

Q: Can the two required DSO notices be combined?

A: No. Two separate notices are required – an initial notice and a discharge notice.

August 2006  

Q: Does a trustee need to file a DSO notice or a certification of notice with the court?

A: Because of privacy concerns, a trustee should not file DSO notices or certifications of notice with the court. If the court requires filing of the notices or certifications, the trustee should redact all privacy sensitive data. For example, the first five digits of a debtor’s Social Security number must be redacted.

Updated December 2007  

Q: When a DSO does not include a child support component, does the required notice still need to be sent to the State Child Support Enforcement Agency?

A: The definition of domestic support obligations in 11 U.S.C. 101(14A) includes obligations other than child support, so it is possible to have a DSO without a child support obligation. The obligation of a trustee under both 704 and 1302 is to provide notice to the holder of the claim advising “of such claim and of the right of such holder to use the services of the State child support enforcement agency established under sections 464 and 466 of the Social Security Act for the State in which such holder resides, for assistance in collecting child support.” Accordingly, the notice is required regardless of whether a child support obligation exists.

August 2006  

Q: What information is required to be included in the first DSO notice?

A: Sections 704(a)(10) and (c), 1202(b)(6) and (c), and 1302(b)(6) and (d) require trustees to provide written notices to domestic support obligation claim holders concerning their rights to payment in bankruptcy cases, their rights to use the collection services of the State child support enforcement agency of the State where they reside, and contact information for such agencies. These sections also require trustees to notify the State child support enforcement agency established under sections 464 and 466 of the Social Security Act for the State in which the claim holder resides and provide the agency with the claim holders’ contact information.

December 2007  

Q: What information is required to be included in the second DSO notice?

A: Trustees must send a second notice to DSO claim holders and State child support enforcement agencies when discharges are granted. The notice must include the last known addresses for the debtor and the debtor’s employer, as well as contact information for certain creditors whose claims were either reaffirmed or not discharged.
 

December 2007  

Q: Is a trustee required to send the second DSO notice after the discharge even when a non-dischargeability action is pending against the debtor?

A: 11 U.S.C. 704(c)(1)(C) and 1302(d)(1)(C) provide that a DSO notice is to be sent “at such time as the debtor is granted a discharge.” Accordingly, the discharge notice must be given by the trustee after the discharge is granted. The trustee can determine from the docket the names of creditors asserting 523(a)(2), (4), or (14A) claims or whose debt was reaffirmed under 524(c). To the extent an applicable 523 discharge action has not been resolved, the trustee should proceed to send the discharge notice and include the name of the creditor, with a notation that an action to determine the dischargeability of the creditor’s claim is pending.

August 2006  

Q: To satisfy the requirements in 11 U.S.C. 704(c)(1)(C) that a trustee list certain debts that were reaffirmed or not discharged in the notice that is sent to a DSO claimant at the time of discharge, can a trustee simply attach the docket to the notice?

A: No. Since only certain creditors are to be listed, the trustee must review the docket, identify the applicable creditors, and specifically set forth their names in the discharge notice.

August 2006  

Q: If a debtor fails to complete an approved course in personal financial management and the case is closed, does a trustee need to be reappointed to give the DSO notice upon entry of the discharge?

A: 11 U.S.C. 704(c)(1)(C) and 1302(d)(1)(C) require a trustee to send the discharge notice to both the DSO claimant and the State child support enforcement agency “at such time as the debtor is granted a discharge.” If the case is closed without the granting of a discharge because of the debtor’s failure to comply with the debtor education requirement, but the debtor subsequently complies and files the appropriate motion to have the case reopened so that a discharge can be entered, any order reopening the case should direct the United States Trustee to appoint a chapter 7 trustee so the proper DSO notice can be given.

August 2006  

Q: Is the chapter 13 trustee responsible for filing a motion to dismiss on issues related to domestic support obligations?

A: The chapter 13 trustee is responsible for monitoring DSO issues and for taking appropriate action when a debtor fails to meet DSO obligations.

August 2006  

Q: Are sample DSO notices available?

A: Sample DSO notices have been provided to the U.S. Trustee Program’s field offices for dissemination to trustees. They are provided here as well: [PDF - 50 KB].

Updated December 2007  

Q: Should Social Security numbers be shown on DSO notices to State child support enforcement agencies or to the holder of the claim?

A: Full Social Security numbers should be shown on notices going to the State child support enforcement agency. However, notices to the holder of the domestic support obligation claim should not show a debtor’s Social Security number.
 

December 2007  

Q: Where can the addresses of State child support enforcement agencies be found?

A: The addresses for the State child support enforcement agencies are posted on the Program’s Web site at: http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/ds/index.htm. Each State and territory has two addresses: one for inclusion in the notice going to the domestic support obligation claimant and another for the trustee’s notice to the State agency.

December 2007  

Q: Can the DSO notice simply refer the recipient to a Web site where address and contact information for the State support contacts can be found?

A: No. The address and contact information of the State child support enforcement agency must appear on the notice.

August 2006  

Q: Can DSO notices be sent to the State agencies by email?

A: Notice to the State child support enforcement agency must be sent by United States mail consistent with Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2002(b),(f), and (h).

August 2006  

Q: Does 11 U.S.C. 1322(a)(4) apply only to DSO’s that have been assigned to a governmental unit for collection?

A: Yes. A chapter 13 plan may provide for less than full payment of a DSO if the plan is for a term of five years, all of the debtor’s projected disposable income is applied to make payments under the plan, and the claim has been assigned to a governmental unit for collection.

August 2006  

Q: Some tribal nations have set up child support collection agencies. Should the required DSO notices be mailed to them?

A: The Bankruptcy Code provides that notices go only the to the “State child support enforcement agency” where the holder of the domestic support obligation resides. Tribal nations are not included in the definition of “State” in the Bankruptcy Code. See 11 U.S.C. 101(52).

Bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen represents clients throughout Southeast Michigan, including the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Trenton, Troy, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Howell, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and all of the surrounding areas.

 

Bankruptcy Basics - For Cases Filed on or after October 17, 2005 (pdf)
Bankruptcy Basics - For Cases Filed before October 17, 2005 (pdf)


   
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Bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen represents clients throughout Southeast Michigan, including the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Trenton, Troy, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Howell, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and all of the surrounding areas.

 


 

 

 

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Walter Metzen
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Michigan Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist Walter Mezen, American Board of Certification American Bankruptcy Institute 313-962-4656 Toll Free: 888-777-FILE