Casey Anthony filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief last week. This young mother, who was accused of and acquitted in the death of her 2 year old daughter, Caylee, listed $792,000 in liabilities in her bankruptcy schedules to be discharged, including debts for her lawyer fees, federal income tax and court fines and costs. Will she be able to discharge these debts? A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will provide a discharge for most debts, even those debts of a young woman accused of such a heinous crime, but there are certain categories of debt that have been determined to be nondischargeable. Categories of debt which have been deemed nondischargeable by the Bankruptcy Code include income taxes, court fines and the willful and malicious injury to another person or that person’s property. These nondischargeability categories suggest Ms. Anthony will not be able to discharge all of her debt.
A review of Casey Anthony’s bankruptcy schedules reveals she listed a debt of $68,540.00 in personal income taxes for 2008. Generally, recent tax debt will be determined to be nondischargeable. However, if you filed a timely tax return indicating that you owe taxes and the federal or state revenue services have taken no action to collect that tax from you, that tax debt may become dischargeable after three years. In Ms. Anthony’s case, her bankruptcy schedules indicate her tax debt was incurred in November, 2010 for her 2008 taxes. This may suggest she did not file her 2008 tax return on time and could mean her tax debt will be determined to be nondischargeable.
Generally, Ms. Anthony’s criminal fines and/or restitution will not be dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and there could be a strong argument that the multiple judgments against her for investigative fees by the State of Florida will be nondischargeable as well. One type of debt that will be dischargeable for Casey Anthony will be the amount of money she owes the lawyers who defended her in court. On a final note, Ms. Anthony has scheduled the claim/lawsuit against her by the woman who shares the same name as the fictitious “nanny” Ms. Anthony claimed had abducted Caylee. The bankruptcy code does not allow a debt for a willful and malicious injury to another person to be discharged under Chapter 7. I am sure we can anticipate that Zenaida Gonzalez will argue her claim represents a willful and malicious injury by Anthony but we will have to wait and see if the bankruptcy judge in Ms. Anthony’s case agrees.
If you are considering a filing for bankruptcy relief but are concerned about whether your debts will be dischargeable, please contact one of our locations nearest you in Alabama, Mississippi or Tennessee for a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced, licensed attorneys.