Casimir K. Jarski, Debtor

Casimir K. Jarski, Debtor (11/06/2003)
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona determined the following in this post-divorce decree case when Mr. Jarski filed for bankruptcy:

1. The former wife, Ms. Bernreuter, was entitled to make a showing that the former husband, Mr. Jarski, was unable to satisfy the Bankruptcy Code’s § 522(f)’s requirement that the property “would have been exempt” at the time the petition was filed, even though she failed to object on time to Mr. Jarski’s exemption claim.

2. Mr. Jarski could legitimately claim residency in Arizona and thus apply for Arizona’s homestead exemption despite having claimed California residency approximately two months before filing his bankruptcy petition when he registered the divorce decree in California.

3. Mr. Jarski was unable to avoid or discharge the lien for attorney’s fees he owed to Ms. Bernreuter, despite the fact that the fees were awarded for a post-decree custody issue. The award of attorney’s fees was in the nature of child support since the best interest of the child standard applies in both pre- and post-decree custody issues.

4. Ms. Bernreuter’s second lien, for additional attorney’s fees and costs awarded to her following Mr. Jarski’s unsuccessful appeal of the Arizona family court’s (the trial court) order pursuant to the divorce, was also found valid and non-dischargeable because the fees and costs were also in the nature of child support, as the issues appealed were custody and visitation, both determined according to the best interest of the child standard.