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Manuel Jesse Martinez v. Marie Franzese (In re Martinez), Ch. 7, BK99-80585, A01-8088 (Oct. 23, 2002)

After a trial, the court excepted from discharge a debt to the debtor’s former wife arising from her payment of a marital debt assigned to him in the parties’ divorce. She established that it was a non-support debt that fell within the ambit of § 523(a)(15), and the burden shifted to the debtor to prove that he did not have the ability to pay or that the benefit to him of a discharge would be greater than the detriment to his former wife. Financial records indicated the debtor could pay at least a nominal amount each month to his former wife. The former wife also demonstrated a significant detriment to herself – after turning over cash and collateral worth more than $3,500 on the joint debt the debtor was ordered to pay – while the debtor put forth little evidence of a significant benefit to himself if the debt were discharged or a material drop in his standard of living if the debt were not discharged.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002
Judge Timothy J. Mahoney (Retired)