Oliver & Legg
Call today for a free consultation
Local 732-988-1500


Custody battle shatters mother's financial stability

Divorce can certainly exact a high emotional toll as couples in New Jersey look to disentangle their lives and move on in separate directions. These emotions can be compounded when a divorcing individual is incurring financial struggle as a result of the split. Working through bankruptcy and divorce can be a combination that requires additional skilled legal experience.

Kelly Rutherford, a star of the television series "Gossip Girl," knows this struggle all too well. In the divorce from her German ex-husband, the actress has endured four years of a bitter and extremely expensive custody battle over the couple's two young children. The actress reports that when her ex-husband had his U.S. visa revoked, the children were sent to live with him in France with an unexpected ruling by a family law judge in the states. The custody battle has left the actress struggling to even afford housing following the financially draining struggle for custody of her children.

She says of her fight and dwindling finances, "I've traveled 40 times to either facilitate contact with their dad or visit them and bring them back and forth and paid for everything. Every penny from 'Gossip Girl,' my pension, my stocks, it's all be spent fighting for my children. The actress reports that these circumstances have left her with few viable options beyond bankruptcy for regaining her financial health.

While bankruptcy can discharge some debts, it cannot discharge all debts stemming from a New Jersey divorce. For example, alimony and child support payments cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Additionally, discharge of any equitable distribution of debts can only occur under Chapter 13. However, it appears that these issues are less at play in this mother's fight for her children.

It is possible that the actress, or someone in a similar situation could incur substantial credit card debt from purchasing airline tickets, and handling other expenses related to the custody battle. Additionally the traveling and legal expenses could make mortgage payments difficult. Credit card debt, mortgage loans, taxes and several other forms of debt can be discharged through bankruptcy. It can be difficult to know what debt can and cannot be discharged under each chapter.

Accordingly, while it is imperative to have a skilled attorney in settling the terms of a divorce, it is equally as important to consult with a skilled bankruptcy attorney when looking to regain financial health following an expensive divorce.

Source: Business Insider, "'Gossip Girl' Star Kelly Rutherford on The Brink Of Bankruptcy After Bitter Custody Fight," Aly Weisman, April 30, 2013

Get A Free Lawyer Consultation

With offices in Toms River and Neptune, attorney William H. Oliver is ready to answer your questions and help you find the right debt relief solution. Evening and Saturday appointments are available. Call local: 732-988-1500 or fill out our contact form.

Email Us For a Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Toms River Office
609 Main Street
Toms River, NJ 08753

Fax: 732-775-7404
Toms River Law Office Map

Neptune Office
2240 State Route 33
Suite 112
Neptune, NJ 07753

Phone: 732-341-1550
Fax: 732-775-7404
Neptune Law Office Map

visa, master card, american express, discover network