Peel v. Peel, No. 13-1547 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Gary and Deborah divorced in 2003 and agreed to a marital settlement. Gary purchased an annuity, to pay him $200 per month until his death; the settlement required him to pay her “$200 per month…in lieu of her interest in [the annuity].” Two years later, Gary filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and asked the court to discharge financial obligations to his ex-wife under the settlement. Gary attempted to blackmail Deborah into cooperation, using nude photos of her sister as a child. He is now in prison for bankruptcy fraud and possession of child pornography. 18 U.S.C. 152(6), 2252A(a)(5)(B). Deborah and the bankruptcy trustee agreed that she had an unsecured claim for $158,455.63, including $12,400 representing 62 monthly payments that the trustee had received under the annuity. Gary owned the annuity, so these payments were part of the bankruptcy estate and their inclusion in her claim was a mistake. The trustee successfully moved the bankruptcy judge to permit transfer to Deborah of $1000 in annuity payments collected since settling her claim, and to direct the company to make future payments to her directly. The Seventh Circuit reversed, directing the court either to order Deborah to return the $1000 or order the trustee to deduct it from her claim and to instruct the company to resume making payments to the trustee.