Rivera v. Orange Cnty. Prob. Dept., No. 14-60044 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Debtor is the mother of a minor who was held in juvenile detention in Orange County for more than a year. At issue is whether a mother’s debt to Orange County arising from her son’s involuntary juvenile detention is a “domestic support obligation” (DSO) and thus excepted from discharge in bankruptcy. The court concluded that it is not. Debtor's debt is not in the nature of domestic support simply because it represents in part the costs of her son’s basic needs. Where the principal purpose of the County’s custody over debtor’s son is public safety, not the son’s domestic well-being or welfare, the debt does not qualify as a DSO. Accordingly, the court reversed the bankruptcy appellate panel's decision.