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Olympic athlete's mother files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

As many Coloradoans may know, the road to the Olympic Games is often fraught with hardship along with hard work and dedication, and that goes for the parents of the Olympic athletes as well as the athletes themselves. The mother of the 2012 Olympic Games' breakthrough star thus far, Gabby Douglas, has indeed been hit with hard times as she reportedly filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy just a few months before her daughter won gold in London. Natalie Hawkins, Gabby's mom, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in hopes she will be able to get her finances back on track soon.

Chapter 13 is a repayment plan type of bankruptcy in which the petitioner asks a bankruptcy court to consolidate his or her debt in order to pay it down over a three to five-year period. What debt remains after that is usually discharged by the bankruptcy court. The court will look at the total amount of debt and the assets owned by the petitioner in order to determine how much a person can repay towards their debts each month and still meet monthly living expenses. There are some requirements to meet, including a regular income in which to repay debt, as well as income limitations and types of debt that can be included.

As in all bankruptcy, certain debts such as child support, alimony, student loans and tax debt are not included in bankruptcy protection. But filing for bankruptcy can often allow a person to obtain debt relief either through consolidation of debt for a repayment period, or through discharging certain debt, such as credit cards and medical bills, freeing up needed funds for paying down other debt, such as a mortgage or student loan. When times are tough, a bankruptcy attorney can help you understand your options and what steps you can take towards greater financial freedom.

According to court papers filed in Natalie Hawkins' case, she has claimed a little under $164,000 in assets and roughly $80,000 in debts. It has been reported that Ms. Douglas's family has been very supportive of her dreams of chasing gold at the games and that it is possible they may reap some of the rewards from her efforts. However, it us unknown at this time if Ms. Douglas plans on helping her mom out when she starts receiving endorsement offers, which are sure to follow as is rather typical of other Olympic gold medalists.

Source: The Examiner, "Gabby Douglas' mom and bankruptcy: Natalie Hawkins filed Chapter 13," Effie Orfanides, Aug. 5, 2012

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