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Olympian Douglas's mom filed for bankruptcy

Court records indicate that Natalie Hawkins, the mother of the talented Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in Virginia court. The news comes on the heels of media reports that Olympian Ryan Lochte's parents are facing foreclosure on their Florida home.

Douglas's mother filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows people to restructure their debts for easier payment and the debt is paid down over a number of years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy differs from Chapter 7 because the debts are not discharged. Typically, people who file for Chapter 13 do not meet requirements as determined by the means test. This means that the court believes you have the financial ability to pay down your debts.

Hawkins's bankruptcy documents show that the majority of her assets came from her 2007 a Nissan Maxima, along with a home in Virginia Beach. Most of her $80,000 in debt is associated with the home purchase she says. Hawkins acknowledges that she only receives about $2,500 each month in payments from Social Security disability payments and child support, which is why she chose to restructure her debts.

Hawkins must pay about $400 per month toward her debt during the next five years. The single mother of four has lamented that she had little or no income during some months after she went on long-term disability in 2009. It is not clear exactly why the woman receives the disability benefits.

Although Olympic glory may seem fantastic, the fact of the matter is that elite athletes often live at the edge of financial ruin. Olympic skiers have been known to live out of their cars in order to pay for the training required to reach the top tier. Other athletes and their families clearly sacrifice a lot for the privilege of capturing the heart of the nation and gaining enduring fame.

Source: Huffington Post, "Gabby Douglas' mother, Natalie Hawkins, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year," staff reports, Aug. 5, 2012.

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