Means Test: Don’t Give Up, Even If You Think You’ve Flunked It, Part 10

31 Jan Means Test: Don’t Give Up, Even If You Think You’ve Flunked It, Part 10

Child support you receive is counted as income for purposes of the “means test” in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases. In a chapter 7 case, there is little that can be done if the inclusion of child support income causes your means test income figures to become too high to file under that chapter.

However, in a chapter 13 case, money you receive for child support is counted as income, but then later it is subtracted back out, so it doesn’t really count as income after all!

You might wonder why the means test form for chapter 13, called Form B22C, would have you go through the trouble of adding child support money as income, only to have you later subtractchild support on Lines 54 and 58 of the form.

While there is much about the means test forms to inspire one’s curiousity, perhaps Congress desired to create an incentive for some persons to file chapter 13, or maybe Congress was motivated by a simple attitude of fairness. After all, child support is intended to be used for the benefit of one’s children, and paying it to creditors seems inconsistent with the goal of meeting children’s need for financial support from an absent parent.

In any event, if you file a chapter 13 case, be sure to carefully examine Lines 54 and 58 of the means test, Form B22C. If the form is filled out correctly, you will see that your monthly child support is listed on Line 54, to be subtracted from income on Line 58.

This can make a big difference in the size of your chapter 13 monthly payment. Less income means less money which is theoretically available to pay to your creditors under the means test formula. Obviously, this is an important part of the means test for any person filing chapter 13 who receives child support income. You should make sure it is not overlooked.

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Craig W. Andresen is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 22 years’ experience in consumer and small business bankruptcy cases. He is the Minnesota chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Mr. Andresen lectures often on the topic of consumer bankruptcy at local and national legal seminars.
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