How to annoy, upset and aggravate your bankruptcy trustee and delay your discharge – part 5

22 Feb How to annoy, upset and aggravate your bankruptcy trustee and delay your discharge – part 5

It’s stunning how many ways debtors mess up their bankruptcy cases. For example, when married people file a bankruptcy case without their spouse, there are many opportunities to make a muck of it.

First of all, when you file your bankruptcy case without your spouse, you still have to disclose your spouse’s income both on the means test forms as well as in the budget which is part of your schedules. Lots of people think that the non-filing spouse’s income is really nobody’s business. That sort of attitude will not get you anywhere. In fact you’ll end up aggravating not only your chapter 7 trustee but also the United States Trustee.

They will think that your non-filing spouse is making a lot of money which could support your everyday needs. In turn, they will think that you will have lots of left over money to pay your debts to your creditors under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Maybe you really do want to pay your debts back. Your bankruptcy lawyer will certainly want to support you in this effort. But you’ll end up spending your disposable income for up to five years in order to accomplish this objective.

So if you are planning to file a bankruptcy case without your spouse, consider the following:

  • Your non-filing spouse’s income is relevant
  • Your non-filing spouse’s expenses are relevant
  • If you don’t disclose these items, your bankruptcy case will be dead in the water until they are disclosed

Keep in mind that these additional issues might result in a higher fee for your bankruptcy attorney. It takes time and effort to handle your case correctly.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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