Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FAQ #26: If I am not married, but living with my partner and he pays most of the bills, will that affect filing?

Having other people in your household will not implicate your cohabitant(s), inasmuch as the bankruptcy will not affect their credit or discharge any of their debts. However, the means test (for Chapter 7 eligibility or Chapter 13 plan commitment purposes) looks at the debtor’s “total household income” when considering the income available to the debtor. Therefore, it may be necessary to disclose to the court your cohabitant’s income. Some trustees will accept the argument that, in cases where the cohabitants maintain sufficiently separate finances, the debtor’s total income is not available to the debtor. However, the debtor would need to disclose, as income, the portion of income made available for the debtor’s benefit, including any amount the cohabitant pays toward the debtor’s monthly expenses.

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