Do you include your fiance's income on Chapter 7? 18 Answers as of August 15, 2014

I have a civil judgment and the debtor is now filing chapter 7, to avoid paying what he owes. He has a living girlfriend. Shouldn't her income also be included in the "monthly income"? What he is doing is nothing more than abusing the system to avoid a court ordered judgment. Can I get the trustee to include the fiance’s income and assets?

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Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
Yes it is determined by household income.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/15/2014
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
When parties live together and are not married, they have no right to control the income of the other. If the bankruptcy debtor and his partner mix their money together into one account, her income should be included as part of his household. On the other hand, if he claims he pays all of the living expenses and was not actually doing so, this could be a basis for objecting to the bankruptcy as not being in good faith. There is a vast difference in knowing how people are handling their finances and merely speculating about it. Most unmarried partners keep their finances separate, especially those where one is having money problems.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/12/2014
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Yes, her income must be included if they are living together. Tell the trustee.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/11/2014
Barnhart Law Office
Barnhart Law Office | Bruce C Barnhart
The debtor must include "household income" in certain schedules. There are several court cases interpreting the meaning of "household income". The debtor may or may not be required to include his finance's income and expenses in his schedules.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 8/8/2014
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
You are free to point this out to the Trustee, and make your request.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/7/2014
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    If the fiance is contributing to his expenses then the actual amount of her contributions should be listed by the debtor and included as part of the calculations used in determining whether he qualifies for discharge under chapter 7. This is true even if the debtor does not live with the person who is providing the financial assistance. The assistance just needs to be regular (not an occasional gift). Typically where a debtor is in a live in situation regardless if he/she is intimate with that person, what goes on the schedules depends on how the financial affairs are handled. If for example, two people rent an apartment for $1800 and split the rent 50/50, I would claim rent of only $900 as an expense on debtor's schedule J. Now if the debtor is receiving money from someone on a regular basis or if another person is buying the debtor's food, paying debtor's bills like: car payments, insurance, cell phone, etc then I would list the actual financial assistance on Schedule I under 8th "other monthly income" and on form B22A item#8. Whether financial assistance would disqualify the debtor from obtaining a discharge in chapter 7 depends on how this impacts the debtor's disposable income. It is different of course with a marriage as incomes of both spouses are community property and both incomes and all community property assets are used in calculating the ability of EITHER debtor to obtain discharge in Bankruptcy. California does not recognize common law marriage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Either "living girlfriend" should be "live-in girlfriend" or the folks in your town just aren't very picky about their romantic companions. Whether an unmarried domestic partner's income is included in bankruptcy depends on the circumstances: Does the partner regularly contribute to household expenses? How long has the relationship lasted? Are the financial lives of the partner and debtor commingled (joint bank account, cosigned debts, joint purchase of household items etc.)? Based on the analysis, a court could find anywhere from none of the domestic partner's income is considered to debtor must add in her regular contributions to his household expenses to all of her income is included (and all her household expenses are deducted). Having her income included wouldn't necessarily preclude him from filing bankruptcy, but it might force him into a Chapter 13 where a significant amount of your debt might be paid.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    Only the income that is used to support the household. If the fiance is paying their own bills, car payment, etc, then that is not included as income for the household.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A.
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A. | Jane Downey
    Yes you can contact the trustee or the US Trustee's office about the fiance
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/6/2014
    Eranthe Law Firm
    Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
    No. A fiance is not a wife. If they were married then the wife's income would be included even if she didn't file.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Only a married spouse's income is included in a bankruptcy estate. This is a very common issue. As I tell every client, getting a judgment and getting paid are completely different things.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    She and her income and assets are not available to you unless she was subject to the judgment as well.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If she is contributing to his expenses then yes he needs to include her income.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/6/2014
    The bankruptcy law makes the filing spouse include the non-filing spouse's income on the income schedule.? Since the person filing the bankruptcy is not yet married to his roommate, assuming that she lives with him, then he does not include her income on the filing schedules, however, her contributions to the household expenses must be included in the income schedules.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    The Orantes Law Firm
    The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
    The income that must be disclosed in a petition and that is taken into account when determining whether a person qualifies to file under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is the income of the "household". If you have a live-in girlfriend, that income should be included as part of the income in the form used to calculate whether a debtor qualifies (referred to as the "means test"). If the Debtor did not disclose that income, you can file a motion for bad faith or if you bring it to the Chapter trustee's attention and the attention of the U.S. Trustee, the trustee *might *bring a motion. Sometimes, the trustees do nothing since they do not represent any creditor in particular and leave it up to each creditor to object to discharge themselves. We represent creditors in such requests and you can call us at 213-389-4362 to set up a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    No, there is no general requirement that a debtor count his fiance's income on a bankruptcy, much less assets. That is, unless the money received from the fiance is a "regular contribution to the household expenses," in which case whatever amount she contributes, should be listed on the Means Test Form B22A, line 7. The instructions indicate that a debtor should list "any amounts paid by another person or entity, on a regular basis, for the household expenses of the debtor or the debtor's dependents, including child support paid for that purpose." And if it is a regular amount that is contributed, it should also be listed on Schedule I, Income on Line 13, "other monthly income."
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/7/2014
    Meister & McCracken Law Firm, PLLC | Joanne M. McCracken
    The fiance's income would be included to the extent that it is paid to the debtor as rent or to assist with living expenses. If she pays the debtor nothing, there is nothing to disclose. Her assets are not the debtor's unless the assets are titled in the debtor's name also.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/7/2014
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