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Filing Chapter 13 without spouse

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  • Filing Chapter 13 without spouse

    Hello! I would like to file Chapter 13 without my husband. I understand that if my income goes up during the 5 years I need to let my lawyer and the trustee know about it but what if my husbands income goes up or he comes into some money (he works on commission) will I need to let them know about that as well? I am scheduled to meet with an attorney next month but would appreciate any responses. Thanks!

  • #2
    If you are not already aware, your non-filing spouses income is already included in the Means Test calculation. The difference with having a non-filing spouse (a non-debtor spouse) is that their expenses are then deducted from that amount; this is known as the marital adjustment (deduction). The filing spouse gets to deduct all the specific expenses of the non-filing spouse's income which does not contribute to (inure to the benefit of) the filing spouse. That's complex and it can get sticky.

    Let's talk about stickyness. Say that you make $100K and your spouse makes $100K. On the means test, you actually list $200K as the income. But, since you have a non-filing spouse, you get a martial adjustment based on what the spouse spends on their own separate expenses. So if the non-filing spouse had student loans as $3,000/month and a car payment of $1,000/month and personal taxes of $2,000/month and personal credit cards of $2,500/month, then the non-filing spouse would be contributing nothing in your case and you'd get a $100K spousal/marital adjustment. Your payments would be based on the $100K and not the $200K. (I am unsure on the affect of taxes and whether the filing status could impact some of the calculation.)

    However, to the extend that the non-debtor (non-filing) spouse pays some of the same bills and expenses that you are claiming, or there is excess marital income, then that comes into the formula.

    Now that I have the baseline I can tell you the impact of the non-filing spouse getting a raise. It depends.

    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


    • #3
      you have to provide your tax returns to the trustee every year within 2 weeks of filing so they will know, but i'm sure your expenses will go up too.


      • #4
        I filed without including my spouse. You already understand the basics of how that works. To answer your questions, if your spouse's income increases a modest amount (cost of living, etc.) then it won't matter. If it's more than that but not a ton more, it probably also won't matter much. If it's a huge jump, that could cause your payments to increase. As for the bonus issue, unless it's written into your plan that bonuses must be turned in to the trustee, then you should be fine.


        • #5
          Hi...regarding the note above about bonuses. I was in a 100% payment plan for chapter 13. If my husband received a bonus, the attorney wanted to be notified of it. If it was a small amount, he would say no problem, keep it; but if it was a large amount, the trustee could ask for a portion of it. It would reduce my amount owing and time in the plan, but the trustee does have the right to ask for it. Just the same, I was in a car accident during the plan. I received a settlement that had to be reported to my attorney/trustee. The trustee took a small amount of that also. Anytime you receive extra money, your attorney has to be made aware.
          Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
          Discharged 8/2/16


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