Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Spouse lost job today.

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  • Spouse lost job today.

    Hello my fellow bkforum friends,
    My wife and I were seriously considering ch13, but today she was let go from her job because it was eliminated. She had been looking for another job for the past 6 weeks as she knew the firm was having financial difficulties, but so far no luck.

    So, I am sure she qualifies for unemployment which is a whopping 16 weeks here in Florida. My question is how long should we wait to get a bk attorney and look into a ch7? I know they look at the past 6 months of employment, but do they make any exceptions if you have been laid off? In other words, do we have to wait 6 months before filing provided she is unable to land another job, or should we start now?

  • #2
    The means test is step 1 and backward looking.
    Schedules I and J are forward looking and determine if you have enough monthly disposable income to fund a Chapter 13. Mnay above median filers have been able to discharge a Chapter 7 on those grounds.
    I'd ask a lawyer to run some numbers and see where you stand.


    • #3
      I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's job. If you haven't started interviewing attorneys, I would start ASAP. There is no obligation, and most offer free initial consults (but be sure and ask.) Even if you are advised to wait a few months, you'll get some good pre-planning advice, and when it comes time to file, the stress of finding an attorney will be done with.


      • #4
        If you don't pass the means test, then a presumption of abuse arises and the U.S. Trustee will petition to have your case dismissed. The presumption of abuse can be rebutted. I am do not know the procedure to do that, but I am sure it will take more work by your attorney which means higher fees. Unless you have some compelling reason to file now, it is probably better to wait. But, you may not have to wait the entire six months, only the amount of time it takes to pass the means test based on the prior 6 months. Depending on how close you were to passing before, it could be that you only have to wait 1 or 2 months.

        The time to start consulting with attorneys is as soon as you decide bankruptcy may be a good option for you.
        LadyInTheRed is in the black!
        Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
        $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


        • #5
          Thanks PJ and Lady in Red. So right now I make right on the median of the average of a 2 person household in FL (which we are, we have no kids). My wife will get unemployment and makes roughly $2500/yr at a part time job, so strictly speaking I am above the average right now, but I am not sure if they consider unemployment since it is temporary.

          At any rate, I do have 5 lawyers lined up to interview. I guess I was mainly trying to figure out whether to talk to one now or wait and see how everything plays out. My guess is sooner is better. I don't want to take the plunge if she gets another job, but I also don't want to wait until garnishment a start and I am too poor to afford an attorney.


          • #6
            Folks, 'Hub and I were trying for a CH13. When I lost my FT job, we had no choice but to file a Ch7. I turned out to be the best thing we did.

            This is the simple, Reader's Digest version of what was going on. But take heart! You can DO this!

            Since you are in Florida, what district are you in? If you are in Florida Middle, I may be able to give some guidance....
            "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

            "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


            • #7
              Hey Angelina, I am in the south district. I have been strategically planning for a 13, but this changes everything.

              The worst part is she had her job for only 4 months before getting let go. Such is the beast when working in the legal secretary/assistant industry in south Florida. It seems firms either can't afford you, or they want a lawyer working for a secretarial salary.


              • #8
                If you were in the Middle District, I would have had a couple of names to recommend--via PM or Visitor Message--and one to recommend against! But with the South District, I can't help.

                Have your wife to keep trying for any Office Assistant type job. Obviously she has Office and Computer Skills.

                Good luck and wishes to you and her!~~~
                Last edited by AngelinaCat; 02-14-2014, 07:14 PM. Reason: added additional info.
                "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


                • #9
                  Thanks Angelina, she was already looking for a new job starting six weeks ago when she caught wind of the firm's financial troubles, so she is already ahead of the curve and has had a few interviews. It will take time, but I have faith in her ability to find a new (and better) job!! Her pathetic salary at the one she was just at was what was driving us to a chapter 13 originally.


                  • #10
                    Still, do not discount the CH7. You may be able to qualify, and still protect some of your assets with very careful planning.
                    "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                    "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


                    • #11
                      I would strike a Chapter 7 while the "iron is hot" - here "hot" meaning having an income below the amount needed to do a Chapter 7. Chapter 13 means that every little bit of disposable income over the next 5 years will be confiscated, vs. being free and clear after getting the discharge in Chapter 7.


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