In order to successfully file your bankruptcy and have your case resolved, the court will need to know the details of your situation and have supporting documentation. We’ll use a variety of forms to do this, and on Schedules I and J, we’ll tell the court about all of your income and expenses, which will help the court determine if you’re filing the correct chapter of bankruptcy. This information will be used to conduct the means test to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7. Your income and assets will also be used to help us propose your repayment plan if you’re filing a Chapter 13, and the court will use Schedules I and J to decide if your proposed plan is reasonable and manageable. When you complete these forms, you’ll include the income and expenses for both yourself and your spouse if you’re filing jointly. If you’re legally separated or in the process of separating, there are specific guidelines we’ll follow to determine what will be included on these forms.
You’ll need to complete Schedule I whether you’re filing Chapter 7 or 13. This form will give the court a snapshot of all of your current income from all sources; we’ll use other forms to tell the court about your financial situation over the six months leading to your bankruptcy. You’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate any circumstantial changes you’ve experienced, such as a decrease in income or increase in expenses due to a job loss/change or medical bills.
I can guide you as you list all of your income so that nothing is missed. You’ll include income from your job, as well as your spouse’s, if applicable. Income also includes any money you receive on a monthly basis, such as child support/alimony, investment interest payments, retirement income, public assistance, or disability. This form also gives you the opportunity to tell the court about any increases, decreases, or changes you’re expecting in the next year.
To go along with Schedule I, you’ll use Schedule J to list your current monthly expenses. Before listing the actual expenses, you’ll need to tell the court about your household. You’ll list your spouse and biological, adopted, and step children, and also any dependent adults or other minors for whom you provide at least 50% of the support. This form doesn’t include names, just ages and relations.
When it comes time to list your expenses, I’ll guide you so that nothing is excluded and the amounts are accurate. It’s important to make your best effort to list correct amounts of expenses and to not inflate or decrease amounts to try to make your case “look better.” We’ll list a monthly amount for any annual expenses, such as car registration, memberships, etc. After we add your expenses, we’ll subtract the total from your total income to determine your monthly net income. As with Schedule I, you’ll have space to explain any expected changes to your expenses for the next year.
If these forms sound confusing or you’re worried about accidentally missing something, let me put your mind at ease. I’ve been filing bankruptcies for years and can create a package of only the forms that apply to your case. We’ll work together to make sure the court has everything it needs to resolve your case.
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