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I filed for joint bankruptcy with my wife in March, and shortly after the meeting of creditors, the trustee objected to my claimed exemptions. I just spoke to the trustee's office, and they're stating that items I have listed as joint on my bankruptcy petition (Earned but Unpaid wages, and garnished wages from 90 days prior to bankruptcy) are actually not treated as joint because I earned them. Is this true?
If so, it jumps the amount I have fitting into the wildcard (11 USC 522 (d)(5)) category from an amount that I can fully protect (11k) to an amount that will not be fully protected (18k).
Can I try to settle the claim for less with the Trustee if I in fact cannot claim this property as joint?
Any other thoughts that may help?
Thorough and quick answer receives a bonus.
Hi, thanks for your question. You should hire a lawyer for specific legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created here.
Unfortunately yes, those are your wages, not your spouses. So you can only exempt your share of them, not a double amount. Some exemptions double for spouses filing jointly, but if the asset is only yours, which wages can only be, then you can't double (or use your wife's share)
You can negotiate a settlement with the trustee, sure.
Okay - was afraid of that. I have pre-petition garnished wages of around $3k that I had claimed as exempt, and a possible interest in my mothers estate of around $3500, and those would be the hardest for me to collect on. So I guess I can let him know that I'll plan to file an amended schedule c to unexempt those, and then see if he plans to try and collect on those? Any other options or thoughts?
Yes, do the best you can, hopefully they will accept a settlement with you
the only other option is to convert to ch13 to repay debt, but you'd be repaying over 3-5years, enough to protect those unexempt assets
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