Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer.
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Yes, the bankruptcy code requires that family income be considered to determine whether you qualify under the income/means test for chapter 7, regardless of whether or not both spouses are filing for bankruptcy. It does not matter whether or not you live in a community property state, the bankruptcy code is federal law, and debtors petitioning for a discharge under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code all have to provide this information.
So, yes, unfortunately, you are required to report a spouse's income as part of the income test for chapter 7, even if they are not filing. If you do not report the spouse's income, your chapter 7 trustee (Appointed by the court to ask questions about the petition among other responsibilities) will certainly ask about it, and failing to report such income can cause the case to be dismissed at best, XXXXX XXXXX to sanctions at worst.
While one spouse can file for bankruptcy without involving the other spouse in the petition, the income/means test that qualifies an individual for use of chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code is family (both spouse's) income.
Remember that even if you are over the income limit for your family size, there is still a way to qualify for chapter 7 under the means test, but it is significantly more complicated. As such, the most prudent course of action is to consult, in person, with a bankruptcy attorney before going ahead with a bankruptcy.
If you do not already have an attorney, a referral to an attorney near you can be gained from the California State Bar Association at:
I hope this information helps clarify the issue for you, but please do not hesitate to ask if you require further information or clarification.
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