When you file
bankruptcy protection you are required to report household income to determine eligibility of
the chapter you wish to file. The same is true for married couples who
file a joint bankruptcy or a married person filing an individual petition.
In other words, you are required to report income of your spouse even
though you are filing for protection as an individual. Whether your spouse’s
income is an issue depends on the circumstances surrounding your filing.
When you file
Chapter 7 or
Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are required to disclose monthly income for your household. If you
and your spouse share the same household you would report income you earn
and the amount your spouse earns. Income of both spouses is needed for
the means test which reviews eligibility of the individual spouse seeking
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing may consider the income of the non-filing
spouse when reviewing disposable income. Disposable income is the amount
of money you have left each month after paying necessary expenses. This
information helps determine monthly payments for the repayment plan. In
some cases, the income of the non-filing spouse could affect eligibility
of Chapter 7, unless their income contributes more to household and living expenses.
A married person filing for protection on their own without their spouse
may qualify for a marital adjustment deduction. Depending on how much
income your spouse contributes to the household or if they have their
own expenses they cover (credit card debt, student loan debt, or other
obligations in their name), they may qualify for the deduction.