I am trying to decide when to file my chapter 7 bankruptcy. I have been unemployed for the last 6months so i will readily pass the means test. I have a job lined up and ready to start in July. Do i file my bankruptcy before i start my job and then make the necessary modifications to income and expenses if the trustee asks at the 341 meeting. Or do i file immediately after i start my job so i will still pass the means test but all my income and expenses will be full disclosed to the trustee for the 341 meeting. Thanks for any advice.
1 Answer from Attorneys
My first thought is that perhaps neither of the options you are considering is safe.
Better quit trying to figure this out on your own and get to a competent bankruptcy lawyer as soon as you can. It's a mistake to be relying on those on line means test calculators. Have a lawyer who knows what he or she is doing run the means test for you. Then you might know where you stand.
Besides all the technical mathematical formulas in the bankruptcy statute, there is what amounts to a smell test. The court can look at "the totality of the circumstances" and decide to throw your case out if it seems offensive to the court's sense of justice, even if you mathematically pass everything.
One of the most common situations where one runs into this problem is where there is an upcoming income increase which would kill the means test had the Debtor waited any longer to file.
So in the situation you describe, I would want to see your numbers stack up in such a way that you pass the means test now AND later. I have filed lots of Chapter 7 cases for people in situations like yours; but what I want to do is be ready with a means test based on the new numbers so I can show that my client qualifies even with the new numbers.
If you are entering territory where you will absolutely no longer pass the means test, best to start with a Chapter 13 rather than being forced into one.
This response is for general information purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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