Schedules I and J – Your Income and Expenses

In most areas of life, accuracy is important, and this is especially true of completing bankruptcy paperwork. This is the only way the court trustee can accurately evaluate your case. On Schedules I and J, we’ll list all of your income and expenses, and this will help us decide which chapter is the best way for you to file. The court will use this information to conduct the means test to determine if you’re eligible for a Chapter 7. If you’re filing a Chapter 13 instead, the data on these forms will help them to evaluate your proposed repayment plan. Married couples need to include the income and expenses for both partners. Things get a little more complicated if you’re in the process of separating or divorcing, and I can walk you through this, if necessary. 


Schedule I

 Whether you’re filing a Chapter 7 or 13, you’ll need to complete Schedule I and include all of your income. This gives the court a snap shot of your current income, and we’ll use other forms to show them what has happened over the preceding six months. This way, you can explain why you’re filing; everything may have been fine until you lost your job or faced unexpected medical bills. 

 You’ll need to include employment income for yourself and your spouse, as well as other monthly income, such as child support/alimony, retirement, disability, public assistance, or retirement. You’ll also be given space to explain to the court if you’re expecting any income changes over the next year. 


Schedule J

 Schedule J gives the court a deeper understanding of your overall financial situation by looking at your current monthly expenses. You’ll also need to share some basic information such as a list of your household members, which includes your spouse, along with biological, adopted, or step children, as well as any other dependents (minor or adult) for whom you provide at least half of the support. It’s not necessary to include names; just their age and relationship to you.

 Before getting started on this form, I’ll give you a list of possible expenses that most people have. I’ll help to ensure nothing is omitted and that the information you provide is accurate. One hundred percent honesty is imperative here, but some people attempt to make their case “look better” by changing numbers, which the court will not tolerate. If you have any expenses that are incurred annually, we’ll pro-rate to a monthly figure. After all of your expenses have been added together, we’ll subtract that from your total income listed on Schedule I; this will give us your monthly net income. As with Schedule I, you’ll be able to tell the court about any expected changes. 


Filing Paperwork

 As we prepare your case, I’ll give you a packet of just the forms you need to avoid any unnecessary busy work.  Many of the forms can be pre-filled with your identifying information, further reducing your work. I’ll guide you through the entire process so that you always feel confident in your decision.