Free Consulting Service About Bankruptcy Reform Law

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Thousands of consumer bankruptcy lawyers are in panic as the effective date of the Reform Act rushes nearer. To assist lawyers in coming to terms with the Act and how it may be interpreted, BankruptcyBooks.com and King Bankruptcy Media are offering an "Issues & Answers" Website.

Consumer bankruptcy educational programs for professionals are swamped with lawyers seeking insight into how the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & Consumer Protection Act of 2005 will be handled by trustees and judges as of October 17, when its key provisions become mandatory.

To help fill in the gaps, Morgan King, author of King's Guide To Practice Under The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 has posted an Issues & Answers interactive page on his web site, ReformGuide.com.

The Issues & Answers page may be accessed by going to ReformGuide.com and clicking on the Issues & Answers graphic at the left of the page.

Morgan King spoke at the workshop on the Reform Act produced by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) in Chicago earlier this summer, and will speak at the next NACBA workshop in September in Orlando, Florida.

King is also preparing a 2-day educational program for bankruptcy lawyers, sponsored by his King Bankruptcy Academy. Information about this program may be accessed at BankruptcyAcademy.com.

The Issues & Answers service is offered to bankruptcy lawyers, trustees and judges only. Questions from consumers will be directed to other Internet resources. The information shared through this service tends to be technical and often relates to obscure provisions of the Reform Act ... obscure but essential for lawyers to understand how to proceed with cases after October 17.

Here is an example of a recent Issues & Answers exchange:

Question 1:

Does the term "household" for means test purposes include roomates that live in the same house and share the rent/utilities?

Steve Brechner

Consumer bankruptcy attorney

Phoenix, Arizona

Answer:

This is discussed at ¶ 6.4 of King's Guide To Practice

The current opinion is yes, a household for purposes of the means test includes all persons living with the debtor, whether related by blood or marriage, or not. The Bankruptcy Code as amended,§ 707(b)(6) uses terms "household" and "median family income." Section 101(39A) provides that "median family income" is based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The web site of the U.S. Census bureau defines a "household" - "A household consists of all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship."

So, if read literally, it includes unrelated roomates.

Question 1 follow-up:

Okay so the current opinion is that roomates are included in the household under the act. If the roomate's income and financial life altogether is separate from the debtor, is the current opinion that the debtor must obtain 6 months of income and other related financial information from the roomate in order to file and sustain a bankruptcy case?

Answer:

This is discussed at ¶ 6.4(a)(3) of King's Guide to Practice.

Bankruptcy Code § 101(10A) provides that in calculating current monthly income (which is also used as the starting point for calculating net monthly income under means test) one includes the debtor's and debtor's spouse's income (if joint filing), plus “any amount paid by any entity... on a regular basis for the household expenses of the debtor ...” Read literally, this means that only that portion of a roomate's income that is contributed to the household budget is counted, and even that is counted only if it is “regularly” contributed. Accordingly, there is no need to obtain any other information about the roomate's income or expenses.

For more news and information about the Reform Act, visit several other web sites created by Morgan King under the banner, King Bankruptcy Media, including BankruptcyReformNews.com, BankruptcyBooks.com, BankruptcyMedia.com, and ReformGuide.com.

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