Pay stubs. It is all bankruptcy is about. When I send you the bankruptcy interview information I ask for pay stubs, or at least a printout of your pay from your employer for the last six whole months. Do you think that is enough? Not by a long shot. The purpose of this discussion is to tell you why I need them and why I need more and more of them.
Trust me. If I could do without them I would be happy. It isn’t me who wants them. It is the office of the United States Trustee, and to a lesser extent the bankruptcy court. This all became necessary by the bankruptcy reform act in 2005.
The means test requires pay stubs for the six full months before filling. If you file December 24 that analysis requires complete information up to November 30. This is just to decide the chapter for which you qualify. Not only do I need yours, but I will also need those of your spouse even if you are filing alone. Even more, if your spouse goes from unemployed to employed before you file your case, I need to know where they work and I need you to bring me the new job pay stubs too.
The first threshold of the means test is to average your HOUSEHOLD income over the six full months before your file bankruptcy. That means you and your spouse, if you are living in the same household. The annualized average is then compared to the state median income for a household of your size. The income of your non-filing spouse can be reduced by the marital adjustment. That, however, requires that I know about both his income and qualifying expenses. Updated information is essential to an accurate analysis of your financial position.
Pay Stubs for the Court
When your bankruptcy petition is uploaded to the court for filing part of the upload package is your pay stubs for the 60 days immediately prior to filing. If your household pay stubs are not up to date in the office I can’t file your case. Clear enough?
The office of the United States Trustee is tasked with insuring the honesty of the bankruptcy petitions filed. They might, and they often do, ask for copies of the pay advices used to complete the means test. That means yours, and your non-filing spouse for the past 6 full months, even though we gave them yours for the past 60 days. Pay Advice is a fancy name for your pay stub.
This is why I am always hounding you and your spouse for payroll information. Much of the bankruptcy process is fueled by gross income (before taxes). Pay stubs are a massive part of your bankruptcy filing.