Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: The Schedule I Form


Being granted a discharge of all (or even most) of your debts is a huge help for those who have fallen too deep into debt to get out on their own. Whether due to financial missteps, unforeseen medical bills or a significant life event (divorce, disability, etc) – getting in over your head does happen, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. In fact, the simple act of reading this post means that you’re ready to climb back out of debt and start fresh.

With all of that being said, filing for bankruptcy is not a simple process, nor is it one that you should ever attempt to go alone. Regardless of your opinion of your ability to file for bankruptcy on your own, doing so is not advisable. It is surprisingly easy to make substantial mistakes on bankruptcy paperwork. This is due to the fact that the required forms, documentation, petitions, schedules, summaries and declarations are quite numerous and detailed.

One of the most important bankruptcy documents in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies is the Schedule I form. Schedule I is where you will list all of your income. You must include income from any and all sources, as well as your spouse’s income (if applicable).

Many people make critical errors when filling out Schedule I, which leads to dismissal of their bankruptcy case. This is only one of many reasons why you absolutely need to work with a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney if you plan to file for chapter 7 or chapter 13.

Although it may seem obvious, lying on any of your bankruptcy paperwork is strictly prohibited and may constitute bankruptcy fraud, which is a punishable crime. A public example of this playing out is Teresa and Joe Giudice, a married couple from NJ who were convicted of bankruptcy fraud and spent time in prison. Their crime? Falsifying documents.

Your NJ bankruptcy attorney will ensure that all of your paperwork is accurate, including the Schedule I form. You must be up front with your attorney when it comes to providing all sources of income. Do not attempt to cover up or hide any form of income from your attorney.

One of the very first documents you’ll file related to your bankruptcy is form 122A-1, the first in a series of 3 forms that will determine if you qualify to file for bankruptcy based on your income from the most recent 6 months. Sometimes confused with Schedule I, Form 122A-1 is filed first and is the initial portion of the Means Test. If your income is determined to fall below the state median income, you will qualify to file for chapter 7. If your income is above the state median income, you’ll move on to form 122A-1Supp and 122A-2 to look more closely at your funds and expenses in order to determine if you qualify for chapter 13.

If you’re approved to file for either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, your next step will be to sit down with your NJ bankruptcy lawyer to fill out the Schedule I form, where you will officially declare all of your current income. It’s likely that the numbers on your Schedule I form will differ slightly from the figures on form 122A-1 for the Means Test, because Schedule I asks for your current income.

Remember: you must include all forms of income on Schedule I, even sources of income you think “no one would ever know about” and your spouse’s income.

Your bankruptcy attorney will be able to assist you in filling out Schedule 1, along with all other paperwork throughout your bankruptcy case. For more information about filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey, visit our bankruptcy blog home page and search for answers to your specific questions.

Image credit: B. DeBrincat

2 Responses to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: The Schedule I Form

  1. Pingback: New Jersey Bankruptcy: The Forms | Veitengruber Law

  2. Pingback: NJ Bankruptcy: The Forms | Veitengruber Law

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