If I file for bankruptcy and live with my boyfriend, will his income be considered in my filing?

I have been unemployed for 14 months now and considering filing for bankruptcy. I have depleted my savings and 401k, and been living off credit cards. I have lived with my boyfriend for 4 years. Our house is in his name and he pays mortgage and utilities; he has income of $80,000. Will his income be taken into consideration when I file? Although he pays housing expenses, he does not pay other expenses that belong to myself or my 2 kids (health insurance, car payment, groceries, clothing, etc..).

Asked on August 23, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

His income will not be taken into account (except as indicated below) since he has no legal obligation or tie to you (e.g. you are not married), but  his contributions to you, support for you, etc. may very well be considered--it can be counted as "income" to you in determining what you can and cannot pay (or conversely, but to similar effect, it reduces the necessary expenses or costs of living which you must pay and which must be taken into account in developing a bankruptcy plan). That is, compared to someone who has to pay their own mortage and utilities, you have a windfall equal in value to that amount, or at least to what would be your share of that amount if the two of you were together paying it. In one way or another, the fact that you do not have to pay those critical costs or have them paid for you will likely be taken into account.

The above said, his income or assets could be taken more directly into account if and to the extent it appears that some of it is actually yours, but simply put in his name. For example, you say that he has an income of $80k; say that is from his own small or home-based business and you work in that business but take no official salary--all compensation is in his name. In that case, the bankruptcy court could conclude that a portion of his income is actually yours and you are simply trying to hide it from creditors.

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