Bankruptcy Schedule J -- Listing Your Current Expenses

In order to complete Schedule J of your bankruptcy forms, you list your current monthly expenses.

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When you file for bankruptcy, you must provide the court with information regarding your income and expenses. Schedule J – Your Expenses is the bankruptcy form where you list your ongoing monthly expenses. Read on to learn more about how to fill out Schedule J.

For more information on other bankruptcy forms you must file with the court, see our topic area on Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.

What Is Schedule J?

When you complete your bankruptcy paperwork, you must list your current income on a form called Schedule I – Your Income and your expenses on Schedule J. Together, Schedule I and Schedule J provide the court with information about your current monthly budget.

The court uses Schedule I and Schedule J to determine whether you should be allowed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how much you can afford to pay your creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Expenses You Must List on Schedule J

Below are some of the most common types of expenses you must list on Schedule J:

  • rent or mortgage payment
  • utilities
  • home maintenance
  • food
  • clothing
  • laundry and dry cleaning
  • medical expenses
  • transportation (such as gas and car maintenance)
  • car loan or other installment payments
  • recreation
  • charitable contributions
  • home, auto, health, or life insurance
  • taxes (amounts not already included in your mortgage payment or deducted from your wages on Schedule I)
  • domestic support obligations (such as alimony or child support) or other support payments, and
  • other expenses not already included on Schedule J.

Completing Schedule J

When you fill out Schedule J, you simply calculate and disclose your average monthly expenses. Here are a few tips to help you complete the form:

  • If you filed a joint bankruptcy with your spouse but your spouse has a separate household, he or she must file a separate Schedule J.
  • Make sure that all of the expenses you list are monthly amounts.
  • Be as accurate as possible and avoid underestimating or overestimating your expenses.
  • Don’t list any expenses you already deducted on Schedule I or installment payments that are included in your Chapter 13 repayment plan.
  • If you have an expense that doesn’t fit into a specific section on Schedule J, list it under the “other” category.
  • If you expect any of your expenses to increase or decrease within one year of your bankruptcy, describe the anticipated change on Line 24 of the form.

How to Calculate Your Monthly Net Income

Once you enter all of your expenses on Schedule J, you must add them together and subtract the total from your average monthly income (listed on Schedule I) to calculate your monthly net income.

If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will look at Schedule J to decide whether your monthly net income is low enough to qualify for a Chapter 7. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will use your monthly net income to determine:

  • whether you can afford to pay your monthly plan payments, and
  • whether you should be paying more to your creditors.
Warning: This article provides general information about Schedule J. Before you complete this or any other bankruptcy form, you must understand bankruptcy law in its entirety and may need to know local customs in your bankruptcy court. Consult with a local bankruptcy attorney or read a comprehensive self-help book such as Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

by: , Attorney

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