I am in the unfortunate situation of needing to filing for bankruptcy on my own, and am running into some conflicting and incomplete information as I research how to do so. One of these issues is regarding "earned but unpaid wages". I will be filing at the end of the month and so my bank account balance will be very low, as my income and expenses are within $10 of eachother. I will, however, receive my regular monthly paycheck a few days after filing, and I want to be sure that it will not somehow be held up, as I will need all of that money right away for regular living expenses. Is this something I need to list as an asset even though it is not disposable income? And if so, and assuming I can exempt it (under CA C.C.P. 703.140(b)(5)?), am I free to spend it on food and rent, etc.?
If your income is based on wages and not commission, you treat it as a post-filing issue meaning you do not need to disclose it as an asset. Of course, you will disclose your income when you fill out your budget info. Some trustee's try to recover commissions income on the ground that they were earned pre-petition but paid post-petition. Unless we're talking about a substantial amount of money, I don't think you will have any problems. You don't need to exempt it unless it is deposited in your bank account before you file. Then you would list the amount of money in that account on the date you actually file. Even then, you can exempt it using the "wildcard" exemption under CCP §703. You need to consult a BK attorney to avoid entering the BK landmine, even if you just pay them for the time spent in consultation with you. Good luck.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Generally, when you're talking about that category, the trustee is looking for things like commissions or royalties or other things of that nature. "Normal" income just gets averaged out and put in Schedule I and the Means Test.
I'd recommend finding an attorney to at least verify your work before you file. "What do I do with my income?" I believe is number 3 on the Top 10 Signs You May Need a Bankruptcy Attorney list.
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This depends on the Trustee who will oversee your case. Traditionally Bankruptcy Trustees have seen income as an asset only when it has been paid or earned outside of a filer's normal wages (i.e. bonuses, commissions, etc.) And regular wages have only been seen as an asset once they are deposited into your bank account. However, not all Trustees are alike and depending on what other assets you are trying to exempt, a Trustee could request you also account for the regular wages you had earned but didn't receive on the day your case is filed. I have seen Trustees request filers amend their petitions to reflect this earned but unpaid income. Again, it depends on the Trustee and may also depend on the other items in your petition.
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