What do bankruptcy and Valentine's Day have in common!?
That being the case, here are a couple far-flung things to keep in mind:
- If you are preparing to file an individual bankruptcy, don't elope right before filing. The bankruptcy court will look at joint marital income in determining how much, if anything, you must repay your creditors. The amount is adjusted for household size, but a married couple may only earn $10,007.00 more than an individual (assuming it is a household of two). So, if your dear Valentine has a job, it could push you out of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which would result in you repaying your creditors. On the other hand, if they do NOT have a job, it could get you below the threshold. Let true love (and the median income charts) be your guide!
- Large credit card purchases in the 90 days before filing bankruptcy can also cause a problem. A large Valentine's Day gift of over $500 may be an issue, and could prevent you from filing immediately. These purchases could be challenged as "abusive". If the generosity of true love cannot wait another moment, by all means... But, if it can wait, you should!
- Valentine's Day jewelry is exemptable under the Bankruptcy Code! There is a $1,600.00 Federal exemption per filer for jewelry, which should cover all but the most lavish Valentine's Day gifts. Seeing as the value of jewelry drops quickly once purchased, and sentimental value is not taken into account, few gifts should present a problem.
- Cheaper, less thoughtful gifts are fully exempted! Cards, flowers, candy, edible arrangements, etc., are all worthless from a bankruptcy perspective... but not for your heart! Gift away!
Have a great Valentine's Day!