For love or Money? Shacking up to save a buck

According to Associated Press reporter Hope Yen, Census Bureau honchos are scratching their heads over a sudden spike in the the number of unmarried couples living together in the United States.

The number of opposite sex unmarried couples jumped 13 percent in just the last year. Unable to pinpoint any stunning sexual trends behind the jump, Census watchers are inclined to think more folks are sharing space for economic reasons.

“It would be odd to say this year was emotionally different, so it’s more likely practical considerations that are behind the increase in cohabitation,’’ said Rose Kreider, a family demographer at the Census Bureau.

If people are shacking up due to hard times, it figures that some number of them will be filing bankruptcy cases. The question then becomes, how will these folks be treated on the bankruptcy court’s means test, which focuses on “household income”? If these new relationships count as a two person household the threshold for qualifying for Chapter 7 goes up, but both persons must declare their income on the forms. And it stands to reason that it won’t be easy for some of these folks to be asking their new mates to publicly share their income tax data.

Stay tuned — only time will tell exactly how these issues will play out in bankruptcy .


By Doug Beaton

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