Why so many paystubs?

If you are thinking about consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, be prepared to bring your pay stubs to the consultation. A lot of them.

It’s not uncommon for an attorney to want to review as many as six months worth of your prior pay statements when you visit the office.

Why so many?

It’s all about the means test, which since 2005 requires that you prove your income level in order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The pay stubs are used to gauge your income level, and if you are above the state average income for your household size, to get information on payroll deductions that may still qualify you for a Chapter 7 case.

The means test looks back at your last six months of income, so that’s why lawyers want you to dig deep for those statements.

Then there is the recent bankruptcy requirement that your lawyer provide the bankruptcy trustee with all of your pay information for the sixty days prior to filing.

So asking you to cough up pay stubs at an initial consultation is more than just a make-work project for you — its a vital part of giving you the proper advice on whether bankruptcy will even help you at all.


By Doug Beaton

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