Who can I claim as a dependent for purposes of my bankruptcy filing? 

Who can I claim as a dependent for purposes of my bankruptcy filing? 

This becomes very relevant because your ability to file a chapter 7 is based upon your income and expenses.  That threshold varies due to your household size.  As of October 2023, the Florida chart for the median income to qualify for a Chapter 7 is as follows:


One person household               $60,429

Two-person household              $74,131

Three-person household:            $83,396

Four-person household:             $100,476

Five-person household:              $110,376

Six-person household:               $120,276

Those numbers typically get adjusted twice annually for inflation.  A dependent can be anyone age 18 or younger residing in your house at least 50% of the time.  College age children are still considered dependents, as long as, they are between the ages of 18-24 and are full-time students.

If you have a partner, disabled or elderly family member who resides in your household they may qualify as dependents if they don’t work and you are providing more than half of their financial support.  Two people cannot claim the same individual as a dependent on their tax returns.  For example, you have your child and grandchildren living with you.

You are the person really providing more than one half of the financial support for your grandchild, but your child wanted to declare them as a dependent to get a tax refund.  If you are counting someone in your household as a dependent, the tax returns should be consistent and reflect that.

Typically, if someone is divorced and they have 2 children 50/50 custody we list one child as the dependent not two.  There are situations where it can be tricky so it’s best to consult with an attorney to make sure you are claiming the correct number of dependents.


Can My Pool Loan be Discharged in Bankruptcy? 

Can My Pool Loan be Discharged in Bankruptcy? 

Pool loans usually get financed through a third-party company, such as a bank or credit union not through the pool contractor themselves.  On credit reports the debt is usually listed as an unsecured debt which is the same as any type of credit card debt.   However, the actual loan agreement/contract always needs to be reviewed.

It is commonplace for the pool contract to state that there will be a UCC filing if the loan becomes 30+ days past due.  A UCC filing (Uniform commercial code financing statement) is a document filed by the creditor with the Florida Secretary of State to assert their security interest in the collateral (pool).   A UCC lien cannot be removed or avoided.

UCC liens can include everything from real property (homestead or rental properties) or other personal property.   A UCC lien will prevent you from being able to sell your property or use your property as collateral to obtain another loan such as a second mortgage or refinance of your current loan.

Unfortunately, it is something that will likely have to be paid.  A bankruptcy may still be helpful because you can eliminate other debt like credit card debt or personal loans so you can focus on staying current with your secured debt.   If you are having difficulty navigating whether something is a secured or unsecured debt it is good to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to figure out what can be discharged in bankruptcy and what you should continue to pay.


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