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What is Median Income?

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If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and meet with an attorney he/she will likely determine whether you are under or over median income  Individuals at or below median income for their family size can file a Chapter 7.  If you are over median income you must file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
If you are married both your income and the income of your spouse must be included in the means test.  This is true even if you are not filing with your spouse because his/her income contributes to the household income. If you are separated and living in separate households then you do not need to include your spouse's income in the means test.  While you do have to account for your spouse's income, you also account for his/her expenses.
Median income is the average family income.  You family size is considered. For a one person household median is $39,563. For a two person household median is $51,562. For a three person household median is $58,473. For a four person household median is $70,363. You can add $6,900 for each person over four in your household.
So, who can you count?  You count yourself, your spouse if applicable, and your minor children that live with you.  If you have a child that is over 18 and is financially dependent upon you, especially because he/she is in college or is disabled in some way, you may count them.  If you have a parent or relative living with you that is financially dependent you may count that person.  As a general rule, if you can claim an individual as a dependent on your taxes you can probably count them.  The big exception to this is custody arrangements that relate to taxes.  If you can claim your child on taxes, but he/she does not live with you, you cannot claim him/her as part of your household for purposes of evaluating your qualification to file a Chapter 7.
If it does appear that your gross income is over median you should still speak with an attorney.  It is very possible that some of your qualified expenses will actually put you under median, meaning that you can file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. 
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for a free consultation, contact a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today.

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