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Bankruptcy Judge Scott Yun and Contributions

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The Judge went on to say…

More specifically, the contribution from Boyfriend does not constitute stable and regular income due to the nature of his relationship with the Debtor. Courts generally reject contributions made by a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. Jordan, 226 B.R. at 119–20; In re Heck, 355 B.R. 813, 824–25 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2006); In re Fischel, 103 B.R. 44, 49 (Bankr. N.D.N.Y. 1989). This is not to say that contributions from a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend can never be sufficiently stable and regular. Rather, they must be supported by admissible evidence addressing factors similar to those discussed above under the feasibility analysis. For example, at least one court has accepted contributions from a live-in boyfriend where the debtor shared a household with the nondebtor for eleven years, was supported by him during that time, and had cared for his children and elderly mother, and the nondebtor had also executed an affidavit with an unconditional promise to make the contributions until completion of the plan. In re Murphy, 226 B.R. 601, 604 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. 1998); see also In re Andolino, 525 B.R. 588, 591 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2015) (overruling trustee’s

objection to confirmation based on eligibility, but only to the extent that debtor later demonstrates his girlfriend’s commitment to fund plan by competent evidence); cf. In re Loomis, 487 B.R. 296, 301–02 (Bankr. N.D. Okla. 2013) (finding evidence of contribution by fiancée not convincing where the relationship existed approximately 18 months, debtor had no access or control over fiancée’s accounts, and fiancée was not legally obligated on the debts and did not assure that contributions would continue for duration of plan). In this instance, Boyfriend and the Debtor have failed to provide sufficient evidence that Boyfriend’s contributions will be stable and regular due to the relative newness of the relationship, the lack of prior support, and the lack of a firm commitment from Boyfriend to make the contributions for the duration of the Plan.

While more compelling, the contributions by the Debtor’s mother also do not satisfy § 101(30) because they are inadequately supported by evidence of their stable and regular nature. Courts are more likely to find contributions to be regular income where the nondebtor is a family member, particularly one who is obligated on some of the debts by contract or state law or where there is a lengthy history of stable payments. See e.g., In re Varian, 91 B.R. 653, 654–55 (Bankr. D. Conn. 1988) (husband obligated by Connecticut statute for debts incurred during separation); In re Campbell, 38 B.R. 193, 196 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 1984) (relatives jointly obligated on mortgage and had substantial self-interest in completing the plan); Rowe v. Conners (In re Rowe), 110 B.R. 712, 718 (Bankr. E.D. Penn. 1990) (son had been making the payments for five years). However, the court must still make a case-by-case factual determination that the contributing nondebtor’s income is sufficiently stable and regular. In re Sigfrid, 161 B.R. 220, 222–23 (Bankr. D. Minn. 1993).

The Debtor has not argued that her mother is obligated on any of her debts by contract or law. She also has not provided admissible evidence that her mother’s income is sufficiently stable and regular to allow her to make the required contribution. Even if the court were to follow these cases and allow contributions from family members, the Debtor has failed to meet her evidentiary burden to

demonstrate facts by admissible evidence that satisfy the requirements of §§ 109(e) and 101(30). For these reasons, confirmation of the Debtor’s Plan is also denied on the basis that the Debtor is not an individual with regular income as defined by the Bankruptcy Code and is therefore not eligible to be a debtor under chapter 13.

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