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Judge Yun and Chapter 13 Contributions

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The Judge further explained:

3. Conclusionon Feasibility

The contributions from Boyfriend or, alternatively, Mother are not supported by sufficient admissible evidence to prove that the contributions are reliable and likely to continue for the duration of the Plan. Without the contribution income, the Debtor’s net monthly income drops to ($210.00) and she is unable to meet her own expenses, much less make the proposed plan payments of $490.00. Therefore, the court finds that the Debtor has failed to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that her proposed chapter 13 Plan is feasible as required by § 1325(a)(6). As a result, confirmation must be denied.

B. Eligibility to be a Chapter 13 Debtor
The court also views the contribution issue in the context of eligibility. In order

to be eligible to be a chapter 13 debtor, among other things, the Debtor must be an “individual with regular income.” 11 U.S.C. § 109(e). An “individual with regular income” is defined as an “individual whose income is sufficiently stable and regular to enable such individual to make payments under a plan under chapter 13.” Id. § 101(30). Here, the Debtor has monthly take-home pay of $4,300.00 and expenses of $4,510.00. While her income appears to be stable and regular, her monthly income is less than her monthly expenses and it is not sufficient to enable the Debtor to make chapter 13 plan payments in any amount. Therefore, the income the Debtor relies on to meet the deficit in her monthly expenses and for her $490.00 monthly payments under the Plan is the $700.00 contribution from either Boyfriend or Mother.

Gratuitous payments from family members and other third parties do not generally constitute regular income for purposes of § 101(30), with some exceptions. In re Porter, 276 B.R. 32, 38 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2002); In re Jordan, 226 B.R. 117, 119 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998) (citing In re Antoine, 208 B.R. 17, 19–20 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 1997); In re Campbell, 38 B.R. 193, 196 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 1984)); see also In re

Santiago-Monteverde, 512 B.R. 432, 442 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). Contributions may be considered regular income where the contribution is based upon moral and legal obligations, the nondebtor is jointly liable for some debts, the contributions have been made in the past, or where there is direct evidence of the nondebtor’s assent to assume the responsibility for funding the debtor’s plan. Porter at 38; Jordan at 119.

In the present case, there is insufficient evidence to support any of the exceptions generally acknowledged by other courts. There is no evident moral or legal obligation for either Boyfriend to support his relatively recent girlfriend or for Mother to support her adult daughter. There is no evidence of joint liability for any of the debts, or that contributions have been made in the past by Boyfriend or Mother in any amount. Boyfriend has also not agreed to assume the responsibility for funding the Debtor’s Plan. Boyfriend Decl. ¶ 4. Mother has consented to make the contributions for the duration of the Plan but, as discussed above, she has not provided evidence indicating that she is actually able to do so.

Turn in next time….

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