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In re Waechter
United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts
439 B.R. 253 (2010)
Carol Waechter (debtor) and her fiancé, Joao Da Silva, entered into a premarital agreement in April 2008. The agreement provided that the couple would keep their property separate throughout their marriage and that neither Waechter nor Da Silva would be held liable for each other’s debts. The agreement did not cover how the couple would split joint expenses incurred during the marriage. In November 2009, after Waechter and Da Silva were married, Waechter individually filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Waechter’s filing listed a combined monthly income that included Da Silva’s net income of $1,348. However, Waechter’s schedule of monthly expenses included an entry for $1,309.46, which Waechter described as Da Silva’s choice not to share his income pursuant to the premarital agreement. By offsetting all but roughly $40 of Da Silva’s income in this way, Waechter’s schedule of expenses treated Waechter as responsible for all the couple’s joint marital living expenses, including $520 per month for utilities and $649 per month for home maintenance and food. As a result, Waechter had only $119 per month in disposable income for purposes of her chapter 13 plan. Waechter’s proposed plan provided no dividend for Waechter’s general unsecured creditors. The chapter 13 trustee objected to confirmation of Waechter’s chapter 13 plan, asserting that Waechter had significantly understated her disposable income by claiming sole responsibility for the couple’s household expenses. The trustee further argued that Waechter had not proposed the chapter 13 plan in good faith.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hoffman, J.)
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