August 29, 2011
Pets and Chapter 13
Below are two comments posted on a Bankruptcy Law Listserve:
-Pets? Anyone got some brilliant way to use pet and veterinary expenses to lower
disposable monthly income in a chapter 13 bankruptcy?
-See if you can get a doctor's prescription as it lowers blood pressure to have
companion animal? Or have a mental health professional state that they will commit
suicide if they don't have companion animals? Then it would be a medical / health
care expense. Of course if there's nothing like that and it's just a pet, if the
person is unmarried and alone there is some case law that for a retired person
living alone with a pet, it's not an excessive expense. Maybe you can get one of
the humane associations to write an amicus brief!
I was surprised by the comments -- we have gotten Chapter 13 plans confirmed with a pet/vet expense without a problem.
We have two cases pending that list a pet/vet expense that is on the higher side, elderly and sick pets. If the Debtors must live off the budget on Schedule J for the next 5 years how could an attorney NOT budget a client's true expenses, including those that are pet related? Are Debtors supposed to give away or euthanize their pets when filing Chapter 13?
We will keep you updated about the two cases.
-Roksana D. Moradi, Esq.
August 29, 2011 | Permalink
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They are talking about "Disposable Monthly Income" - so they are talking about B22 expenses, NOT Schedule J expenses.
If you have claimed pets as a B22 expense on a confirmed Chapter 13 case, I'd love to see the case number.
Posted by: CRB | Aug 29, 2011 2:29:35 PM
Here's a question.
Suppose one has a pet worth thousands of dollars and/or several, (maybe even above $16,000).
Is the pet to be Sold?
Posted by: Laser Haas | Aug 29, 2011 10:26:19 PM
I specifically ask whether my clients have animals and if so, what kind. We budget for food, medical and veterinary expenses for the animals. I have never had a problem with it either.
Posted by: Athena Inembolidis | Aug 30, 2011 8:11:59 AM
With the popularity of pet trusts and passage of statutes to enforce them, there seems to be more legal recognition of the importance of pet care. Pet owners know that they are like family, and legitimate expenses, such as flea and heartworm medications, food, vet checkups, and other necessaries, should be allowed as expenses. Grooming expenses may be a grey area, since some grooming is necessary for their health and other types of grooming is purely for aesthetics and can be done at home. Does doggy day care count?
Posted by: Dana Atman, Esq. | Aug 31, 2011 10:16:09 PM