Schedule J: Your Expenses

Produced by Attorney Mariah Jennings-Rampsi for MassLegalHelp
Created October 2016

Get Schedule J: Your Expenses from the US Bankruptcy Court website.

Save the form on your computer.

List your average monthly expenses on Schedule J.

In the top box put your name and your spouse’s if you are both filing.

Put in “Mass.” after “District of”.

The clerk will give you the Case No. when you file your Bankruptcy Petition.

The top box of most Bankruptcy forms.

Most of Schedule J is easy to fill out. Some parts of the form are not so easy to understand. It is important to understand the question before you answer it.

“Expenditures” means expenses.

Part 1

Line 1. If you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy, put all your expenses on this form, unless you are separated. 
If you are filing a joint case, and your spouse lives in a different house, your spouse should fill out Schedule J-2. 

Line 2.  List your dependents.

Line 3. Check Yes or No to answer the question, about paying for expenses for anyone besides your spouse or dependents.

 Part 2

Line 4. Your housing expenses  - list your mortgage or rent payment.  If you pay landrent for a mobile home, include it here.  If you rent to own list it here and on schedule D.

Line 6. Your utilities -  Use the average monthly amount you pay over a full year.  For example, most people’s heating bill is higher in the winter and lower in the summer. Divide the amount you spend on heat for the whole year by 12 to get your monthly average heating bill.

  • 6d asks for “Other.” Put in any other monthly utilities you did not already list.

Line 7. Your monthly food expenses - include groceries, eating out, coffee, snacks, drinks, and school lunches. Think about all your food expenses for a month.

Line 9. Monthly clothing and laundry expenses -  include detergent, dryer sheets, stain removers, etc. If you do not buy clothes every month, divide the amount you spend in a year by 12.

Line 11. Monthly medical and dental expenses. Some medical and dental expenses stay the same each month, like prescriptions or monthly dentist payments. Others are one-time expenses, like glasses or an emergency room visit.  Think about all the medical and dental expenses you had over the past year. Add them up & Divide by 12 to get a monthly average.

Line 12. Monthly transportation expenses - include gas, car registration, maintenance and repairs, parking, and bus passes.  Do not include car payments or car insurance here.  Add up your transportation expenses for the past year. Divide by 12 to get your monthly average transportation expenses.

Line 13. Monthly expenses for recreation and entertainment - include movies, gym memberships, children’s activities, music and tickets.  Also include tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. 

Line 14.  Add up all the donations you make to religious groups or other nonprofits every month and put the total here. 

Line 15.  Monthly insurance expenses.  Do not list any insurance that is automatically deducted from your paycheck.  Those expenses were already subtracted from your income on Schedule I Deductions

Line 16. Taxes - list any monthly taxes you pay that you did not already put somewhere else.

  • Do not include income taxes taken out of your paycheck.  You already listed these on Schedule I. 
  • Do not include property taxes that you pay as part of your mortgage payment.  Check to may sure you already listed these taxes on Line 4 or 4b of this form. 

Line 17.  Monthly loan payments you are making on an installment loan.  An “installment loan” is any loan you pay back by making regular monthly payments for a set amount of time.  These include car loans, student loans, and personal loans.  Do not include credit cards or store charge accounts.  Only include loan payments you think you will be making after your bankruptcy, like car payments or student loans. 

Line 18.  Monthly payments you make for child support, alimony, or other support to another person.  Do not list amounts that are automatically deducted from your paycheck.  You already listed those expenses on Schedule I.

Line 19. Any money you pay for dependents who do not live in your home.  Include money you give to children in college here.

Line 21. Other monthly expenses you have that you have not already listed.  Include childcare expenses, bank fees, holiday gifts, etc. 

Line 24. Answer Yes or No to the question about next year’s expenses. 

  • Only list changes of 10% or more. 
  • Only list changes that you are pretty sure will happen.  For example, a child may be moving into or out of your household.  Or you may know that a child is going to need braces, so your medical expenses will go up.  If you expect any changes like this, list them here. 


Your income after expenses makes a difference. If it is too low, you cannot reaffirm your loan.  If it is too high, you cannot waive your filing fee.

  • If you are trying to reaffirm a car loan to keep a vehicle, your expenses must be less than your income. 
    Do you show money left over at the bottom of Schedule J? 
    Double-check your expenses.  Make sure you did not over-estimate anything. 
  • It costs money to file for bankruptcy.  The filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335. Bankruptcy court allows some people not to pay the filing fee, but you must show you cannot afford the fee. You can also ask to pay the fee in 4 payments.  If the court allows you to file and not pay the filing fee, they “waive” the fee. If you need a fee waiver, see How to Pay Filing Fee.

Many debtors want to reaffirm a vehicle and get a full waiver of the filing fee.  This means you have to meet both these requirements.  You must have more than zero left over, but you cannot pay the filing fee after you subtract your expenses from your income.

Filing without a lawyer

  • Bankruptcy is complicated. Filing without a lawyer is risky.
  • You can lose property and money. You can go to jail if you do not tell the truth.

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