Budgeting in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case


In a chapter 13 bankruptcy you will be required to pay your disposable income to your creditors over the life of your bankruptcy case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases typically are a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years long. In calculating your disposable income we look at your monthly income and subtract all of your monthly expenses – not including payments you are currently making on your debts.

Part of this process is disclosing to the bankruptcy court your monthly budget. Your budget is relevant because the more expenses you have the less you will have in disposable income to pay your creditors. In Arizona the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustees have provided us with guidelines as to what is acceptable when it comes to a budget. This means that you generally cannot inflate your budget to reduce disposable income to be paid to your creditors.

The numbers below are general guidelines issued by the Arizona chapter 13 bankruptcy trustees on acceptable expenses. It is important to note that these numbers were issued in 2008 and thus there is some wiggle room.


Monthly Budget Allotment


$35% of Gross Monthly Income



Water and Sewer




Other (e.g. gas)


Home Maintenance



$301 Single Person$528 Couple

$210 per additional dependent


$65 per person

Laundry and Dry Cleaning


Transportation (gas, oil changes)

$300 per vehicle


$200 per family

Misc. Expenses

$120 per family

These numbers are not set in stone but are a good guideline of what are acceptable expenses while you are in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Image Credit: Nina Matthews Photography

Related posts:

1.Bankruptcy Process: How Long Does A Bankruptcy Case Last? (8.3)

2.Bankruptcy & Budgeting: Taking Advantage of Your Fresh Start (8.2)

3.7 Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (8.2)

4.$20,000 in 34 Years! Credit Cards, Monthly Minimums, and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (6.5)

5.How Losing Your Job Impacts Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (6.4)

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© John Skiba, Arizona Consumer Law Group, PLC | Attorney Advertising

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