To determine your CMI, you look backwards for 6 months before your filing. This important Bankruptcy term (Current Monthly Income) is a key part of the “Means Test” under the New Bankruptcy Law. It refers to the average monthly income of the debtor over the 6 calendar months before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Your CMI includes more than just earnings. It includes regular contributions to household expenses from non-debtors and income from the debtor’s spouse if the petition is a joint petition.

CMI does not include any social security income or certain other payments made because the debtor is the victim of certain crimes. One key concept that arises from this CMI definition is that it may greatly affect the date that you and your expert bankruptcy lawyer choose to file your Chapter 7 petition. If you are close to “failing” the Means Test, and your income is rising, it will be important to file your petition very quickly to take advantage of this “look back period” as part of your attempt to qualify to file Chapter 7.

The debtor in a consumer bankruptcy case is an individual that files bankruptcy. In a joint petition, where a married couple file one bankruptcy petition, they are referred to as “joint debtors.”