If you change jobs while your bankruptcy is pending, the general rule is that you should contact your attorney, advise him of the changes and make the new job information known to your trustee.

People who have lost their job may wonder what happens if they find a job after filing bankruptcy.

A bankruptcy estate is created when you file your petition.  The bankruptcy estate is comprised (with certain exceptions) of “all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case”  §541(a)(1).  Your petition must list all the assets you own at the time you file.  (That does not mean you can transfer ownership and then file – that’s fraud.)

Under a strict reading of §541(a)(1), in a Chapter 7 case, that should mean that your good fortune should not affect the bankruptcy.  Practically speaking, however, you may have a problem if the job is offered before the 341 Hearing (Meeting of Creditors).  That’s because at that hearing the Trustee will ask if anything has changed since you filed.  If you say you have received a job offer, the Trustee suspect that you have filed in bad faith, knowing that the new job was “just around the corner.”  Remember, it’s the Trustee’s job to recover money for the unsecured creditors if the debtor is able to pay.  While you may ultimately win, the issue may have to be decided by the judge (and perhaps even on appeal), meaning which may mean additional delay and expense.

I would never advise someone to stop looking for work, but if you think you are close to getting a job offer, be sure to discuss it with your attorney.  In any case, withholding this kind of information can have very serious consequences.

The situation is different if in a Chapter 13.  As long as the payment plan is in effect (usually for 60 months), you must report any material change in your circumstances.  Depending on the circumstances, the trustee may demand a modification of your payment plan.  If that happens you will need to consult with your attorney on the best way.


Jonathan Ginsberg represents honest, hardworking men and women in the Atlanta area who need bankruptcy protection. Call him at 770-393-4985 for a confidential discussion.

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