Chances are, if you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are pretty well aware of how involved a process it is. Hopefully, you have already spoken with a bankruptcy attorney and determined your eligibility to file Chapter 7. However, if you have not, it may come as a surprise to find out what conditions must be met for an individual to be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If your income is too high, you may not be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This eligibility can be determined through a means test. This test compares your current income and six months preceding it to your state’s median income. Many different sources of funds can be included when determining actual income. After actual income is calculated and compared to the state’s median income, eligibility can be established. If your income is equal to or less than the state’s median income, you are eligible. However, if it is higher than the median income, additional testing may be required.
Going hand-in-hand with your income is your ability to repay your debt. Assuming your income is greater than the state’s median income, the bankruptcy court may consider how much disposable income you have left after paying your monthly expenses. If you have eligible disposable income, and a portion of your debt can be repaid, you may only qualify to file a Chapter 13 restructuring bankruptcy.
If you fail to complete a credit counseling program in the required time frame, you may not be eligible to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although this does not prevent you from ever filing Chapter 7, it must be done within 180 days before the petition can be filed.
From start to finish, the completion of a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is a complex and confusing process. In order to navigate through the maze of bankruptcy law, it may be beneficial to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.