Some days it seems nearly impossible for consumers to stay solvent in this challenging economic climate. They are finding it more and more challenging to meet their credit card debt, mortgages, medical bills, day-to-day living expenses, and more. When financial problems seem impossible to overcome, many people choose to file for bankruptcy to get a fresh start. However, most people don’t know how to go about it, and that there are two different options for bankruptcy available: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
An Overview of Bankruptcy
In the event that bankruptcy is your best option, an attorney can handle your case from the initial consultation to after your case is closed. The good news is that simple consumer chapter 7 bankruptcy filings can be quickly completed when the process of filing them is done in an efficient and thorough manner. A bankruptcy lawyer, like a bankruptcy lawyer in Memphis, TN, can help you navigate the bankruptcy process, and can help to minimize turn-around time. If you’re dealing with a mortgage foreclosure or a wage garnishment and need timely intervention, a bankruptcy lawyer in your area can help.
When you consult with an attorney for the first time, the legal professional will discuss which type of bankruptcy offers the most extensive protection of your assets while clearing all of your eligible debt. In most cases, filing chapter 7 bankruptcy provides specific benefits and is the easiest and quickest way to go. However, if you don’t qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, or a chapter 13 bankruptcy is more appropriate for your situation, an attorney can provide options for filing. The majority of people file under chapter 7 bankruptcy because it is typically the least expensive and can offer immediate relief.
The process for qualifying is relatively straightforward. In the past, a judge decided the eligibility to qualify. However, these days, the eligibility requirements are more objective. You can file a chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight years. If you filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy in the past and want to file a chapter 7 now, the rules are a bit more complicated.
Many people want to know whether they are eligible to file a chapter 7. Assuming you don’t have a prior bankruptcy filing, your eligibility to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy is based primarily on the results of the “bankruptcy means test.” The bankruptcy means test measures your financial means (ability) to manage your debts or repay some of them in a chapter 13 reorganization.
In most situations, if you are below the median income level for your household size and location, you will probably qualify. If you exceed the median income level, you may still be eligible — particularly if you are obligated to domestic support or child care expenses. Numerous factors go into the eligibility analysis. A knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the process.
For more information or to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your unique needs, contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area for a personalized review of your finances.
Thanks to Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into determining eligibility for bankruptcy.