How to Qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Do I Qualify?

Anyone who wants to eliminate debt by filing for bankruptcy must first determine if they qualify. There are two types of personal bankruptcies that one can file: chapter 7 and chapter 13.

A chapter 13 bankruptcy is reserved for people who don’t qualify for chapter 7 because their income is too high so they must repay their debts over a period of three to five years.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most sought after type of bankruptcy. People prefer a chapter 7 bankruptcy because they don’t have to repay debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates dischargeable debts forever.

There are two important factors that will determine if one qualifies for a chapter 7 bankruptcy;

  1. You can only file a chapter 7 once every eight years
  2. Your household income must qualify under what is called the means test.

A means test calculates your average household monthly income over a six-month period based on your household size and the state where you reside.


How Do You Know If You Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Under the new laws, there is a lot of requirements for filing bankruptcy chapter 7 bankruptcy. Primarily, you have to pass what is called the means test. A means test is basically a way of evaluating whether your current monthly income falls below certain levels.

These levels are called the family medium income. For example, for a family of two people, the family medium income in California is $62,970. For a family of four people, it is $78,869.

A second requirement before you can file your bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 is a mandatory credit counseling course.

When filing for bankruptcy, you must submit your credit counseling certificate to the court. This certificate indicates that you have taken the course and you understand what your responsibilities are to the bankruptcy court as well as to your creditor.

You have to understand that in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court appoints a bankruptcy trustee whose responsibilities include making sure that you have complied with the requirements such as the certificate and the means test.

The trustee will also ensure you have filed your taxes and submitted your last two years of your tax returns in addition to making sure that there are no assets that can be sold off to pay off your creditors.