Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Qualification

By: Damian Sofsian

Filing for bankruptcy has become the only relief for thousands of people who are experiencing massive debts. According to section 11, an individual, a partnership or a corporation or other business entities can qualify for relief under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

On October 17, 2005, a "means test" was enacted to determine whether a debtor is eligible to file chapter 7 bankruptcy or not. The purpose of the means test is to find out whether a debtor has enough disposable income after deducting certain allowed expenses and required debt payments. If an income is below the median income, then the debtor will be eligible. If the income is more than the median income for families in their state, then the income over the past six months is considered, along with mortgage and other dues up to $1500 per year. One will be disqualified for a chapter 7 bankruptcy if, after deducting these amounts, they can still pay at least $6,000 to unsecured creditors over five years. According to the new federal bankruptcy requirement, overdue tax returns must be filed to apply for a chapter 7 bankruptcy

If during the preceding 180 days a prior bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to the willful failure of the debtor to fulfill the orders of the court, an individual cannot file under chapter 7 or any other chapter. If the debtor voluntarily dismissed the previous case after creditors sought relief from the bankruptcy court, the debtor is ineligible.

In addition, an individual must obtain a certificate from an approved credit counselor before bankruptcy can be filed. The list of approved agencies is at www.usdoj.gov/ust, under the section of 'Credit Counseling and Debtor Education'. The aim of credit counseling is to give a debtor a repayment plan to bring his/her life on right track. Within 180 days before filing, the debtor must receive credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency either in an individual or group briefing. A debt management plan developed during required credit counseling must be filed with the court.

Bankruptcy
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