If you’re struggling with debt, filing for bankruptcy might be a great option to help you get back on your feet and recover financially. For most individuals—and even for some small businesses—filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most attractive option for alleviating debt and rebuilding credit. Not everyone, however, will qualify for Chapter 7, irrespective of how overwhelming the debts may be. Behm Law Group, Ltd’s bankruptcy attorneys can help you throughout the bankruptcy process and determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN.
Chapter 7, or liquidation bankruptcy, is a type of bankruptcy that is designed to discharge all your qualifying debts and liquidate your non-exempt assets to pay some dividend your creditors. The bankruptcy code provides very generous bankruptcy exemptions which allow you to retain your property. In most cases, the bankruptcy exemptions will be sufficient to allow you to retain all of your property. Sometimes, the value of the property you own may exceed your allowable bankruptcy exemptions in which case the bankruptcy trustee administering your case would be required to liquidate or sell the non-exempt assets and divide the proceeds among your creditors. In order to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, you must first qualify by passing the Minnesota Means Test.
The Means Test is an evaluation of your disposable income. By comparing your average monthly income during the six-months prior to the month in which you file for bankruptcy with the median income or state average income for a household of your size, the courts will decide whether your income is low enough for you to qualify for Chapter 7. To put it simply, if your income is lower than the state median or state average income for a household of your size, you qualify for Chapter 7. If your income is equal to or higher than the state median or state average income for a household of your size, you still must complete the Means Test in full, and the courts will decide if you qualify based on the balancing of your expenses and income.
Even if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after taking the Means Test, there are some other aspects of liquidation bankruptcy to consider:
- Only certain debts are discharged during the Chapter 7 process, while other debts, such as some tax debts, child support debts and criminal fines, are not subject to discharge and you must continue paying them after your case is concluded. If you have more debts that are non-dischargeable than those that are discharged, Chapter 7 may not be the best type of bankruptcy for your financial situation.
- When you enter the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your non-exempt assets will be liquidated by the bankruptcy trustee to pay a dividend your creditors, just as your debts are discharged to alleviate your financial burdens.
Chapter 7 may be the perfect choice to get you back on your feet. On the other hand, Chapter 13 or other financial actions might be a better option for your situation. Find out more about the paths that lie ahead of you, and contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 for more information about bankruptcy in New Ulm, MN.