If you’re struggling to meet debt payments and financial obligations with your income, you’re most likely eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The two main types of bankruptcy, reorganization and liquidation, are designed for individuals and businesses with very different financial situations. Reorganization bankruptcy (Chapter 13) is an option for those with higher incomes who want to keep their property in the process of filing. Liquidation bankruptcy (Chapter 7), however, is more suitable for those with lower incomes and debts that can be discharged in the process of filing. At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we can help you understand why you might benefit more from Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN, given your situation.
While the risk of loss of some property is higher in Chapter 7, Chapter 7 is generally your best option for recovering financially and getting a fresh start quickly, even with a low income. The following outlines the several reasons why you might not be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Income: To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the Means Test, which determines your income level based on the median Minnesota income level of a household similar to your own. To pass this test and file for Chapter 7, your income must be lower than the Minnesota median income level for a household of your size. Your income includes any sources of monetary gain except, generally, income tax refunds and Social Security benefits. Income from inheritances received and retirement accounts that may have been cashed out also may sometimes be excluded from the calculation because such income sources would not constitute regular sources of income.
Repayment: Under 11 U.S.C. §707(b)(2), if your income is higher than the state median income for your household size, you might still be eligible for Chapter 7 under the condition that your income, as determined by this provision, would pay less than 25 percent of your nonpriority unsecured debts or $6,000.00, whichever is greater, or $10,000.00.
Failure to Meet Requirements: Before you can petition for Chapter 7, you must meet several requirements. First and foremost, you must attend a credit counseling course with an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days prior to filing. You must also complete certain paperwork and pay certain filing fees. Our expert attorneys can guide you through these sometimes-complicated requirements.
Previous Bankruptcy: If you filed for bankruptcy within the last 180 days and your case was dismissed for willful failure to abide by orders of the bankruptcy court, for acts of fraud, abuse, or by your own request or following the filing of a request for relief from the automatic stay by one of your creditors under 11 U.S.C. §362, you will not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under 11 U.S.C. §109(g), you must wait 180 days after the dismissal of your previous case to qualify for Chapter 7 again.
Previous Discharge: If you filed for bankruptcy relief and received a discharge in Chapter 7 in the past eight years or if you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy and received a discharge in the past six years, you will not be eligible to receive a discharge in a new case in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Fraud: Of course, in any bankruptcy case, your petition will be dismissed, and you will not be eligible for any form of bankruptcy if you’re found to exhibit fraudulent or abusive behavior relevant to your case.
To learn more about your eligibility and how filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mankato, MN, can give you a fresh start, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today.