Receiving Debt Relief as a Personal Guarantor

In 2008, the housing crisis changed a lot about how mortgages and other loans are handed out. Credit and income requirements are much higher, and many borrowers need another person or entity to sign as a personal guarantor in order to receive a loan.

 

Establishing a personal guarantee on a loan means you’ll be required to repay that debt in the event the primary borrower cannot. If you’re left to pay a debt and find yourself in a situation where you also cannot repay it, filing for bankruptcy may be the best solution depending on the type of debt involved and your additional financial circumstances. With the help of Behm Law Group, Ltd. you can file a successful bankruptcy case and receive long-term debt relief in Fairmont, MN.

 

Bankruptcy is a highly effective legal process that treats many types of debt. While there are some debts, such as child support, alimony and some tax debts, that are typically not included in a bankruptcy discharge, the majority of common individual consumer or business debts will be discharged. Some of the most prevalent debts for a typical person are mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts. All of these can be discharged through bankruptcy, and this is also true for personal guarantors that are responsible for another person’s or business’s mortgage, car loan, credit card debt, or any other debts.

 

When you sign as a personal guarantor, you’re accepting the fact that you could be asked to make payments on that debt if the primary borrower defaults by missing a payment. If the primary borrower defaults for an extended period of time, the continued debt payments owed could accumulate to an amount that you yourself are unable to pay. If you file for bankruptcy, this debt will be discharged in a Chapter 7 case or included in a repayment plan in a Chapter 13 case.

 

Many people or other parties could find themselves in this situation. Almost anyone can sign as a personal guarantor including friends and family, businesses, or other parties with good financial standings. Personal guarantors help borrowers receive loans, reduce interest rates, and get better financing options overall.

 

If you’ve been asked to sign as a personal guarantor, it’s important to take several things into account about the primary borrower’s and your current and future financial situations. Take into consideration if your credit score will be affected and how and why the bank is requiring a guarantor.  Also, consider if you have the funds to repay the debt if the primary borrower defaults, what might happen to your credit if the primary borrower defaults, and your relationship with the primary borrower.

 

If you feel comfortable signing as a personal guarantor after taking into account your options and situation, remember that you can most likely discharge that debt if needed through a bankruptcy proceeding. To learn more about personal guarantees and how to receive debt relief in Fairmont, MN through bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com

Understanding Co-debtor Roles in Bankruptcy

When an individual is in a financial situation ripe to be resolved with a bankruptcy case, it’s likely they have a lot of debt they can’t repay and may even have one or more co-debtors. Debt accumulation over time usually shows a bread crumb trail of having to take on more debt to cover debts already owed. For instance, many debtors open new lines of credit to pay off an auto loan or a mortgage, and that tends to snowball into more credit card debt with interest rates quickly increasing the amount owed.

If your debt has become overwhelming, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can guide and protect you throughout the process of individual consumer bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN.

Bankruptcy can be a complex legal process, and it can be very different from case to case. The bankruptcy code has many specific rules that may or may not apply depending on individual financial circumstances. One example of this is the co-debtor role and the laws that apply to this in a bankruptcy case.

 

What Happens in Bankruptcy

There are two exactly opposite things that happen to a co-debtor depending on which chapter you file. In Chapter 7, you may have the debt discharged, but the co-debtor will still be responsible for repaying the full debt. However, in Chapter 13, you assume responsibility for the debt in a three- to five-year repayment plan, and thus your co-debtor may only be partially obligated on it.   For instance, if you have a $5,000.00 Discover credit card debt and only $3,000.00 of it is paid through your chapter 13 plan, the co-debtor would be liable to pay the remaining $2,000.00.

 

Who Is a Co-debtor?

Any person that has legally agreed to pay the debt owed in the event that you can’t repay it is a co-debtor. Co-debtors include:

    • Spouse: Even if your spouse is not filing for joint bankruptcy with you, they can be responsible for the debt if they signed the lending paperwork. Common examples of this are mortgages, credit cards, and car loans.

 

    • Co-signer: If your relative, friend, or other individual co-signs a loan, rental, or other borrowed value with you, they become your co-debtor if you default on repaying that debt. This commonly happens if you don’t have sufficient credit or a lengthy borrowing history to take out a loan, rent a property, or open an account.

 

    • Personal Guarantor: If you provided a personal guarantee to a lender on behalf of a small business or a start-up, you are considered a co-debtor for the loan that the business receives. If the business files for bankruptcy, you may still be liable for that debt.

 

  • Community Property State Resident: If you and your spouse lived in a community property state in the eight years prior to filing for bankruptcy, your spouse is your co-debtor even if they don’t file a joint petition. Community property states include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

 

To learn more about your co-debtor’s roles or to start filing for bankruptcy in St. Peter, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

How a Bankruptcy Insider Affects Debt Relief

Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides debt relief to thousands of individuals and businesses across the United States. If you’re struggling to meet debt payments each month and you feel like your quality of life is significantly affected by this, it may be beneficial for you to consider filing for bankruptcy. Not only does bankruptcy discharge common debts like credit cards and medical bills, it also addresses debts that are tied to properties, including mortgages and car loans. This means some of the most common debt types in America are resolved with a bankruptcy case. If you want to receive debt relief in Redwood Falls, MN, through bankruptcy, Behm Law Group Ltd. can guide you through the system, help you build a strong case, and protect you in the nuanced system of bankruptcy.

 

For the typical individual consumer, there are two types of bankruptcy that can provide debt relief in different ways: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

 

Chapter 7 is more suited to people with low incomes who will not be able to repay their debts. It works to liquidate non-exempt assets in exchange for discharge of one’s debts. For example, the trustee administering your case may sell a snowmobile that you may not be able to protect with your bankruptcy exemptions and pay that value to your unsecured creditors.  This is the exception, however, rather than the rule.  However, the bankruptcy exemptions are quite generous.  In the vast majority of chapter 7 cases, one’s bankruptcy exemptions will be sufficient to protect all of one’s assets.

 

Chapter 13 is best for those who don’t want non-exempt assets liquidated and have a steady, stable income. This filing works to restructure or reorganize the filer’s debts into a three- to five-year long repayment plan. Secured debts (debts tied to a property) will be repaid over that time but they are usually repaid under adjusted terms that are more favorable than the original loan terms.  Unsecured debts will be paid only a percentage of what they were owed before the bankruptcy case was filed.

 

When you file for bankruptcy, people and agencies considered “bankruptcy insiders” are taken into account and may affect your case. Bankruptcy insiders include relatives, friends, partners, partner’s relatives, or a company in which the filer has some control/involvement, or business individuals such as directors, business partners, or other business individuals who have a special or close relationship the filer in some way.

 

The court considers bankruptcy insiders in the determination of preferential payments and fraud. For example, if the debtor owed his or her mother $1,000.00 and paid the mother off within one year before he or she filed for bankruptcy relief, the bankruptcy trustee administering the bankruptcy case could demand that the mother pay the $1,000.00 back to the trustee.  The trustee would then divide that $1,000.00 among all of the debtor’s unsecured creditors.  Additionally, if the filer sold some property at below market value to the insider before filing, the entire transaction could be undone or reversed by the bankruptcy trustee.  For instance, if a filer sold a vehicle that was worth $10,000.00 to his or her mother for $1,000.00, the bankruptcy trustee could undo or reverse the transaction because fair value was not given for the vehicle.  The trustee could demand that the vehicle be turned over.  The trustee could then sell the vehicle for fair market value.  The trustee would then divide up the sale proceeds among the filer’s unsecured creditors.

 

To start your bankruptcy process today and receive debt relief in Redwood Falls, MN, or to learn more about bankruptcy insiders, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Handling Bankruptcy Audits with the Help of a Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is a nuanced process that can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. No matter what type of bankruptcy you file for, the process can be greatly improved and filed without mistakes when you take advantage of the protection and guidance of a professional. Bankruptcy cases for individual consumers are typically formatted into Chapter 7 (non-exempt asset liquidation in exchange for debt discharge) or Chapter 13 (debt reorganization into a three- to five-year repayment plan). Both of these Chapters can be further complicated with the introduction of a bankruptcy audit. If you choose to file for bankruptcy, the help of a Behm Law Group Ltd. bankruptcy attorney in Owatonna, MN, can counsel and protect you in the face of an audit or any other legal hurdles you may face.

 

Bankruptcy audits are rare, but they are done routinely each year by the U.S. Trustee’s office, which can audit up to 1 in every 1,000 Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases and is required to audit a minimum of 1 in every 250 cases per district. The audits are randomly selected, but the office can also audit unusual cases based on an income or debt alert system.

 

In a bankruptcy audit, the Trustee’s office delegates an external auditing company to verify aspects of the case, including income, expenses, debts, and assets. You, as the filer, do not have to pay any fees in the audit, but you are required to provide copies of any requested financial documents.

 

The audit firm has 21 days to submit the audit report to the court, and the court uses that data to determine how the audit affects your case.

 

If your case is audited by random selection or based on the office’s alert system, a few outcomes can happen. If the court finds any issues in the audit with your case, you may have your case dismissed, your right to a discharge may be denied, or your case may be marked as fraudulent and criminal proceedings could be commenced if you have tried to use the process to hide assets. In most cases, if a bankruptcy filing is audited randomly, there are no issues and your petition continues through the court process normally and you get a discharge of your debts.

 

In some circumstances, filers may have made mistakes in their paperwork that appear fraudulent or must be remedied by reopening the case. With the support of a bankruptcy attorney, however, corrections can be made in the course of an audit and your case will not be dismissed and you will get a discharge of your debts. To file a case with integrity and receive long-term debt relief, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com to get started with a bankruptcy attorney in Owatonna, MN, today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are finding your quality of life compromised due to the difficulty you have meeting monthly debt payments, it may be time for you to consider seeking debt relief. While there are many forms of debt relief available to individuals, the most effective option for long-term, permanent debt relief is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a system that has long been put into place by the government to protect debtors from destitution, provide fair treatment to creditors, and promote a healthy economy overall. If you are considering bankruptcy, Behm Law Group Ltd. attorneys can help you file a strong case for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN.

 

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most frequently filed types individual consumers. While Chapter 7 provides liquidation of non-exempt assets in exchange for debt discharge, it’s not a chapter that most wage-earning debtors can qualify for because their incomes are often too high.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, offers a way to restructure your debts into a manageable repayment plan lasting three to five years. Although Chapter 13 is a common bankruptcy format, there are still many frequently asked questions we receive including:

 

  1. How much of my debt will I have to repay?
    1. You will have to pay all of your secured debts (i.e., mortgages and auto loans) that you want to retain in full, but the payment arrangements may be under different and under more friendly terms.
    2. You will have to pay priority debt (i.e., child support and tax debt) in full.
    3. You will most likely have all or much of your unsecured debt (i.e., credit card debt and medical bills) discharged after your chapter 13 plan is concluded. The amount you will pay depends on how much your monthly income exceeds your monthly reasonable and necessary living expenses and how much you would be able to repay creditors with the value of your non-exempt, liquidated assets in hypothetical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
  2. How long will my plan last?
    1. Your plan will last three years if your income is below the state median income of a similar household size.
    2. Your plan will last five years if your income is above the state median income of a similar household size.
  3. Will I have any income for personal use?
    1. The remainder of your income after you meet payment requirements for your secured and priority debts will be split into two types, disposable and discretionary.
    2. Your disposable income will go to your household needs, including income tax, utilities, food, and gas.
    3. Your discretionary income is yours to spend as you see fit.
  4. What happens if my income changes?
    1. Fluctuations in income and expense obligations are taken into account throughout the duration of your repayment plan. Three to five years is a long time, and your trustee will understand if changes occur.
    2. If you do have a job change or other significant life event that might affect your plan, notify your attorney and the trustee right away so your monthly plan payment can be altered accordingly.

 

Filing for bankruptcy is a complex process without the assistance of a trained professional no matter what chapter you file. Contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com for help getting started with Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pipestone, MN, today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If your low income is preventing you from meeting financial obligations like debts and bills, you might benefit from looking into the process of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is available to individuals who have come into difficult times, whether that means unemployment, sudden medical costs, long-term accumulation of debt, or any combination of circumstances. Unlike other types of debt relief, bankruptcy is a formal legal process with permanent results. This means you will be protected by things like the automatic stay, a trustee, and other provisions of the bankruptcy code. With the additional guidance of a Behm Law Group Ltd. attorney, you can file a strong case for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Luverne, MN.

 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation type of bankruptcy. It’s the most commonly filed U.S. chapter for individuals and corporations alike. For those who haven’t filed before, there are often many frequently asked questions (FAQs), including:

 

  1. How does it work?
    1. Chapter 7 bankruptcy works to liquidate your non-exempt property and repay creditors with the value gained from the sale of non-exempt property.  Most cases, however, are “no asset” cases where no assets are liquidated by the chapter 7 trustee and all of one’s assets are protected by one’s available bankruptcy exemptions.
    2. In exchange for this liquidation of non-exempt assets, your debts are discharged and you are permanently released from having to repay them.
  2. Will I get to keep my house?
    1. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates non-exempt properties, the bankruptcy code and Minnesota state law provide an allotment of exemptions you can claim to protect assets from sale.
    2. This includes the homestead exemption that protects the equity or value you have in your home and other exemptions that can be used to protect the equity or value you have in your car, additional real estate, personal items, or other properties.
  3. How will it affect my credit?
    1. While bankruptcy can be extremely beneficial for permanent, long-term debt relief, it will have a negative effect on your credit score.
    2. Your credit score will improve over time – indeed, it starts to improve the day after you file for bankruptcy relief – and a bankruptcy notation will generally be removed from your credit profile seven to ten years post-filing, although it is sometimes removed much earlier.
  4. How long does it take?
    1. Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are generally closed in about three to six months depending on the case circumstances.
  5. How do I qualify?
    1. Individuals who pass the Means Test are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
    2. The Means Test measures income-to-debt ratios against the state median income. If your income is lower than the Minnesota median income of a similar filer with a similar household size, you can qualify for Chapter 7.
  6. Which debts will be discharged?
    1. Your unsecured debts, including credit card debt and medical bills, will be discharged.
    2. Your secured debts that are tied to properties that are liquidated or surrendered will be discharged.
    3. Your secured debts related to property that you cannot exempt because there is no equity or value, since the amount of debt you may owe exceeds or is equal to the value of the property, will not be discharged if you choose to voluntarily reaffirm (reassume personal liability)  the related debts.
    4. Your priority debts, including most tax debts, child support, and criminal fines, will not be discharged.
    5. Student loans can be discharged but the process can be very expensive and protracted.  A person must actually sue the student loan lender in bankruptcy court, prove undue hardship , as that term is defined and interpreted under 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(8), and ask the bankruptcy court to discharge the student loan debt.

 

If you want to learn more about how the bankruptcy process will work and how it will affect your life, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com for information about Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Luverne, MN.

What Happens to Timeshares When One Owner Files for Bankruptcy

No matter what type of bankruptcy chapter you file for, all your properties will be examined in addition to your debts and income sources. This includes any real estate you own, such as your regular homestead, business real estate, and vacation homes like timeshares. When it comes to the unique system of owning a timeshare property, it can be difficult to predict what might happen to that property if you file for bankruptcy. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can work through any type of individual bankruptcy in Windom, MN, and file a strong case that will provide long-term debt relief.

 

The two common types of individual consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, treat properties very differently. Chapter 7 liquidates non-exempt assets like non-homestead real estate with some opportunities to assert exemption claims to some properties. This liquidation of non-exempt assets is done in exchange for the discharge of the related debts. Chapter 13, on the other hand, reorganizes debts into a repayment plan that provides for the payment of any debts secured by a property on adjusted loan terms.

 

In filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can sometimes use the Wildcard Exemption to protect your timeshare from the liquidation process. If you use this exemption for other properties instead, your bankruptcy trustee will sell your timeshare and return the value of that sale to your timeshare lender. However, if your timeshare value is equal to or less than the debt you owe, your trustee won’t bother selling the property, and you can maintain possession of it if you continue making payments on the related debt.

 

In filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your timeshare will most likely be included in your repayment plan as a secured debt to be repaid under adjusted loan terms or surrendered. You will have to prove that your income will allow the amount of the debt to be included in your plan without compromising your disposable and discretionary income. If you can’t prove that your income will allow your timeshare to be included in your plan, you will have to surrender it in exchange for the discharge of that debt.

 

In the event that your bank forecloses on your timeshare before you file for bankruptcy, you can still resolve any remaining debts related to that property. This includes debts from maintenance fees or debt from the deficiency between what you owe and the proceeds of the foreclosure. A timeshare can also be surrendered voluntarily for liquidation in any type of bankruptcy if you do not wish to keep it. If you do surrender your timeshare, you won’t be liable for maintenance fees or any other debts related to the property in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case.  However, such timeshare related debts are not generally subject to discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding.

 

If you have a timeshare that you want to keep or surrender in your bankruptcy case, Behm Law Group can help you work through the process of claiming exemptions, organizing a repayment plan, and any other actions that need to be taken depending on the type of bankruptcy you file. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Windom, MN, contact us at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Using Bankruptcy for Debt Relief as a Senior Citizen

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, you’re not alone. People of all ages and financial circumstances file bankruptcy cases of varying types with results that provide long-term debt relief.

At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we’ve worked with clients in many different situations, from young couples to divorcees and even senior citizens. There are many reasons why filing for bankruptcy as a senior citizen is a positive step forward. If you’re unsure about using bankruptcy for debt relief in Waseca, MN and the greater Mankato area, Behm attorneys can help you determine what type, why, and how you can file.

There are two types of bankruptcy available to the majority of individual consumers: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 works to liquidate (sell) your non-exempt assets (properties) in exchange for debt discharge (debt relief). Chapter 13, on the other hand, works to reorganize your debts into a manageable repayment plan lasting three to five years. This repayment plan is tailored to your income and other financial circumstances, including your obligations to repay debts not included in bankruptcy.

For many senior citizens, Chapter 7 is a more effective, beneficial type of bankruptcy. This is largely due to the income and types of debts senior citizens are likely to have.

Income: Because most seniors are living with income from retirement accounts, pensions, and government support, the average income of U.S. senior citizens is much lower than that of younger, still employed filers. To be eligible for Chapter 7, filers must pass the Means Test. In other words, their income has to be lower than the state median of a similar household. Not only are most seniors eligible for Chapter 7, they also don’t have the income to support a long-term repayment plan through Chapter 13.

Debt: Chapter 7 discharges unsecured debts and debts that are tied to properties in full. Many senior citizens have medical debts due to the minimal coverage of Medicare programs or a lack of work-provided health insurance. Credit card debt is another common debt that senior citizens hold, along with most Americans of all ages. Both credit card and medical debt are discharged completely in Chapter 7. Additionally, most seniors have paid off debts on their properties in years prior, which means they won’t have to worry about their non-exempt properties being liquidated in the Chapter 7 process.

While some seniors can effectively file a Chapter 13 case, most will find more relief through Chapter 7. If you’re considering filing for any type of bankruptcy, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com for more information about debt relief in Waseca, MN.

How Filing for Bankruptcy Will Affect Embezzlement Judgments

Bankruptcy is a highly effective debt relief option available to individual consumers and businesses alike. It’s a system that is designed to protect the economy on varying scales from the oversaturation of debtors unable to continue making regular payments. It’s also designed to protect debtors from destitution while maintaining fair treatment for any creditors involved. If you are considering choosing bankruptcy as a long-term debt relief option, it’s important to understand how difficult it could be to file without professional experience, knowledge, and guidance. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd, you can work through the nuances and complexities of filing for bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN, and build a strong, successful case.

While bankruptcy is an efficient tool for debt relief, it doesn’t necessarily wipe out all debts. Unsecured debts like credit card debt or medical bills are almost always discharged, but other debts like some taxes or priority obligations like child support are largely exempt from discharge in bankruptcy. Like those debts, not all legal debts like lawsuit judgments, fines, or other debts are always discharged in a bankruptcy.

Embezzlement judgments, for example, may or may not be discharged in your bankruptcy. If you have committed embezzlement fraud and have gone through the legal processing of that crime, you will most likely have a criminal fine or restitution on your record. Criminal fines or restitution fall into the category of priority (non-dischargeable) debt and they will not be discharged in your bankruptcy. However, you may be able to have that debt discharged if it is only classified as a civil judgement.

Civil judgments are claims against you that fall into the category of debts owed for “fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement, or larceny.” If your debt for embezzlement is a civil judgment rather than a criminal fine or restitution, the creditor you owe that debt to must request that the court declare it non-dischargeable. To do this, they must take action early on in your case, specifically, within 60 days of the date set for the 341 meeting of creditors.

To request this, a creditor will have to file an adversary proceeding (i.e., lawsuit) with the court. In this proceeding, the creditor must prove that your embezzlement actions were fraudulent, that you were not authorized by the company or by the law to take the money or property, and that the property taken was held in trust for another party (i.e., the company or person embezzled from). If a creditor files a successful adversary proceeding, your civil judgment debt will not be discharged in bankruptcy.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Fairmont, MN, and want to learn more about how different debts will be affected, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.

Newlyweds Using Joint Bankruptcy to Find Debt Relief in Mankato, MN

When people find themselves in a relationship with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with and they decide to take the next step into marriage, not much will stop them from tying the knot. Even something such as financial circumstances, which can be considered relatively trivial in the grand scheme of life, will be unlikely to prevent a marriage if a couple is truly determined. This means that many couples enter a marriage with substantial debt, low incomes, or otherwise less-than-stable finances. If you and your spouse are finding it difficult to pay your debts, bankruptcy might be the next step to finding long-term financial improvement. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you and your spouse can file a successful joint bankruptcy case and receive effective debt relief in Mankato, MN.

Individual consumer bankruptcy chapters, including Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 13 reorganization type bankruptcies, can also be filed jointly by a married couple. Joint filings allow the combination of both your and your spouse’s debts into one case, requiring only one each of the pre-bankruptcy requirements, including the meeting of creditors, Means Test, credit counseling, and more. In addition to the consolidation of two of each pre-bankruptcy requirements into one, the bankruptcy fees are the same for individuals as for joint-filing spouses. This cuts in half the amount you and your spouse would pay if you each filed for an individual case.

If you choose to file a joint bankruptcy, all your financial information will be combined into a report that essentially represents as a single filer. Your assets (properties) and liabilities (debts) will be combined, and both of your incomes will be taken into consideration. For most joint filers, we recommend considering Chapter 13 more seriously than attempting to file for Chapter 7 for two reasons: eligibility and exemptions.

With a higher income from your combined jobs, accounts, or any other sources, you may not qualify for Chapter 7 because you may not pass the Means Test. The Means Test assesses your income-to-debt ratio. To be eligible for Chapter 7, your income-to-debt ratio must be lower than the state median of a similar household. Additionally, you can only claim the same exemptions of an individual filer. This means you may not be able to protect some of your property from liquidation in Chapter 7 because your debts are higher, your assets are more valuable, but your exemptions are not adjusted accordingly.

Filing for joint Chapter 13, however, means you save money in bankruptcy fees and attorney costs, save time on pre-bankruptcy requirements, have an easier time meeting repayment plan requirements with both of your incomes, and can pay off your plan more quickly than you would as two individuals.

To learn more about joint bankruptcy and debt relief in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or via email at stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.