Can I file for chapter 7 bankruptcy as a school teacher? How? 12 Answers as of August 27, 2015

I am a school teacher. After 25 years, I have a salary of 72,000 and debt of 43,000. Can I file Chapter 7? I had to get a masters degree to keep my job and that helped put me in debt even further. I am also a tenant in common of an undervalued condo with an unmarried friend. Would my bankruptcy affect her half of the property or her credit rating?

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GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Meet with a lawyer face to face to get your answers. I ask about 30 to 40 questions before I can begin to give legal advice. You may flunk the median income test, and therefore have to do a Chapter 13. This will not affect your friend.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/24/2015
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
You are over the threshold income so your attorney will have to check your income and expenses through the means test to see if you qualify for chapter 7.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/23/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
School teachers are certainly eligible for Chapter 7 as long as they meet the income ceiling. Since teachers have high earnings, most would be ineligible based on their annual earnings but the test for Chapter 7 is the last six months. So, you can show a reduced income by choosing when to file, if you're paid during the school year and not year round. Because you're income is -0- for some summer months, your six month income will probably qualify when school resumes in the fall.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/23/2015
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Nothing to worry about with under water real property. Trustee can not sell it. It looks like you income is too high for a ch7, most likely you will have to file a chapter 13. The payment can be much less than what they want now and the compound interest stops so a ch13 is not horrible. Student loan debt is not discharged in either chapter without an "adversary" proceeding. You may find a lawyer at NACBA.org. Your roommate is safe. It will not affect him/her.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/23/2015
Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
You're earning $72K a year, but that is gross. The real question is how much are you bringing home, and how much is going back out for living expenses, such as food, shelter, utilities, gasoline, car payments, etc. Also, are you married, do you have kids, etc. Those are all important questions. The bankruptcy shouldn't affect your friend, as you're the one filing BK, not her, and this is assuming what you say is correct, that you owe more than the property is worth.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/23/2015
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    You may or may not be eligible to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Without knowing much more information it is impossible to know. The answer will depend upon the size of your household and what your "reasonable and necessary" expenses are for your household. If your income is above the median for your size household in your state, then you have to "pass" the "means test" in order to file a chapter 7 case. You could, however, file a chapter 13 case even if you are ineligible for chapter 7 relief. The best advice for you is to arrange for an initial consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to assist you in determining what will be best. Many bankruptcy lawyers offer such initial consultations at no cost.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/22/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    No profession is precluded from filing bankruptcy. Whether your income makes you ineligible to file bankruptcy is a question that you can answer by preparing a budget. If you have more than $180 left over after just paying necessary living expenses, you may not be eligible under what is called the good faith test, meaning that you could pay up to one forth of your debts off over a 60 month period if you tried. When you have a joint loan, the person also owing the loan needs to understand that payments will no longer be reported to the credit bureaus. So to the extent your friend relies on these payments for her credit rating, your bankruptcy can affect her credit score.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/22/2015
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    Whether you qualify for chapter 7 depends on a number of factors which cannot be answered based on the facts you provided. Your income is one factor and it sounds high, but it would also depend on how many dependents you have and what your basic living expenses are. As for the condo you share with an unmarried friend, if it is "under water" and not just "undervalued" then it would not be at risk, because there would be no equity if the mortgage exceeds the market value. The bankruptcy trustee would only be interested in property in which your equity is greater than zero. Your bankruptcy should not affect your friend's credit rating at all, unless the trustee could sell your share for enough that s/he would be motivated to foreclose on the condo. This sounds like a very unlikely scenario.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/22/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    First things first: consult an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. It's almost always worth it. That said, with your income you probably would have to file under Ch. 13 if you wanted the benefits of bankruptcy. The answer can only be finally determined by filling in and evaluating the Means Test which Congress introduced about ten years ago. The only sure thing one can say in advance of doing that is that if your income is below the median for a household of your size in your State, you can file Ch. 7. Otherwise you have to get the bottom line from the Means Test. In Wisconsin the median income for a household of 1 is about $44,000.00. If your arrangement were treated as a household of 2 (listing your roommate's contribution to expenses as income), the median is about $59,000. As to your roommate's credit, it should not be affected by your bankruptcy HOWEVER, the credit reporting bureaux are not very good at discerning what's really happened behind the information they receive, and they have been known to make mistakes like attributing your bankruptcy to her. So perhaps 2 months after you file you should each check your credit report (which is available for free online) and notify the credit reporting people of any erros. I hope this answers your question. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/22/2015
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    You can file a BK. You may qualify for a 7, but are over the median income. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/22/2015
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    There is no discrimination against teachers in the bankruptcy code. Your eligibility may be impacted by your salary not your profession. Whether the condo can be kept depends on its value. Your unmarried friend should not be impacted.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    That salary would not qualify under the Means Test absent other information. Keep in mind that student loan debt is not dischargeable anyway.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2015
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