How do I know what chapter of bankruptcy to file? 30 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I have been researching online about which chapter of bankruptcy to file, but I am still worried that I might pick the wrong one. How do I know if I am filing the right chapter? I am collecting unemployment checks and child support, but that is it as far as income. It's not enough to cover my expenses. What can I do?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Everyone situation is different, generally you want to file a Ch 7 if you qualify because it is done with in 90 days. However, Ch 13 has some advantages that Ch 7 does not provide for. You need to contact a local attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
You can't file a Chapter 13 unless you have at least some extra funds to pay into a monthly plan for at least 36 months. Yo do not sound as if you have any assets that would be lost in a Chapter 7. So go see an experienced bankruptcy attorney and get some piece of mind and rest from the collectors. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/18/2011
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
I always advise people considering bankruptcy to get a free consultation with an experienced, intelligent bankruptcy attorney. If the attorney is a Certified Specialist in bankruptcy law (like me), that is better. Based on the limited facts that you provided to me in your question, a Chapter 7 sounds like the logical bankruptcy Chapter for you, assuming that your debts are great enough to make it worth your while to file bankruptcy, and assuming that your income, which consists entirely of unemployment benefits and child support, is low enough for you to pass the means test. You will also want to check to be sure that all of your assets are exempt.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/18/2011
Lehn Law, PA
Lehn Law, PA | Joseph W. Lehn
There are many factors, in addition to income, in determining what Chapter bankruptcy to file such as, past transactions, assets, your intention and status as to secured debt, etc. It is for these reasons that it is advisable to see an experienced attorney before filing bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/17/2011
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
The best thing to do is have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in your area. They are the only ones qualified to assess your options and advise you. Most likely chapter 7 is what you'd file, but without knowing what assets you have, and the exact amount of income and expenses, as well as other factors, there's no way I can say for sure.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2011
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law | Paul Stuber
    In order to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you have to have income to cover your regular bills and some for repayment of the ones prior to filing the bankruptcy. Most likely, from what you said, a Chapter 7 would be best, but there are more things to look at. You should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    High assets 13 low 7, court ultimately decides.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    There are 4 Chapters in Bankruptcy: First, Chapter 7 which allows for every debt incurred before you file to be forgiven, giving you a fresh start to begin again; Second, Chapter 11 which is for businesses; Third, Chapter 12 which is for family farmers and fishermen; lastly, Chapter 13 in which you can afford to pay something to your creditors, just not all that they are asking for. If you are not making enough money to cover your necessities like: rent/mortgage; electricity; car; heat; food; cable; etc., then you are not a candidate for Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is most likely the right one for you, however, you should seek the advice of a Bankruptcy Attorney to ensure that this is accurate based on all of your information.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Heupel Law
    Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
    You need to consult a bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is a federal law and an area of specialization for lawyers. Thus, you're not expected to know what chapter is appropriate and the Internet will only provide bad advice as each client's situation is unique.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Braunstein Law, PC
    Braunstein Law, PC | Jacob Braunstein
    You should consult with an attorney to help you determine which chapter is appropriate. Typically, if a debtor has little to no income or assets a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be appropriate. But again, this is something you should discuss with an attorney because there are various other factors that need to be considered.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    If you can't cover your living expenses, Chapter 13 will not work for you, so your only option is Chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Based on what you're saying, its highly unlikely you could or would want to be in anything other than a Chapter 7 liquidation. Everything else is a payment plan of some sort, and you wouldn't have the surplus income to make that viable. Nor would it appear should you want to. Without knowing more (which would help), this would seem to be a Chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    Its good that you are trying to educate yourself before you file. That said, there is a lot of information on the internet, some of it is accurate, none of it can substitute for an attorney's knowledge of how the system actually works. That said, it sounds like you have a low income. If that is the case you probably will qualify for a Chapter 7. Chapter 7 is cheaper, simpler and quicker than Chapter 13.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    The Salas Firm
    The Salas Firm | Ron Salas
    In order to get a complete answer you need to talk to an attorney and provide a lot more detail, but in general if you have minimal assets (less than $10,000 including car) and income of less than $50,000 then Chapter 7 is probably best for you, but there are many variables that could change the analysis.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    You need to seek legal counsel but it seems like a Chapter 7 is right for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    Talk to a bankruptcy attorney
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Unless you own substantial property that you cannot exempt in bankruptcy then it sounds like Chapter 7 is what you need. However, one of the vital legal services provided by a bankrutpcy attorney is learn as much as possible about what the client needs and to recommend the right Chapter for the client. You need a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure you are making the right decision. It is good that you are researching bankruptcy law and that will help you ask the right questions when you see the attorney. It will also evaluate the advice you will receive so that you choose the right lawyer for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    Unless you own a house that you are trying to save from foreclosure file a chapter seven. That is assuming you have significant unsecured debt to make a seven worth filing. Thanks for tuning in.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    The fact that you think you have a choice is evidence as to why you need a lawyer. Pro se cases almost always go badly. GET A LAWYER. You usually do not have a choice of chapters. The numbers that make one work usually make one fail. So the law makes the choice (usually) for you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If you are uncertain which chapter of bankruptcy to file you should consult a bankruptcy attorney. Many of these attorneys offer a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    No bankruptcy filing will fix a discrepancy between your income and your expenses, but receiving a discharge of outstanding debts will help.The decision of which type of bankruptcy to file requires more information than just your sources of income. The type of debts and assets you have will have a lot to do with the best type of bankruptcy to file. The best way to determine how to file is to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Ray Fisher Law Offices
    Ray Fisher Law Offices | Ray Fisher
    This is part of what you hire a lawyer for..to help you figure out the right kind of bankruptcy to file.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Lewis Adams and Associates
    Lewis Adams and Associates | Lewis P. Adams
    You may need the advice of an attorney to educate you on your particular circumstances in your particular jurisdiction. It is all based on a number of factors, income, family size, assets, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    Chapter 7 would most likely be the correct approach for you, unless you have a large amount of equity in your home or other non-exempt valuable asset. Visit your local state bar and ask about free legal services, they should be able to direct you to the right location,you can represent yourself, or find competent representation for your case.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Ryan Legal Services, Inc.
    Ryan Legal Services, Inc. | Kevin Ryan
    You should contact an attorney who handles primarily Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. It is not advisable to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case without legal counsel. The laws can be very complicated while appearing straight-forward to the untrained eye.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    In that case, ch. 13 probably won't work for you. Don't do this alone. Google NACBA to get a list of qualified lawyers in your area. It will truly save you money and stress.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC | Melinda Murphy Dionne
    You should schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is very complicated and there are many traps that can cause your case to get dismissed. You owe to yourself to at least talk to an attorney about what options exist for you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    File a chapter 7. You don't have enough income to file a 13 and why would you want to?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
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