How much debt do I need to file a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy? 34 Answers as of January 12, 2012

I have about $17,000.00 in student loans and about $9,000.00 in other debt. I don't own a home or place of my own and my new job pays a gross of $20,000.00 yearly.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
There is no minimum debt to file Bankruptcy. It depends upon your specific circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/12/2012
J.M. Cook, P.A. | J.M. Cook
There isn't a minimum amount of debt to file bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 1/10/2012
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
There is no minimum amount of debt that needs to be owed to qualify for bankruptcy. However, if the debts are relatively small you may want to consider alternatives such as making payment arrangements with your creditors. Generally speaking student loans must be paid in spite of bankruptcy. There is a narrow exception in the student loans create an undue hardship. The latter is determined by the bankruptcy judge after filing a lawsuit, called an adversary proceeding, to determine dischargeability of the student loan.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2012
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
A bankruptcy will take care of the $9,000.00 but ti will do nothing for your student loans. You need to pay them, at least the amount of interest that will keep the debt from growing. Consider looking up the "Ford Program" on the Internet. That might help you lower the payments.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2012
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Based only on the amounts of debt you could file either chapter 7 or 13.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 1/8/2012
    Bruning & Associates, PC
    Bruning & Associates, PC | Kevin Bruning
    There is no minimum amount of debt that one must have before filing bankruptcy. However, student loans are generally not dischargeable. The credit card debt can be discharged in a chapter 7. Your prospects for a chapter 13 depend on your total financial picture.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You may qualify for either or both depending on other information we don't have. Neither will eliminate the student loans, but both affect those loans. You should make your decision after consultation with experienced counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C.
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C. | Ken Parker
    There is no minimum debt limit that you need to file for bankruptcy but it makes sense that you would weigh the amount of debt you have verses the cost of the bankruptcy. In general, you cannot discharge student loans without showing extreme hardship, which is difficult to do. If you have $9,000 in other debt, this debt may be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 and it would allow you to concentrate any extra funds toward your student loans.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    There is no strict debt threshold for filing chapter 7. Chapter 13 has MAXIMUM debt limits. Student loans are generally nondischargeable (there are very rare exceptions). For more good stuff, Google my name and "who can file chapter 7 [or 13] bankruptcy?" This answer (by San Diego bankruptcy attorney, Asaph Abrams) doesn't address all facts & implications of the question; it's general info, not legal advice to be relied upon. It creates no attorney-client relationship; it may be pertinent to CA and/or its Southern District Bankruptcy Court only, and it's independent of other answers. Hire legal counsel before acting or refraining from bankruptcy/legal action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone
    The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone | Katie M. Stone
    With the limited information provided it seems like a chapter 7 would be the best; however, keep in mind that neither a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 will discharge your legal obligation to pay on the $17,000.00 student loan debt you have. You would still be required to pay this back after the bankruptcy as student loans are considered non-dischargeable debt. You may want to explore all of your options other than bankruptcy such as a repayment plan with your creditors or a settlement agreement. Although 9K is a substantial amount of debt with your income, bankruptcy might not be the best solution for you. I suggest that you speak with an attorney about your situation in more detail to make sure that bankruptcy is right for you. Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You cannot include student loans in a bankruptcy. Generally, you want to have about $5000 of debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law
    Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law | Phil Boardman
    There is not a threshold amount of debt that you must have. You really have to determine for yourself if filing is the route to go. A rule of thumb that I offer in situations such as yours is whether you can take care of the debt in the next 2-3 years. If you can not, then bankruptcy may be a good option for you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    Enough so you cannot comfortably continue
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law | Paul Stuber
    To qualify to file a bankruptcy you need only owe more than your assets are worth or be unable to pay your bills as they come due. For some a few thousand is more than they would be able to pay and if you had a high paying job you might be able to handle a large debt.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/7/2012
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    Student loans are not dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    Your student loans will not be dischargeable in any chapter of bankruptcy. You should consult with a debt relief attorney to determine your options for restructuring your debt into something manageable.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    There is no minimum or maximum for a chapter 7. I recommend a cost-benefit analysis. A Ch 7 cost between $1500-2000 usually. If you are about to be garnished or have a repo, file. If you can't pay off your unsecured debt in 2 years, file.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Tony M. May Attorney At Law
    Tony M. May Attorney At Law | Tony M. May PC
    The answer to your question is there is no set amount of debt needed to file for bankruptcy. The question that needs to be asked is whether you are able to make all of your monthly payment obligations with your current salary, and then consider whether bankruptcy will provide you adequate relief from your debts. These facts must then be weighed against the problems you will have for a couple years after the bankruptcy in obtaining credit, if needed. This is why I suggest that you meet with a bankruptcy attorney so that your options can be evaluated. Most bankruptcy attorneys provide an initial free consultation. Based on the information provided, it appears that bankruptcy could provide you with some relief from your debt. However, you need to understand that your student loans are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Thus, you will only be discharging the $9,000.00 of other debt. If you feel this will give you sufficient relief to allow you to move on with your life, you should look into filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Law Offices of Michael B. Fisher | Michael Fisher
    There is no minimum debt level that a debtor needs in order to file a voluntary Chapter 7 or 13 case. When deciding if bankruptcy is appropriate for you, keep in mind that your student loan debt is considered non-dischargeable and you would have the burden of establishing "extreme hardship" in an effort to discharge such debt. It is a very high burden to meet so consider the bankruptcy an effort to discharge the remaining unsecured debt and decide if you think it is worthwhile.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Law offices of John P. Brooke | John Brooke
    You should be able to file a chapter 7 and discharge credit card debt. Student loans are not dischargeable. There is no set limit to how much debt you need but generally I would recommend not filing for under $10,000. You should try to chip away and pay it off if your credit is still good.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Law Office of William C. Wood, LLC | William C. Wood
    There is no specific minimum amount of debt needed to file for bankruptcy. What you have listed would qualify. However, student loan debt cannot be discharged except under extraordinary circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    The Law Offices of Deborah Ann Stencel | Deborah A. Stencel
    There is no minimum amount of debt required to file a Chapter 7. As a general rule, if your dischargeable debt is less than it would cost you to file, don't file. Next, if the amount of your debt is an amount you could reasonably pay off in the foreseeable future, don't file. $9,000.00 is impossible for some people and doable for other others. Your $17,000 in student loan debt won't be eliminated by bankruptcy so consider the amount you need to pay this off in a reasonable time when calculating whether you can handle your $9,000 in credit card debt or not. At $20,000 per year, you may have trouble paying your credit cards and if it gets to the point that you are facing a garnishment of your wages, a Chapter 7 may be something for you to consider.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    Sounds like chapter 7 would be right for you unless your car's value and value of other personal properties exceed the allowed exemption amount (all together $6k in your case). Student loans are NOT dischargeable in 99.99% of cases.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Mazyar Hedayat and Associates
    Mazyar Hedayat and Associates | Mazyar Malek Hedayat
    The only debt limits pertinent to bankruptcy are the limits affecting a Chapter reorganization. For instance, you can have owe amount of debt and still file Chapter 7. If you have up to $1,000,000 in secured debts and up to $330,000 in unsecured debt, you can seek to file a Chapter 13 reorganization. Any more than that and you must seek an individual Chapter 11, which is much more expensive and complex than a Chapter 13.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    There is no minimum debt per se, just as long as you have more debt than you can pay off. Unfortunately, you will not be able to discharge your student loans (most likely) but the other debt you describe sounds like it can be discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    There is no minimum debt amount, but the student loans are NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy. A chapter 7 will discharge the credit card debt though.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Selleck Legal, PLLC
    Selleck Legal, PLLC | Stacey Selleck
    I believe you would be a candidate for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy which would eliminate all of your credit card debt. However, you will likely remain responsible for your student loans.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Law Office of Andrew Harris
    Law Office of Andrew Harris | Andrew Harris
    There is no minimum debt needed in order to qualify for a bankruptcy, and your income qualifies you to file a Chapter 7 or 13. Do know that student loans are almost never discharged in a bankruptcy. Bankruptcy may or may not be the best option for you. I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney in your area who does free consultations, such as I do in Central Oregon.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    Student loans are not dischargeable in ch. 7. In ch. 13 you pay everything back.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    This is a question only you can answer. Keep in mind that your student loan debt is probably not dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You can file for any debt amount you feel you will not be able to pay. Student loans are not dischargeable in bankrutpcy unless you proof you will never be able to pay it because of permanent disability or other special circumstances and you have tried every available deferment and waiver application available and then you have to file a special lawsuit in bankrutpcy called an adversary proceeding to prove all that and hope for the best. Therefore, you wil only be able to discharge probably the $9,000 in other debt assuming that is credit card debt or other dischargeable debts. Whether that is enough for you depends on whether you feel you can ever pay that. With your income it is unlikely you will be able to pay that much debt. Unless your income is likely to increase substantially in the foreseeable future, bankruptcy seems like a good option although the amount of dischargeable debt you have is not very large. You must also consider the cost of the bankrutpcy case in deciding whether bankruptcy is the best option for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Sanders Law, P.A. | Andre Keith Sanders
    There is no set amount you need to file. You just want to consider filing if you're unable to repay these debts. However, you almost surely will not be able to discharge the student loans, only defer them for now.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    There is no minimum amount of debt needed to file for bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 1/6/2012
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney