How would I know which to file, chapter 13 or 7? 22 Answers as of April 22, 2013

I recently lost my job and it came to a situation where I owe credit card companies more than $10,000, a cell phone company and student loans in the amount of around $43,000. Being aware that student loans are not dischargable under bankruptcy and after my full research on the internet, I would like to file chapter 7, but not sure if I qualify or not. The information I read online confused me a lot. At this moment, I have no income at all. If I win the case against my employer I might receive pre-tax $328 a week, as unemployment benefit, but till then I'm honestly relying on living with friends.

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Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law
Philip R. Boardman, Attorney at Law | Phil Boardman
It sounds like you should file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, you should schedule a free consultation to really get the best answer.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 4/22/2013
Ray Fisher Law Offices
Ray Fisher Law Offices | Ray Fisher
First of all, if you are trying to find out what to do by doing your own online research, the odds of getting the right information are somewhere between zero and none. this is why you go and consult with a bankruptcy lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/18/2013
SmithMarco, P.C.
SmithMarco, P.C. | Larry P. Smith
If you have no assets to protect, like a home, then Ch. 7 is your best bet.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 4/17/2013
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
One should always hire a lawyer to file bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 4/17/2013
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
You are eligible to file chapter 7 if you haven't filed bankruptcy in the past eight years.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/17/2013
    Law Offices of Bill N. Jacob
    Law Offices of Bill N. Jacob | Bill N. Jacob
    Sounds like chapter 7 is appropriate since you are not seeking to cure a mortgage default, and have mo income at present, however you should discuss your situation in detail with an attorney before filing bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/17/2013
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
    Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
    To decide which whether or not bankruptcy is right for you, and to decide which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you, it is always best to consult with a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law like me. I offer free consultations to all people that are considering filing bankruptcy. Based on the limited facts that you provide in your question, it sounds like Chapter 7 or not filing at all are your 2 best options. Chapter 13 requires that you have sufficient regular income to be able to pay all of your ongoing expenses and still have something left over to pay your creditors. Chapter 13 is for regular wage earners. You are unemployed and say that at this moment you have no income at all. The reason that I say that you may want to consider not filing bankruptcy at all is that the amount of the debt that you will be able to discharge (wipe out), $10,000.00, is relatively small. This is typically the minimum amount of debt that I would file bankruptcy for, with a more typical amount being $40,000.00. My typical bankruptcy client owes as much in unsecured, dischargeable debt as he or she makes in a year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2013
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    Chapter 13 requires regular payments so if you currently have no income this is not feasible for you at this time. I urge you to get a consultation with an attorney. Consultations are typically free. They can tell you not only whether you qualify for bankruptcy but whether filing at this time is appropriate given your pending lawsuit against former employer and any other facts that may not have been disclosed here. Often it is not just the question of whether to file and which chapter but the timing of your filing can make a big difference as to what you can achieve. They can also give you some guidance on how to deal with your student loans.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2013
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    Definitely Chapter 7. But at this point you may be judgment proof (meaning that even if they sue you obtain a judgment, there is nothing they can take or garnish anyway). You may want to wait until your financial situation has stabilized before filing bankruptcy to make all debts are included.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 4/17/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Since you have no income, you will most likely qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The question though is, do you need to file for bankruptcy right now?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    The Law Office of M Grater LLC
    The Law Office of M Grater LLC | Mark O. Grater
    It sounds like you would qualify for a Chapter 7 since you pass the means test and since your monthly income is less then your monthly expenses. The only issue I can see is the value of your law suit for unemployment benefits and whether or not you can exempt your past due benefits.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    In order to qualify to file Chapter 13, you need to show that you have a steady income that will allow you to make payments on your debts. In order to file Chapter 7, you must show that you can pass the Means test. The Means test is based on an average of what you have earned during the previous 6 months, with the 6 month period ending on the last day of the previous month. So start by looking at all your income from October 1 - March 31 and all your allowable deductions. If you don't pass that test now, perhaps you will pass in a few months. Hope this perspective helps!
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    It sounds like you would qualify no problem for chapter 7 with no income, or even if you were making $328/week, you would still qualify.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    Bankruptcy is a very complicated process. There are many factors that go into choosing between 7 and 13. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Seems difficult for me to imagine how you're going to qualify and maintain a Chapter 13, which is a repayment plan, whole or partial. The point is you have NO surplus income with which to fund it, so how can you even pay back a part of it. Moreover, not sure why that would be preferable anyway. You'll qualify for a Chapter 7, you'll discharge that debt which is dischargeable, and there you have it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Moffa & Bonacquisti, P.A.
    Moffa & Bonacquisti, P.A. | John A. Moffa
    My advice would be NOT to file a bankruptcy case now.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Bruning & Associates, PC
    Bruning & Associates, PC | Kevin Bruning
    It's impossible to determine whether or not you would qualify for a Chapter 7 based on the information you have provided. A reputable attorney, such as the attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. in Crystal Lake, Illinois, will offer you a no-pressure, no-cost consultation to help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC | A. J. Mitchell
    Strongly recommend that you schedule a 30 minute consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. Such a move would be most beneficial for you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Weber & Phillips, P.A.
    Weber & Phillips, P.A. | John G. Phillips
    Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free or low cost initial consultations. You should contact a few in your area and find one you feel comfortable with. They can best advise you what you should or shouldn't do.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Sounds like you may qualify for a 7 but the real question is if you really want to play the trump card given the non- dischargeability of the student loans. Invest some money in a bankruptcy attorney. It should provide a very great return.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    You have a somewhat complicated situation, and your best bet is to consult a skilled bankruptcy lawyer. That being said, you should download and calculate the Means Test for Chapter 7 (One of the Forms 22). Problem: that document requires you to calculate your income based on each of the past six months. You should instead calculate your anticipated income as of now and the immediate future, and put a clear footnote to the anticipated income, explaining that you recently lost your job.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    There are several factors that need to be considered, including any assets you have. Most bankruptcy attorneys should offer a free consultation, and can do a means test analysis for you, and also discuss other factors to see what your options are. I would suggest doing that to ensure all bases are covered.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/16/2013
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