Is there a way to know if a judge will accept a Bankruptcy Chapter 7? 18 Answers as of April 21, 2015

I am in the process of looking to file a bankruptcy. I realize I will need an attorney to represent me, but is there a rule of thumb as to whether I will even qualify for a chapter 7 vs. a chapter 13?

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 The rule is based on your household income, the number of people in your household and the state you live in. As an example in Ohio, a middle cost state two people in a household can make roughly $45,000 and still file Chapter 7. The rule is not fixed in stone, if your household income is over the rule but you can show that there are solid reasons for you to file a Chapter 7, you can ask the judge for permission.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/21/2015
Charles Schneider, P.C.
Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
Yes the rule of thumb is to arrive at the office with an initial free consultation as there are consequences by filing a bankruptcy that cannot be otherwise addressed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/20/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
While no one can give you an absolute guarantee, an experienced BK lawyer can give you a pretty good indication (I'm assuming you are worried about being forced into a Chapter 13 BK). Any lawyer worth his or her weight in salt will charge your for the meeting. Don't skimp here! Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/20/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Generally you qualify for a chapter 7 discharge if you meet the means test. There are debt limits, which is you exceed them you cannot file for chapter 13. The debts limits are approximately $1,000,000.00 in secured debts and $300,000.00 in unsecured debts.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/17/2015
R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
Yes, the rule of thumb is called the Means Test. In its simplest form if your (and your spouse, if married) income is less than the median income for a family of your size in your county you pass the Means Test and qualify for Chapter 7. If your income is above the median you might still qualify but it gets more complicated. Even if you qualify for Chapter 7 that might not be the best option for you. Talk to your attorney about whether you qualify and which chapter is best.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/17/2015
    EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
    There is a means test which takes your gross income, before deductions, for the last 6 months then multiplies by 2 to arrive at the annual figure. If this figure is greater than the medium income for your household size in your area you cannot do a Chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    If you are going to hire an attorney, the attorney will assess your situation and identify if there are any issues with filing any particular chapter or the timing of the filing, which sometimes can play a big role. If you want to put in time researching you'll want to look at the "Means Test" as I believe this most closely answers the question you are asking. Keep in mind that there are other important reasons why a chapter 13 might be more suitable for your situation, without knowing the situation: types/amounts of debts, income, assets, expenses I can't say more. This is what typically is reviewed in a consultation. While there is no specific income that qualifies or disqualifies you for chapter 7 if the income is above the Median Income Level for the size of your household you must pass a Means Test to get a discharge in chapter 7 unless there are extraordinary circumstances under which you would still qualify. http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/bapcpa/meanstesting.htm There are also NOLO books available at either your local county library or the local law library and probably every court in every district has a lot of information available online. Completing the Means Test correctly is part art, part math. That is because there are some arguments that can be made to sway the numbers and create exceptions to rules. Any attorney who files cases regularly will have invested in special (not cheap) software to help them run the test and they may even have created their own excel worksheets on top of that. If you are an above the median income individual or have assets: home, land, investments, business, etc. filing bankruptcy without an attorney is very dangerous. If you don't have these things it's still not without risks and will be time consuming and probably quite stressful process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    If you household income is at or below the median for your size household in your state then you will be eligible to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. If your income is above the median then it may still be possible, but a detailed analysis is necessary in order to know the answer. Look for an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to guide you through the process. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    That is what the lawyer does. There are many rules that determine whether or not it is a 7 or a 13. You may find a lawyer at nacba. com. See the attachment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    Generally if your income is low enough and if you don't have substantial unexempt assets.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Yes, it is called the Means Test. You need to speak with a local bankruptcy attorney who should advise you on your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Yes, a bankruptcy practitioner, knowing the facts and circumstances, should be able to make a firm prediction.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    Yes, the rule of thumb as to whether you will qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy is called the good faith test. Take the amount you have left in your budget after just paying for necessary living expenses. Multiply that amount by 60, representing 5 years of paying in a Chapter 13 case. If the amount is less than 1/4th of your debts, then you probably won?t be able to qualify for chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    Yes you need to speak to an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy to see if you can qualify.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    There really is no rule of thumb and it would be dangerous to file based solely on something such as whether your income is above or below the means test. Each person's bankruptcy case depends on their individual facts and circumstances such as their assets, the dollar amount of debts and to who they are owed, and their income to determine if they have the ability or should file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. What is very important is finding a good attorney with a lot of experience in filing both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases who does mostly, if not solely bankruptcy cases. They will have enough experience to know which is the best for you and know what needs to be done to get your debts discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    If the question is whether you may file under Chapter 7, there is a first step 'rule of thumb' which is simple, and a further complex set of calculations which take a bit more effort. First, if your household income is below the median for your size household in your state for the past year, you can file a chapter 7 without objection. The approximate median income for a household of 1 is $43,200; for a household of 2, about $58,500, and more for larger households. If your income is above the applicable median, then you must complete a 'means test,' which applies certain allowances set in some instances by the IRS, and in others by executive agencies in your state. The allowances are not unreasonable, and a good many people with incomes not much above the median can still qualify for ch. 7 Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Thomas Vogele & Associates, APC | Thomas A. Vogele
    There are specific rules regarding who must file a Chapter 13 versus a Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 case, a debtor is allowed to retain property but it requires a debtor to use their post-petition discretionary income to pay their creditors, while a Chapter 7 allows a debtor to receive a discharge of all debts in exchange for relinquishing control over their property. If your debts are primarily consumer debts and you have a regular income, you most likely will have to file under Chapter 13, but you can't know for sure until and unless you consult a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Most will meet with you to discuss your options at no cost so I would contact the local bar association for a referral and then speak with one or two candidates. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Scott Goldstein | Scott Goldstein
    There is a means test, but it will depend on where you reside. You are best off speaking with an attorney who can run the numbers for you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/17/2015
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