Who Can File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the most popular option, as it discharges most of your debts. However, there are several requirements you must meet to be able to file for this option.

The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at The Law Offices of George Castrataro, P.A., have helped hundreds of people file for bankruptcy. We can help you determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get you started with the process.

To know if you are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is more helpful to understand when you would be ineligible. Here are five questions to ask yourself to find out if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

1. How high is your income?

Your income is one of the main factors that determines if you can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or not. If you earn equal to or less than Florida's median income, you are eligible to file. So, it is essential to calculate your monthly income or your average income over six months.

If your income is higher than the median income, you still have options. You have to pass the means test, which measures how much disposable income you earn.

2. How much of your income is disposable?

The means test subtracts necessary payments from your income, including:

  • Living expenses
  • Mortgage costs
  • Debt payments

You will not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have enough disposable income left over to pay some of your unsecured debts.

3. Have you received a previous discharge?

You can file bankruptcy and receive discharges as many times as you need. However, there is a time limit between your last discharge and when you can file again. You have to wait eight years between filing Chapter 7 cases. If you do not, you will not qualify to file again.

4. Was your bankruptcy case dismissed within the last 180 days?

Just as there are time limits between bankruptcy discharges, the law also includes time limits to when you can file again if a previous case was dismissed. Your case could be dismissed if:

  • You violated a court order, such as spousal support.
  • Your filing was fraudulent.
  • You requested a dismissal.

5. Did You Attempt To Defraud Creditors Or The Bankruptcy Process?

Receiving harassing calls from creditors can be extremely stressful. And many people fear losing their assets to these creditors or even during the bankruptcy process.

However, trying to cheat creditors or the bankruptcy process can cause serious problems. Someone could face severe penalties from the bankruptcy court if they:

  • Hide assets with a relative or friend
  • Increase debts by purchasing luxury items
  • Hide money or assets during a divorce
  • Lie about debts or income on a credit card application or the means test

Defrauding creditors or the bankruptcy court could lead to criminal charges of fraud, and automatically make you ineligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Can You File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Discuss Your Situation With A Lawyer.

Contact us at The Law Offices of George Castrataro, P.A., to find out if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or if another type of bankruptcy would be better for your situation. Call our Fort Lauderdale office at 954-573-2003 or email us to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout southern Florida.