Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for debtors seeking to completely discharge their debts.
Chapter 7 is also known as "liquidation bankruptcy" and effectively
gets rid of, rather than reorganizing, the petitioner's debts. Due
to the nature of Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, there are strict qualification
standards. To find out if you meet those standards, you will have to take the
The means test is a way of evaluating your debts against your income and
property. The means test for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is called "Form
22A" which you can find on the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts website or
by contacting our firm directly.
If you wish to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, how you file will also factor
into whether you qualify. For example, you can file as:
- Married – but not filing jointly
- Married – filing jointly
If you are married, whether you are filing jointly or not, you will have
to list both you and your spouse's income on the means test. The income
you list must include not only your regular salary, but other sources
of income such as an inheritance, royalties, and pension. Unemployment
benefits are also factored into the means test, even though unemployment
is not permanent.
The next major section of the means test involves calculating deductions
under IRS standards, such as basic needs deductions (food and clothing),
healthcare, housing, and other day-to-day expenses.
The means test requires a certain level of math on the part of the filer,
which can be confusing. There are many variables in calculating your income
and debts. While you do not have to have an attorney represent you when
filing for Chapter 7, we strongly suggest that you do.
The Chapter 7 lawyers at San Diego Legal Pros can help you at any point
during the bankruptcy process, but we suggest retaining an attorney before
you take the means test. We can walk you through the means test to ensure
that all the fields are filled out correctly, which gives you a better
chance of qualifying. Call us today at
888-875-9190 for a free evaluation of your case.