Considering filing bankruptcy? Things to know…

If you are considering filing bankruptcy there is some general information that you should consider and make yourself aware of:

  • What is a bankruptcy
  • What types of bankruptcy are there
  • Eligibility for bankruptcy
  • Debts that are not discharged in bankruptcy

What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can do several things for someone who chooses to file bankruptcy. Individuals who cannot repay their debts may file one of 2 types of bankruptcy. The bankruptcy is where you are either asking the court to discharge or forgive some of your debts or are asking the bankruptcy court to approve a repayment plan.

What types of bankruptcy are there?
The two main types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is the simplest form of bankruptcy. It is sometimes referred to as the straight bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 the court discharges your debts after a trustee determines that it is proper in your case. Chapter 13 is where the debtor seeks approval from the court for a repayment plan that spans from 36-60 months. The filer must have a source of income in order to file a Chapter 13.

Eligibility for bankruptcy
Chapter 7: In order to file a Chapter 7 you must meet the requirements of the means test. This test prevents high income earners from taking advantage of the bankruptcy system. The means test looks at the filers household income for the 6 months prior to filing and compare it to the similarly sized Missouri households. If the income shows you have income leftover such that you can afford to pay your debt back, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7.

Chapter 13: If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you may qualify for a Chapter 13. However, there are caps to the amount of debt that you can have in a Chapter 13. The debt limit periodically changes. If you exceed the limits you cannot file a Chapter 13. However, if you do not exceed the debt limits then you may be able to file a Chapter 13. The monthly payment amount can vary greatly based on income, types of debts that you are keeping, taxes, student loans, etc.

Debts not dischargeable
There are certain debts that you cannot get rid of even in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These debts include child support, alimony, student loans, criminal fines and recently incurred income taxes and property taxes.