With the current bankruptcy laws, there are guidelines and criteria that help dictate who is allowed to file and stay in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do not meet these guidelines and wish to continue in bankruptcy, you may have the option to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In order to determine whether or not you can file a Chapter 7, an experienced attorney can help you complete the “means test” – a formula designed to determine if your income, minus certain allowed expenses, is higher than the median income for your state. While this new requirement places some limits on who can file, most people who would have qualified under the old law will still qualify under the changes introduced in 2005.
In addition to the “means test”, there are other restrictions on who can file. Some restrictions that could prevent you from filing a Chapter 7 include:
- Previous Chapter 7 Discharge in the last 8 years
- Previous Bankruptcy Dismissed within the past 180 days for failing to follow a court order, abusing the bankruptcy system, or voluntarily dismissing a case after a creditor requested relief from the automatic stay
Even if you can't file a Chapter 7, you may still be able to file a Chapter 13 and enjoy the protections afforded by the bankruptcy laws.