Tag Archive for: Means Test

Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

If you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy again, you will need to know whether you received a discharge in your prior bankruptcy filing. Most of the rules regarding whether you can file bankruptcy again depend upon whether you received a discharge. If you’d like to speak with someone to get an answer, simply call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a free phone consultation.

If You Filed A Prior Chapter 7

If your prior bankruptcy was a Chapter 7, and you received a discharge, you must wait 8 years from the date you filed your previous case. After the 8 year mark, you can file Chapter 7 again in North Carolina.

If your prior bankruptcy was a Chapter 7 and you would like to file Chapter 13, you will need to wait 4 years after the filing of the Chapter 7.

If your did not receive a discharge in your prior bankruptcy filing, simply call us and we will pull your prior bankruptcy filing from the online database. We will be able to tell you when you are eligible to file bankruptcy again. If your prior case was discharged With Prejudice, then you usually only have to wait 180 days to file again. Your bankruptcy attorney may need to file a motion to put the Automatic Stay in effect for your new bankruptcy filing. This is an important step that needs to be taken if you’ve recently filed a bankruptcy which was dismissed.

If You Filed A Prior Chapter 13

If you received a discharge in your prior Chapter 13, you must wait at least 2 years after the date the first case was filed, if you want to file another Chapter 13. If you would like to file Chapter 7 after a successful Chapter 13, you must wait six years to file bankruptcy again. You will need to pass The Means Test in Chapter 7, and we will assist with that.

If you did not receive a discharge in the Chapter 13, and the court has not placed any restrictions on re-filing, then you can file a Chapter 7 immediately after the Chapter 13 is dismissed.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you are considering filing bankruptcy again, it’s important that you speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Bankruptcy Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.

Should I File Bankruptcy?

We know this is a common question: “Should I file bankruptcy?” We know the idea of filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be daunting. The decision may bring up feelings of guilt or fear or even shame. Our very strong advice is to ignore those things and focus on you and your family. Bankruptcy is an extremely powerful form of relief that can dramatically change your life for the better.

Myths Surrounding Filing Bankruptcy

There are a few myths surrounding filing bankruptcy. It’s worth it to make sure you know the facts. Here are a few things that keep people from filing, when they deserve the relief of bankruptcy:

Nobody Else Files – This just isn’t true. In fact, statistics show us how many people have filed for bankruptcy between 2006 and 2017. All types of individuals file for bankruptcy, including lawyers, doctors, and politicians. Like you, they are often a victim of bad circumstances. Bankruptcy represents a solution.

Everyone Will Know I File – This is not true. While the filing is technically public knowledge, it is a federal filing. We get calls from lawyers every week asking us to use our login to access a bankruptcy filing. This should tell you that it’s not that easy to find a list of people who have filed for bankruptcy. Your neighbors won’t know.

My Employer Will Know – Generally, your employer is not made aware that you filed for bankruptcy. If you have a job that requires you to be bonded for handling large sums of money, we make sure to discuss that with you; otherwise, we have yet to have a client report back to us that they have had problems with their employer. If you are ever in a position to discuss your bankruptcy, your response is an easy one: I did the best thing for myself and my family, and things are much better now.

My Credit Will Be Ruined If I File Bankruptcy – Not true. For most individuals, your credit will drop about 75 points when you file. About a year after filing, your credit score will be back to what it was right before you filed. From there, it should only go up. We provide all of our clients with guidance regarding credit score repair as well.

I Won’t Be Able To Buy A Car – Not true. Within the first year after filing bankruptcy, you will receive offers for vehicle financing. Should I file bankruptcy if I could never buy a car again? Probably not. But you’ll find that’s just not true.

I’ll Never Have A Credit Card Again—Not true. You’ll receive plenty of credit card offers from the same banks whose debt went away in bankruptcy. Another reason why you shouldn’t lose sleep over banks not getting paid if you file bankruptcy.

Overcoming Feelings Of Guilt

We know guilt is a real feeling. If you listen to any motivational speakers, they would acknowledge guilt as an obstacle between you and your goal of financial freedom. Many motivational speakers tell you that in order to overcome an obstacle, you should focus on what happens if you DON’T take action. The fear of that will usually be enough of an incentive to help you overcome the obstacle. During conversations with our clients, we focus on the client, their family, and the future. If bankruptcy is going to provide the refresh necessary to kick start a great future, we encourage the clients to ignore the guilt.

Speak With A Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy, it helps to speak with someone. That’s why we’re here. Call us today at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out shortly. The future is bright—bankruptcy could be a crucial step to making it a reality.

Filing Bankruptcy While Married

If you’re considering filing bankruptcy while married, you’re not alone. Thousands of married couples are in your situation, and the bankruptcy filing statistics are easily found online, showing you that you’re not alone. The good news is one spouse can file bankruptcy without affecting the credit of the non-filing spouse. This article contains an examination of a few scenarios where you may want to file bankruptcy while married—even if your spouse isn’t filing with you.

One Spouse’s Debt Can Cause Anxiety In A Relationship

If one spouse brings debt to marriage, despite best intentions, the other spouse may feel resentful of the pre-marriage debt. At the very least, as a couple, you deserve a ‘fresh start’ together and that includes being free of debt you did not decide to incur together.

Computing The Means Test In Bankruptcy

If you’re filing bankruptcy while married, you will need to disclose the income of both spouses. This is done for the purpose of passing The Means Test in bankruptcy. The reason is that the federal bankruptcy code uses household income as the starting point for determining whether you qualify for bankruptcy. If you live with your spouse, you’ll need to count their income. The good news is most couples still qualify even when counting the income of their spouse.

Lastly, there is an option to take a Marital Deduction on The Means Test. This option allows you to more accurately show the court the amount of the household income which is being used by the non-filing spouse. Ultimately, this deduction reduces your income for The Means Test. The deduction is easy to calculate and your bankruptcy attorney will walk you through it.

Protecting Your Spouse’s Credit In Bankruptcy

Your spouse’s credit will not suffer due to your bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy will not show on their credit report, nor will it come up when applying for credit of any kind. When one spouse files for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy only affects the debts of the spouse who is filing. In other words, the marriage does not change the effect of bankruptcy from a credit standpoint.

Protecting Your Spouse’s Assets In Bankruptcy

None of your spouse’s own assets will be affected by your bankruptcy. If you have joint assets such as a house or a jointly owned vehicle, those assets can typically be protected in bankruptcy. The good news is only half of their value is counted for your bankruptcy filing when married. Lastly, if your spouse has a 401k or savings account in their name only, those assets are not part of the bankruptcy filing.

Joint Debt In Bankruptcy

If you have joint debt with your spouse, you may want to consider filing together. However, it is still perfectly fine to file without your spouse. One thing to consider is the obligation on a joint debt. Most marital debt obligations are “joint and several” liability. This means that both spouses are obligated for the full balance of the debt. If one spouse file bankruptcy, that spouse will no longer be responsible for the debt; however, the non-filing spouse will still be responsible for the entire balance of the joint debt. If the non-filing spouse decides to file at a later date, that would of course eliminate their obligation on the debt.

Your non-filing spouse may choose to attempt Debt Settlement instead of filing bankruptcy. This is a common way to successfully address a small amount of joint debt or debt that belongs only to the non-filing spouse.

Vehicles In Bankruptcy When My Spouse Isn’t Filing

The only vehicles which must be disclosed as assets are those vehicles that are titled in the name of the individual who is filing. If you transferred title to a vehicle from one spouse to another within four years of filing bankruptcy, that transfer should be disclosed in your bankruptcy filing. The transfer most likely will not negatively affect your bankruptcy filing, but disclosing it is in alignment with the court’s requirements for full disclosure of all transfers to family members and “insiders” (family and friends) within a four-year period preceding your bankruptcy filing.

Further Reading

You can read hundreds of articles like this one on our Bankruptcy Blog.

Speak With A Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you’d like to set up a free consultation about filing bankruptcy while married, you can call us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to you. We know you have choices, and we hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Social Security Benefits And The Means Test In Chapter 7

If your income is low enough, you will automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, many clients have income slightly above the median income level, and must pass The Means Test in order to qualify for Chapter 7. This is not uncommon. The Means Test is simply a comparison of your income to your debts—some actual, and some allowances by the bankruptcy code.

Fortunately, The Means Test focuses on your most recent six months of income. This allows you to take advantage of some timing, if you have inconsistent income or unusual income which will not continue into the future. Your bankruptcy attorney will discuss this in more detail with you.

Types Of Income Included In The Means Test

The safe assumption is that every dollar hitting your accounts each month will be considered income for the purpose of The Means Test. This includes spousal support, support from family members, W-2 income, 1099 income, retirement income, and 401k early withdrawals.

Types Of Income NOT Included In The Means Test

While Veterans’ benefits DO count as income for The Means Test, Social Security benefits DO NOT. This means you may pass The Means Test if a large part of your income each month is Social Security benefits.

Current Monthly Income

Current Monthly Income is different from The Means Test calculation. Once you pass The Means Test, you still have to complete a budget reflective of your current income for the month. This is different from your income from the past six months. Additionally, you get to compare your actual expenses to your actual income for the month, where The Means Test does not always allow you to take your actual expenses. Even though your Social Security benefits will be counted in your Current Monthly Income, if you passed The Means Test, you should have nothing to worry about when it comes to Current Monthly Income calculations.

Further Reading

Want to learn more? Read one of over 100 articles on our Bankruptcy Blog Articles.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

The easiest way to get a better idea of whether you qualify for Chapter 7 is to speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney today. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION. After a brief discussion with an attorney, we can usually give you a good idea as to whether you will qualify for Chapter 7. We can also help confirm if a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is the best choice for you.

The purpose of this article is to discuss filing a Charlotte Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our firm is located in SouthPark in Charlotte, NC and we serve the Charlotte Division of the Western District of North Carolina.

The Need

You’ve probably tried debt settlement, negotiating with creditors, and finally, you’ve threatened bankruptcy. Unfortunately, not much works with big banks. Most clients we work with have really put a lot of pressure on themselves to pay off debts and just can’t get ahead. Finally, they truly consider bankruptcy.

How We Can Help

As a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, I get to experience the satisfaction of helping people to truly get a fresh start. It is probably the most rewarding aspect of the job. Our team is ready to assess your financial situation and help determine if you will qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Charlotte, North Carolina.

First of all, we will have you submit some basic information so that we can understand a little more about your assets and income. After reviewing and discussing that information with you, we can tell you if we think you will be a good candidate for bankruptcy. Another thing we discuss is your financial dealings over the recent past—transfers, payments to creditors, new debt, etc. Finally, with your full financial picture completed, we can prepare a bankruptcy petition for you to see if you pass the Means Test in bankruptcy.

The filing of the bankruptcy petition triggers the automatic stay in bankruptcy under 11 U.S. Code section 362. It prevents your creditors from contacting you for the purpose of attempting to collect a debt. The automatic stay is in effect during the duration of your bankruptcy.

Most Chapter 7 filings only require one short court appearance which we attend with you. Furthermore, the appearance is with the bankruptcy Trustee—he or she will ask questions about the petition we submitted. In contrast to what most clients believe, creditors rarely attend these meetings.

Lastly, you’ll receive your discharge in bankruptcy. This means your allowable debts incurred prior to filing bankruptcy are no longer your burden.

Next Steps

If you’d like to speak with an attorney about a financial situation or get a fee for a bankruptcy, please call 704.749.7747. You can also fill out a simple form HERE to request a phone consultation. Consultations are free and we’re here to help. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Chapter 7 — Qualifying For Bankruptcy in CharlotteOne of the myths around qualifying for bankruptcy is that if you make more than a certain amount of income you cannot file. The truth is whether you qualify for bankruptcy is typically determined by examining both your income and your debts and expenses, as a whole.

If you make less than the median income in your state, you will automatically qualify for bankruptcy. The median income is determined by state, and one relevant factor is the size of your household—a word which has a unique definition in bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney can tell you what the median income is in your state, specifically for your household size.

Even if your income exceeds the median income for your household size, you may still pass the Means Test. The Means Test recognizes that just because you have income doesn’t mean you can afford to pay your bills. It essentially compares your income to your expenses and allows deductions for some standard expenses like the operation of a vehicle, or health insurance. Additionally, it allows you to deduct some expenses specific to your situation. Those may be expenses related to caring for an elderly relative, or for your own special needs or circumstances. In this sense, qualifying for bankruptcy becomes an analysis of your own unique situation.

Even if you make more than the median income and fail the Means Test, you may still choose to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Chapter 13 bankruptcy in this instance recognizes you may have some ability to pay back your bills but not the ability to pay what creditors are asking. It operates to force creditors to accept a reasonable schedule for repayment of your debt and in most cases you pay less than 10% of your total unsecured (credit cards, medical, etc) debt, in exchange for a discharge of the remainder of that debt.

If you have questions about qualifying for Chapter 7, the Means Test, or any other bankruptcy related questions, please call 704.749.7747 to get your questions answered. We’re here to help.