When Is The Right Time To File Bankruptcy?

The short answer is that most people wait too long to file bankruptcy. The right time to file is before you have thrown thousands of dollars away on large debt. The right time to file bankruptcy is before you have eaten through your retirement funds to make good on mounting credit card debt. A consultation with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney can often put all your fears about bankruptcy to rest, and help you decide if the time to file is right now.

Foreclosure And The Right Time To File Bankruptcy

There are a few matters which can force your hand in a bankruptcy filing. If you are facing a foreclosure and you want to use bankruptcy to save your home, you will need to file bankruptcy within 10 days after the foreclosure sale date. Additionally, you can only use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to save a home from foreclosure. As a result, the right time to file bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure sale is any time before the 10th day after the foreclosure sale. Then, your Chapter 13 plan will schedule the mortgage arrearages to be paid over a 60-month period. In many cases, we are able to file an Emergency Bankruptcy for clients as this deadline approaches.

Retirement Funds And The Right Time To File Bankruptcy

All retirement income is exempt in bankruptcy under 11 USC Sec. 522. This protection includes 401k, IRA, and most pension plans. This means that regardless of when you choose to file bankruptcy, whatever funds you have in a qualified retirement account will be exempt or protected from creditors.

Because of this “super exemption” on retirement funds, it does not make sense to withdraw your exempt retirement funds to pay creditors. Additionally, as soon as you take funds from an exempt retirement account those funds are no longer exempt assets. This means $10,000 in a 401k is exempt while the same $10,000 once withdrawn and placed in your checking account is no longer exempt by 11 USC Sec. 522. Potentially, these funds will need to be turned over to the bankruptcy court if they are in your possession at the time of your bankruptcy filing.

Income And The Right Time To File Bankruptcy

When attempting to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, you must meet the income requirements. The bankruptcy court looks at your most recent six months of income in determining whether you qualify. This is done through what is known as The Means Test. Your bankruptcy attorney will apply the rules of bankruptcy to determine if you pass The Means Test.

The Means Test starts with a calculation of Current Monthly Income (CMI). Your CMI is your average monthly income from all sources, for the six months prior to filing. The bankruptcy definition of income differs from the definition of income used by the IRS. If you receive a cash gift from a family member, it will be included in your income calculations. As a result, your bankruptcy attorney may advise you to wait to file, if you have income from the past six months in excess of the allowable amount. The good news is that by waiting a few months to file, your six-month average income will change. For example, if you received a bonus at work for $10,000 in February, it would be included in your income calculations if you file in March, April, May, June, July, or August. However, if you wait to file until September, your February income is no longer relevant.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney Today

If you would like to have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney, you can call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a consultation. Consultations can be done over the phone or in person, and they are free. The goal is to help you understand your options, and answer any questions you may have about the process.