Requirements For Filing A Chapter 7
Video Transcribed: Oklahoma Attorney Edward Kelley with 888-deadline answering your bankruptcy questions. We’re going to start a brand new series and these are five absolute things you need to know before filing bankruptcy, in particular before filing chapter 7.
Let’s start off with number one. As an overview, these are things that you will run into trouble if you don’t know before you file. These are things that you need to consider before you file and these are things that will be very important as you go through the process.
Let’s start off at the beginning with the beginning, the requirements for filing a chapter 7. As you’re pondering the decision, first thing before you sweat out whether you want to do it, find out whether you can. There are income requirements based on your household size. So the first thing you do is figure out how many live in my house.
Now a family is a family, you’re pretty much going to count everyone and you’re going to count all the income brought in by those family members. So be aware that if you are filing and your wife is not, or you are filing and your husband is not, you’re still going to have to include their income and they will have to provide it. They won’t be part of the bankruptcy but their income is included in the total. The cutoffs for a chapter 7, meaning the maximum amount of income you can make per household, are based on IRS standards, which change generally yearly to adjust for the economy.
Currently for a single person it’s in the low 30s and you can figure about 7-10,000 added on for each family member per year. And that increases, there are set levels for up to four and then a set amount that’s added on for each family member above four. Now, of course, if you rent, that’s a different story. Even though you may live, cohabitate, with roommates if you pay them rent, or even your parents, if you legitimately pay them a rent, you may have a separate household, thus not needing their income.
You need to know exactly what the IRS standards are for your household size before you can figure out if you can even file. You can find that on the web. Just look up IRS standards means test chapter 7 bankruptcy. Google, something like that and you should be able to find a table that’ll tell you by your state. It varies state to state what the cutoff for chapter 7 is based on your household size.
Requirements For Filing A Chapter 7
Of course the other big one, have you done a bankruptcy before? There are some new laws in 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act, George W, and that overhauled the system to some extent. You cannot do a chapter 7. That instituted the higher means test numbers and by means test, I’m referring to the cutoffs that I just discussed in detail.
You can only file a chapter 7 every eight years. You can only receive a discharge every eight years, is actually more accurate. So if you filed one and dismissed, that’s one thing, but if you filed one, got a discharge, you’re going to have to wait eight years from the date of filing that case that received a discharge to file another one.
Those two things will tell you whether you can do it. Those are your threshold issues. And in the next video we’re going to talk about what loans can actually be discharged, because that’s certainly something that you’re going to want to consider as you decide whether to do a chapter 7.
So see you then. Again, as always, you can reach me directly at one eight eight deadline if you have further questions or are considering filing bankruptcy. You can also email me at Edward@wirthlawoffice.com.