Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
With so many people in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach having lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals will have no option other than to file for a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of case filed by individual consumers.
These are the numerous circumstances that may warrant this type of filing, including:
- If you have significant unsecured debt, such as credit card debt and medical bills and you have a lot of nonexempt assets;
- Creditors and debt collectors are harassing you;
- You own a business and you have personally guaranteed some of the business debt;
- You have garnishments, repossessions or lawsuits being threatened or pending against you;
- Your home is in foreclosure or a foreclosure action is being threatened;
- You have lost your job or had a significant reduction in your paycheck;
- Your divorce has left you with unmanageable debt;
- Your own investment property is underwater (the property’s worth less than the mortgages encumbering them); and/or,
- You are living paycheck to paycheck and are still unable to pay your bills; you’re always worried about money and ready to obtain relief from your debt.
During this coronavirus pandemic, we expect an avalanche of Chapter 7 cases to be filed. Typically, they are completed within 90 days, but that may not be the case based on the Court’s caseload. Most importantly in a Chapter 7, debtors are allowed to keep most, if not all, of their assets. It is essential to discuss this matter with our lawyers.
WHAT IS THE “MEANS TEST”?
The Bankruptcy Court uses a formula called the “Means Test” to determine whether you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 case. This test is designed to prevent individuals from abusing the bankruptcy system. The test combines your average income over the last 6 months prior to filing and subtracts certain IRS allowances for basic living expenses and some of your actual living expenses. The Means Test can be confusing. You also may be exempt from the Means Test for various legal reasons. Our extended team will guide you in determining if filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most prudent option for you.
WHAT DOES FILING A CHAPTER 7 ACCOMPLISH?
Most Chapter 7 cases follow a pretty straightforward process. When you successfully complete your case, the Bankruptcy Court grants you a discharge which eliminates your personal liability to pay the discharged debts. In most cases, this is tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars the debtor no longer has the responsibility to pay. Obtaining a second chance with your finances in a Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as a fresh start.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, no one should be in any way ashamed to speak to an attorney to discuss the appropriate strategy for getting through this crisis. After all, we are all in this together.
Oppenheim Law | Bankruptcy Attorneys
2500 Weston Rd #404
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33331