In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor must pass a means test. This is a test that involves a specific formula that varies from state to state in order to determine whether the debtor has the financial means to pay creditors in a Chapter 13 repayment plan or if a Chapter 7 liquidation will be the individual's only option. The means test is determined by a variety of elements that are reviewed by our Chicago bankruptcy attorney.
The first step of the means test begins by a comparing your income to the median income in Illinois for a similarly sized family. If you do not pass the first step, you may still be able to qualify for a Chapter 7 case depending on the particular situation. While the income level comparison step might seem relatively simple, there is a second step to the process.
The second step is slightly more complicated and involves a breakdown of your expenses in order to calculate your available disposable income. There are particular costs that are considered allowable expenses by the IRS that can be subtracted from a person's income in order to determine this amount.
While the particular amount of allowed disposable income can vary depending on where the individual lives, a general guideline maintains that if that disposable income is less than $6,000, the individual can most likely be in the clear to continue with a Chapter 7. This can vary and is not guaranteed, so it is still important for you to discuss you particular situation with a qualified lawyer.
Determining whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the means test can be complicated, and if handled improperly, you could lose your chance to file under Chapter 7 altogether. Chicago bankruptcy attorney Joseph P. Doyle and his team members are experienced with these types of situations and can address your case in order to ensure that you are properly represented.