If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you should consider one of the most popular options, which is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be a good option for someone who has a lot of credit card and medical debt, does not own much property, is frequently receiving collection calls and letters, and their income is not enough to pay off all bills.
Not just anyone can file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. To see if you qualify, you may need to pass a “means” test. A means test takes into consideration a person’s finances including income, expenses, and size of household. The purpose of the means test is to determine whether someone makes too much income to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Before filing, you will need to gather all documentation for your income, debts, property and expenses. You will also need the tax returns from the last two years.
After you’ve gathered all of your paperwork, you will need to file a petition in the Texas Bankruptcy Court. Once you file, the bankruptcy court controls your property. A trustee is appointed to oversee your case and review your paperwork. The trustee will also hold a meeting of creditors. The purpose of the meeting is to have you answer questions under oath regarding your petition and finances. You’ll also be required to provide two forms of identification. It’s important to be truthful about all of the information you provide. One of the requirements is also to take an approved credit counseling course. The certificate will also need to be filed.
It’s a good idea to hire an experienced lawyer, like an Arlington, TX bankruptcy lawyer, to assist you with filing for bankruptcy. An attorney will guide you through the process and will make sure there are no errors along the way. Their job will be to make sure that everything gets filed on time. The entire process takes about three to six months. There are both advantages and disadvantages to filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Before filing, you should consider some of the following:
- It will stop all collection attempts. This means no more harassing calls or letters from collectors.
- You will essentially walk away debt-free and will get a fresh start.
- Your credit will greatly suffer. A bankruptcy will stay on your credit for up to 10 years making it difficult to get approved for a mortgage loan.
- Student loans and unpaid child support is non-dischargeable.
Deciding to file for bankruptcy is a serious decision. It will significantly affect your life. Before deciding on bankruptcy, research other alternatives such as debt consolidation or credit counseling. Having a consultation with an attorney and learning more about the process will help you make that important decision on whether filing is best option for you.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.