It was much easier to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy prior to 2005 when a means test was imposed to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The means test imposes an income qualification standard to establish eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. The means test involves a two-part qualification standard. If an applicant’s average income over the last six months does not exceed the median income for those in Arizona, then a Maricopa County resident may file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If a person’s income exceeds the median income for the state, then a second level of inquiry must be applied. The issue becomes whether one’s income after paying living costs and secured creditors is high enough to permit some portion of repayment to unsecured creditors. A person who cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy under the means test must file a Chapter 13.
Determining eligibility to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy now requires a careful financial analysis. It is important that this analysis be done correctly so that you are able to determine the appropriate bankruptcy strategy to fit your particular situation. The experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys at Stone Rose Law can help you avoid having your bankruptcy inadvertently discharged because you file a Chapter 7 though you cannot satisfy the means test. Our Maricopa County attorneys can also help ensure that you do not bypass a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy based on the mistaken belief that you do not qualify. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically involves repaying a substantial amount of your unsecured debt so it is much more costly for you and your family.
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy applicant must participate in a program that has been approved for credit counseling. From the time a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is filed, the typical timeline for obtaining a bankruptcy discharge is usually less than five months. The process can take much longer where the person seeking bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 attempts to prepare and file their own bankruptcy. If your bankruptcy petitions contain mistakes, the Trustee may require that you amend your documents. There are more serious cases where inaccurate information can result in far more serious consequences including dismissal of your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Accurately completing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy packet is much more difficult than many people realize. Applicants are required to provide a substantial amount of detail regarding their assets, creditors and debts. The packet is very thick and quite daunting. Many times it is difficult to list all creditors accurately because multiple entities will transfer particular obligations. If you fail to list a particular financial obligation, you risk having your Chapter 7 discharge not be effective against that particular creditor.
After you have filed your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maricopa County, the Bankruptcy Trustee will send a notice informing you of the date that you are to appear at a 341 meeting of creditors. This is a fairly informal hearing and the only appearance typically required in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The purpose of the 341 meeting is to give the Trustee an opportunity to inquire about any potential issues with your bankruptcy paperwork. These hearing are usually fairly brief and uneventful if a qualified Maricopa County bankruptcy law firm has prepared your Chapter 7 documents. These hearings frequently go much less smoothly if a qualified Maricopa County bankruptcy lawyer has not prepared your paperwork.
If you have properly prepared your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy paperwork, successfully completed a consumer counseling course and appropriately answered the Trustee’s questions during your meeting of creditors, you will receive a bankruptcy discharge. The impact of this discharge is that the vast majority of your unsecured debts will no longer be enforceable against you. Effectively, you will emerge from your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy with a “fresh start.” While you may still owe on some types of unsecured debt that are not subject to discharge such as family court obligations like child support, spousal support and other specific types of debt, most unsecured financial obligations will no longer be enforceable. If you have concerns that you may owe certain types of unsecured debt that are not dischargeable, you should contact our qualified Maricopa County bankruptcy attorneys.
Our experienced Maricopa County bankruptcy lawyers have helped many clients throughout Maricopa County eliminate debilitating financial obligations. The pressure when one owes massive amounts of debt so that there is little hope of making the payments and protecting the financial stability and future of one’s family can be mind-numbing. Our experienced Maricopa County attorneys understand your worries and will work hard to help you navigate your way back from your financial abyss. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge can eliminate even massive amounts of unsecured debt so that you can afford important obligations including your home mortgage and car payment not to mention your basic monthly living costs.