If you're tired of getting non-stop calls from creditors or are worried your bank accounts may get levied, it may be time to consider filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy discharges most of your unsecured debt and is more common than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Of course, you will want to talk to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer first to understand if this is the right choice for you and get guidance on how to approach the process. Continue reading to learn more.
Qualification for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
To qualify for this type of bankruptcy, you must first pass a bankruptcy means test. This test examines your financial records, including expenses, income, and secured and unsecured debt in order to assess if your disposable income is below your state's median income.
Again, you need to complete a course in credit counseling with approved credit counselors and another one in financial education to learn how to best manage your finances. Under new Chapter 7 bankruptcy laws, if you're not approved for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to wait for eight years before filing again.
What Debts Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge?
Generally, you can discharge various types of debts with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including credit card debts, personal loans, medical bills, income tax debt, and uninsured car accident judgments, among several others. If you have any of these debts, it's important to talk to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer to understand the effects of filing for bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, some forms of debt cannot be eliminated by this bankruptcy type. These include tax liens, child support, court fees and penalties, alimony, and personal injury debts resulting from accidents in which you were intoxicated.
How Long Will It Take for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to be Discharged?
Typically, it takes about 90 days from the day you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to the discharge. After 21 to 40 days from the day of the petition, you will be required to attend a hearing by a United States Trustee. About 60 days after the hearing, a Notice of Discharge of Hearing will be sent to you.
If you're handling a bankruptcy case for the first time, chances are you don't know what to expect from the hearing. Hence, talk to your bankruptcy attorney for legal advice and representation if need be.
Will You Lose Everything After Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You may be wary of losing all your possessions after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But you can relax. Most Chapter 7 filings are classified as "no asset cases" by trustees. This means nothing you own is enough to be sold to pay off the creditors. Hence, you will still be able to retain many of your possessions.