Simply put, the Means Test determines whether a person or married couple are eligible to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy or whether they must file chapter 13 instead. Chapter 7 is the quicker and simpler of the two, and preferable for most folks. The Means Test uses a formula to determine, based upon personal income or two incomes in a joint case where both spouses are employed, if the debtor(s) have sufficient disposable income to repay a portion of their unsecured debts. Under the means test formula, if it is
The final decree at the conclusion of a chapter 7 bankruptcy case is a Court Order entitled: DISCHARGE OF DEBTOR(S). It is signed by a bankruptcy judge and states the debtor(s) are hereby granted a Discharge of all dischargeable debts. It prohibits any further collection activity on discharged debts and outlines the penalties any creditor is subject to for a collection effort. Each creditor listed in a bankruptcy receives a copy of the Discharge.
Once the Discharge comes through, being about four months after filing the case, my clients are no
In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, there is a single occasion when my client, or clients in a joint (married) case, will meet with the Trustee for a brief pow-wow. This meeting is required and must be in person, with very limited exceptions. It takes place not in a courtroom, but in a simple conference room, at a table, where we sit across from the Trustee and he or she “examines” each debtor with very basic questions.
The Trustee will ask: Did you review your schedules before you signed them? Is
Unless something is amiss or it is an unusually complex case, the only person we will have any contact and dealings with in a bankruptcy filing is the Bankruptcy Trustee.
The United States Bankruptcy Trustee Program is actually a unit of the federal government’s U.S. Department of Justice, often referred to as the “DOJ”. The particular trustee assigned to administer your case is formally denoted as the Interim Trustee, but as stated above, unless something unusual occurs there is no need for a higher-up DOJ Trustee to be involved. The Interim
This is a good question that I get a lot. I wish to be very clear: There is no law that says because you filed a bankruptcy you cannot again obtain credit. Now or in the future. Indeed, it has been said that for some folks whose credit is already in the crapper (charge offs, judgments, etc.), the filing of a bankruptcy will actually, immediately boost your low credit score because 1.) instead of $20,000 or whatever the number is in debt on your credit score, now as a result
If I File Bankruptcy, Can I Keep Some Of My Property? Answer: Yes. Probably All Of Your Property, As Will Be Exempt!
When you file a bankruptcy case, you create what is referred to as your bankruptcy “estate”. The estate consists of two parts: One part is property (your belongings such cars, household goods, furniture, clothes; literally everything you own) that you claim as exempt under bankruptcy law. This means you are allowed to keep these items of property, as they are exempted from, or not part of, the estate. The other part of the estate consists of non-exempt property, which is property that must be turned over to the bankruptcy trustee
Creditors are divided into two types: Secured and unsecured. Each is treated differently in a bankruptcy case. Every creditor, secured or unsecured, is notified by the bankruptcy clerk by mail of the case being filed with a “Notice of Commencement”, outlining their various rights and advising that Relief Has Been Ordered and that the Automatic Stay is in effect, which prohibits them from contacting the debtor in any fashion.
As an experienced Ft. Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney dealing with these matters daily, I offer the following summary.
Secured creditors (Schedule D in a
In a 1934 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote: “Bankruptcy gives the honest but unfortunate debtor … a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt”.
For as long as there have been people, there have been creditors and debtors, and debtors who have been unable to pay their creditors. But throughout history there has been very little in the way of organized bankruptcy proceedings to relieve overburdened debtors from being forced to repay debts, or I’ve even heard