When determining whether an individual is eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the courts use what is known as a "means test." The means test was created to ensure that Chapter 7 filings were only used by those who truly could not pay their debts. By deducting specific monthly expenses from your actual monthly income, the test arrives at a monthly amount of disposable income. But if your current monthly income is less than the median for a household of your size, in your state, you automatically pass the means test, and can file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7. There are some individuals who don't have to pass the means test. If you are a disabled veteran, a person whose debts are primarily business debts, or you are one of a certain group of members of the armed forces or the National Guard, you do not have to pass the means test.
Generally speaking the means test (which is Form 22A) is necessary if more than fifty percent of your debts arise from consumer purchases. If you are an individual, if you are married and filing jointly with your spouse, if you are a sole proprietor of a business and have personal liability on some of its business debts, or if you are half of a business partnership with someone other than your spouse and have to file for bankruptcy because of the partnership's business debts that you have personal liability on, you can use Chapter 7. You must not have had a recent Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge within the past 8 years, or a Chapter 13 discharge within the past 6 years. The recent discharge rule starts measuring time from the date you filed those bankruptcies mentioned, not from the date of discharge.
You also must not have had a recent bankruptcy filing dismissed within the past 180 days for the reasons of violating a court order, making a fraudulent filing, abusing the bankruptcy system, or if you requested a dismissal because one of your creditors was requesting the automatic stay to be lifted. Another requirement to file any type of bankruptcy is that you must receive some credit counseling from a government approved credit counseling agency. This can be done before filing or no more than 180 days prior to a discharge. Contact the Bronson Law Offices, P.C. for immediate assistance and emergency bankruptcy filings.