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Can I File for Bankruptcy?

If you’re reading this, you’re likely contemplating filing for bankruptcy to relieve yourself of overwhelming debt and financial challenges. What you may not have contemplated, however, is “am I good fit to file bankruptcy?” Below, we will discuss what factors are involved in answering this question with respect to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between to the two most common types of bankruptcy filings: Chapter 7 & Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy that eliminates most, if not all, of your unsecured debt. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization bankruptcy utilized primarily for debtors who either have a surplus of income left over each month after expenses, are trying to maintain a significant asset (usually a home), have non-dischargeable debt (alimony, child support or certain taxes, for example) or simply earn too much income to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 debtor completes his or her bankruptcy after remitting a series of monthly payments over the course of 3 or 5 years. In contrast, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is typically over in approximately ninety (90) days without the debtor paying anything to unsecured creditors (outside of certain exceptions, like student loans).



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How do I know if I qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The crucial factor in determining this is whether or not the debtor meets the eligibility requirements under the Means Test.  The Means Test, which is based on your jurisdiction’s median income and your personal family size, is a determination of whether one qualifies for Chapter 7 assistance. Please see the list below to compare your income to the median income of New York State based on family size.    

Okay, it looks like qualify, or it looks like I don’t qualify, what’s next?

Contact the office for a more comprehensive evaluation. Even if your income exceeds the Means Test, you may nonetheless qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if you meet certain exceptions (for example, if the bulk of your debt is business related as opposed to personal).

If you earn under the Means Test, it is still important to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to make sure that you don’t have too many assets, or have any other potential issues, which may compromise your bankruptcy filing.

As of 11/1/19, in New York State, subject the period change, the means-test in reference to household size is as follws:


  $56, 120         $71,349       $86,670       $105,636

($9,000.00 for each individual in excess of 4)

Call the Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, PLLC at (888) 301-0584 for a free phone evaluation.