According to a Chapter 7 Lawyer in Tampa, in order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must first pass the means test.
What is the Means Test?
It compares your income with the official median income for households in the state of Florida.
How Does the Test Work?
It is only for those who have consumer debts as opposed to business debts. If the income you currently earn monthly is less than the median income level for a household of a similar size in Florida, you automatically pass the test.
If it isn’t, you will move to the next section of the test to figure out if you have enough income left over (known as disposable income) to pay general unsecured creditors. To do this, the means test deducts certain expenses from your current monthly income in order to determine your disposable income. The categories are:
- Housing expenses
- Standard living expenses
- Secured debt payments
- Transportation expenses
- Priority debts
- Other expenses such as child support, alimony, child care, and medical/dental bills
What Happens if You Don’t Pass?
If you fail the means test, it’s assumed you don’t properly handle your finances, and you would have to prove you have a special set of circumstances such as a pay cut or a serious medical condition. A Chapter 7 Lawyer in Tampa can help. This means you have to prove to a judge that your expenses are practical and that there is no suitable alternative.
To see if you qualify for Chapter 7, please contact us. If you do, as Chapter 7 lawyer in Tampa, we’ll help you through the process from start to finish.