What Is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
If you have been wrestling with a large amount of debt – and you don’t see any way to pull yourself out of your financial problems – Chapter 7 could help you. Legal counsel, or a friend or family member, might have mentioned this form of bankruptcy to you, which is called ‘Chapter 7’ because it is provided for in Chapter 7 of Title 11 of the United States Code. (When Congress passes a law it become part of the United States Code. Title 11 of the United States Code provides for the country’s bankruptcy laws and is known as the Bankruptcy Code)
In a Chapter 7 filing, you are allowed to permanently discharge certain debts; that means that once the bankruptcy proceeding is finalized, you won’t ever owe that money again. However, there are some caveats:
- You must qualify to file for protection under Chapter 7. The 2005 revisions to the bankruptcy code established what is known as the “means test.” The means test requires that, to be eligible to file for Chapter 7 protection, you must show that you lack the resources (means) to repay any money to your creditors over a three-to-five year period (as set forth in Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy laws).
- Some debts cannot be discharged under Chapter 7. You cannot rid yourself of certain tax obligations, student loan debt, or child support or alimony in a Chapter 7 filing.
Once you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, you get the protection of the automatic stay, which prohibits your creditors from calling, writing or taking any other action outside of the bankruptcy proceeding to try to collect your debts.
Contact John Hargrave and Associates
We have provided comprehensive counsel to individuals in and around Barrington, New Jersey, since 1977. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-547-6500.