Why Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is Not Always the Right Choice
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Why Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is Not Always the Right Choice

Why Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is Not Always the Right Choice
July 30, 2019

Every person’s financial situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for debt relief. Many consumers may believe that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option, as it allows you to discharge many debts without first following a repayment plan for three to five years. However, while the prospect of a repayment plan may seem undesirable, there are some situations in which Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a better option than Chapter 7.

You Do Not Qualify for Chapter 7

While  Chapter 7 makes it relatively simple to discharge your debts, it does not make it easy to qualify for a case. In 2005, Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), which aimed to protect consumers from financial harm. However, the Act made it more difficult for consumers to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

To qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass the “means test.” This test compares your household income to the median household income for your state, as reported by the Department of Justice (DOJ). For instance:

  • You have four people in your household in Merrillville, and your household income is $90,000 per year after expenses
  • The DOJ reports that the 2019 median income for a family of four in Indiana is $85,368
  • Because your household income is higher than the median, you would not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

If you cannot pass the means test, you will need to explore other options, and Chapter 13 can still be highly beneficial when it comes to debt relief. You want to ensure you have an attorney working for the fairest Chapter 13 repayment plan possible based on your income. 

Protecting Property and Assets

In exchange for the relatively easy discharge of your debts, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does require you to relinquish certain property and assets for liquidation, and the proceeds go to priority creditors. There are many exemptions that allow you to protect property and assets from the bankruptcy trustee, and in many cases, a skilled attorney can apply exemptions in a manner that protects most if not all of your property.

However, some people do not have the extra income to pay all their debts, but they do have significant property or assets they want to protect. This can involve a high-value home, vacation properties, vehicles, heirlooms, and more. If you want to keep your nonexempt property, Chapter 13 will allow you to do so and still obtain bankruptcy relief. 

Consult with a Merrillville Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney for Free

Determining the best type of bankruptcy in your situation is a difficult choice that should be carefully considered. You should always have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Northwest Indiana evaluate your case and advise you of your best options. The Schmidt Whitten & Whitten helps many clients find the financial relief they need through all types of bankruptcy, including both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Contact us to set up a free consultation and to start taking back control of your financial situation.




Schedule A Free Consultation

At Schmidt Whitten & Whitten, we offer a free consultation during which we will examine the facts of your case and advise you on how best to proceed

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Our Phone Number219-756-0555
Contact via Emailinfo@kmslawoffice.net
Our Location200 E. 80th Place
Suite 110
Merrillville, IN 46410
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code. This information is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results and testimonials are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of the outcome of your case, and should not be construed as such. Past results cannot guarantee future performance. Any result in a single case is not meant to create an expectation of similar results in future matters because each case involves many different factors, therefore, results will differ on a case-by-case basis. By providing certain contact information herein, you are expressly authorizing the recipient of this message to contact you via the methods of communication provided.
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