Attorney in Queens Helps You Understand the Chapter 7 Means Test
Ensuring your assets, debts and expenses are properly documented to help you qualify
The first hurdle in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is passing the means test — a complex calculation devised by the government to assess whether you qualify financially for Chapter 7 debt relief. With two decades of bankruptcy law experience in Queens, Mark E. Cohen, Esq. has helped make meeting the means test requirements as painless as possible.
What does the means test determine?
The means test is designed to prevent people from abusing the bankruptcy system by filing unnecessarily. The test examines whether your income is below the median income for families in New York. In addition to your income, the test considers your debts and daily living expenses as well as the size of your immediate family.
First, the means test uses your income for the six months prior to the Chapter 7 filing — not just the current month — to determine your current monthly income. If you meet the income requirement, you qualify to file for bankruptcy.
If you make more than the median income for New York families, you are permitted to deduct payments for your mortgage, car, back taxes, some school expenses and child support.
If, after deducting these amounts and allowable living expenses your monthly disposable income is low enough, you are eligible to file for Chapter 7. There is also some consideration of your ability to pay part of your unsecured debts — such as credit card bills, medical expenses and student loans. An ability to pay a certain percentage of these debts will disqualify you from Chapter 7 filing.
If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may find Chapter 13 bankruptcy a viable alternative. Only a Queens Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer can give you the advice you need before making this serious decision.
Assisting you with means test calculations
I do not recommend wading through the means test on your own. A simple mistake can cost you time and possibly the ability to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Some of the information needed to complete the test, such as your current monthly income, comes from your personal records. However, other information needed to complete the forms comes from the median family income data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and the allowances for food, clothing, housing, healthcare and utilities are provided by the Census Bureau and the IRS.
As an experienced Queens bankruptcy lawyer, I have helped hundreds of clients succeed in passing the test. I make sure information is gathered and calculations are correct to ensure you the best opportunity to meet the means test requirements.
To ease the stress of overwhelming debt, call a bankruptcy lawyer in Queens
All too often, good people find themselves in financial trouble that quickly spirals out of control. For more than 20 years, I have helped people like you understand the available options, make informed decisions and navigate through the complex process of filing for bankruptcy.
Located on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, I offer a wide range of services to individuals and families suffering from the weight of debt. Call Mark E. Cohen, Esq. at 718-487-9979 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.