Most people we serve in the St. Charles and St. Louis area who want to file for bankruptcy want to file a Chapter 7 case and get all of their debt wiped clean.
However, some people that make over a certain amount of money every year cannot file for a Chapter 7 case and instead have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is kind of like a consolidation plan. All your debts are rolled into one payment every month for five years. The difference is that you will most likely not have to pay all your debt in full and they will still be fully wiped out.
In order to figure out if you have to pay extra back to your creditors, one of our experienced attorneys can run what is called the “means test.” This test first determines whether or not you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you cannot, then the “means test” will determine how much you would have to pay in a Chapter 13 case.
The “means test” allows you to try to reduce your payment as much as possible by taking into account several expenses. These expenses include: taxes removed from your paycheck, your mortgage or rent payments, your car payment, child support payments etc.
So if you can only afford to pay your creditors back $200 per month, then that is most likely all you will have to pay in your Chapter 13 case.
For example, John and Jane are married and living together and make $70,000 per year combined. They have $80,000 worth of debt. The limit for a two-person household in St. Louis or St. Charles is $54,697 per year. Because John and Jane are over the limit for a Chapter 7 case, they could still file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. They come into The Kline Law Firm and one of the experienced attorneys runs the means test for them and discovers that they can still be protected from their creditors and only have to pay them $300 per month for 5 years. That means they only have to pay $18,000 back to their creditors instead of the full $80,000. That is a savings of $62,000! The rest of that $62,000 is completely forgiven!
As we see in the above example, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be beneficial to those that make too much to qualify for a Chapter 7 case.
Every case is unique and the “means test” always has different results for each case so if you live in the St. Louis or St. Charles area give us a call and we can see what if you can file a Chapter 7 or if a Chapter 13 would still work for you.
If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or if you have any other questions related to bankruptcy, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 636-352-2030 or check out our website at www.klinelawstl.com. We have offices in both St. Charles and St. Louis County and the consultation is always free.