In our last post, we started discussing how even though people understandably want to get the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process started as quickly as possible, they must first pass what is known as the bankruptcy means test.
To recap, the two-part bankruptcy means test is designed to determine whether a filer has sufficient disposable income to devote to paying off their debts, taking factors like income, expenses and even family size into account.
What does the first part of the bankruptcy means test entail?
The first part of the test is structured to determine whether your household income over the last six months is below or above the median income for your state.
It’s important to note that adjustments can be made to your household income based on recent or impending changes. For example, the loss of a job three months prior to filing for Chapter 7 or the start of a new job paying more money three months prior to filing for Chapter 7 would each factor into measuring your household income.
What’s the median income for Florida?
According to the Department of Justice, the median income in Florida for cases filed on or after May 1, 2016 is $43,136 for a single filer, $53,654 for a family of two, $57,080 for a family of three, and $66,588 for a family of four ($8,400 is added for each individual in excess of four).
What if my household income is below the median income?
If your household income is below the applicable median income, it means that you are clear to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which can discharge the majority of unsecured debts, including credit cards, medical bills and even membership fees.
What if my household income is above the median income?
As we discussed in our last post, if a prospective filer somehow fails the first part, they can still qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by passing the second part, which we’ll explore in our final post on this topic.
Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions about the bankruptcy means test or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.