Liberty Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Facing financial strain can be overwhelming and painful. You may feel like you are the only person going through such an experience. However, this situation is more common than you may realize. In the year 2021, there were 335,886 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed nationwide.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. Call (816) 381-9105 to speak with a House Packard McElderry, LLC Liberty bankruptcy lawyer about your case.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
This type of bankruptcy is also referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. When an individual or a sole proprietorship files for Chapter 7, non-exempt property may be liquidated to repay debts to creditors. This means that this type of bankruptcy may result in the loss of property.
By filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can reset your finances by eliminating unsecured debts. These may include:
- Medical bills
- Credit cards
- Unsecured personal loans
- Payday loans
- Collection agency accounts
- Business debts
- Past-due utility balances, such as electric bills
- Past-due rent payments
Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not eliminate certain debts. These include:
- Student loans
- Secured debts, if you keep the property (such as a mortgage or car loan)
- Recent income taxes
- Spousal support and child support
It’s important to understand that you are still responsible for paying secured debts if you wish to keep the property. For example, if you have a car loan and you want to keep the car, then you must continue to make payments even after you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive your discharge. The lender will repossess the vehicle if you don’t continue making payments as agreed.
In addition, Chapter 7 bankruptcy only discharges debts that you had before filing for bankruptcy. Any debts you incur after filing will not be discharged. The date that counts is the date of filing the petition, regardless of the date on which the discharge is received. In many cases, a debtor may receive a discharge order in less than six months from the time of filing the bankruptcy petition.
How Is Eligibility Determined?
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet certain requirements. One of these relates to your income. If your income is less than the median income for the same size family in Missouri, you are eligible to file for Chapter 7.
If you do not qualify based on this assessment, then you might qualify if you pass what is called the “means test.” This compares your income against your expenses to determine the amount of disposable income you have. If the means test determines that you do not have the income to repay your debts, you might be eligible to file for Chapter 7.
In addition, you must complete a credit counseling course within 180 days before filing. There are several conditions that may prevent you from being eligible to file, including if you have:
- Filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the previous eight years
- Filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the previous six years
A similar disqualification exists if you tried to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the prior 180 days, but a court dismissed your case for reasons such as:
- You violated a court order
- The court determined you committed fraud or abuse of the bankruptcy system
A court may also dismiss your case if it makes the determination that you are attempting to defraud your creditors. This could occur in a case where a person uses credit cards or takes out a new loan with the intent of declaring bankruptcy to avoid payment.
What Is Exempt Property?
The only property that may be liquidated when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is non-exempt property. This means that you may be able to keep property that is considered exempt. The way exempt property is determined depends on several factors.
Some states allow debtors to choose between state exemptions and federal exemptions. However, Missouri is not one of these states. When filing in Missouri, debtors must use state exemptions.
You must have lived in Missouri for at least 180 days before you can file for bankruptcy in the state. However, you must have lived in Missouri for at least 730 days before you can use Missouri exemptions. If you file before this time, you’ll be required to use the exemptions of the state where you previously lived.
Missouri exemptions include:
- Homestead exemption — up to $15,000 of real estate or $5,000 of a mobile home (note that this amount applies to the equity of the home, not the value of the property)
- Motor vehicle exemption — up to $6,000 if filing jointly or $3,000 if filing individually
- Jewelry exemption — this includes a wedding ring up to $1,500 and other jewelry up to $500
- Household goods — this includes appliances, furniture, clothing, and instruments up to $3,000 for individuals and up to $6,000 if filing jointly
- Retirement accounts — this includes 401(k) accounts, IRA accounts, and pensions
- Tools of the trade — this includes any tools or books related to your profession up to $3,000
There are also several other exemptions that may apply. An experienced attorney can discuss these with you to determine the implications of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Why Should I Choose House Packard McElderry, LLC?
We realize that this is an emotional time. You need someone who can successfully guide you to a financial fresh start. Our attorneys have a depth of experience achieving this goal for clients just like you. The process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be challenging and complex. We believe you have enough going on right now without handling all the legal details. We will do that for you.
We have built the House Packard McElderry, LLC reputation on professionalism and client care. You will be able to reach us any time you have questions or concerns. Our attorneys will ensure that you receive personalized attention while we handle your case. We are proud to share the testimonials of previous clients we have served.
House Packard McElderry, LLC understands that you are facing financial hardship. For this reason, we offer flexible payment plans.
Call House Packard McElderry, LLC Today
If you are having trouble repaying your current personal or small business debts, you may benefit from considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You should speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Contact us at (816) 381-9105 to speak with a lawyer of the House Packard McElderry, LLC legal team. You can also submit a contact form to schedule a free consultation.