In October 2005, the laws which govern Chapter 13 bankruptcy changed. One of the more significant ways the law changed dealt with the eligibility requirements for filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Before the new law, consultations with an attorney would allow the client to choose what type of bankruptcy they felt suited them best. However, the new law is framed to reduce the number of Chapter 7 filings by only allowing people who fall under their median state income, adjusted for family size and inflation, and people who meet rigorous standards under the means test to file for it. The rest of the people who don’t meet these standards must be evaluated by a series of complex, mathematical formulas that change annually to match new median incomes and expense standards. Clients who do not qualify through the means test will be required to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The new law also extended the Chapter 13 term from a three- to five-year term, to a mandatory five-year term. Throughout the mandatory five-year term, the client must be supervised and represented before they can receive their discharge.
Chapter 13 is available to people who are employed, self-employed or operating an unincorporated business as long as the individual’s unsecured debts are less than $336,900 and secured debts are less than $1,010,650. There is no minimum debt requirement for Chapter 13. For income above median, Chapter 13 must run for five years with expenses determined by IRS collection standards. People with incomes below or at the median are eligible for a three-year-plan with payments determined by actual expenses versus IRS guidelines. Other eligibility issues in Chapter 13 bankruptcy deal with individuals who have a discharge in a prior case filed under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 within four years, or a Chapter 13 case filed within two years of the present case.
The effects of the new law make the process of filing for bankruptcy more complex, requiring attorneys to specialize in bankruptcy law. To completely understand how the new bankruptcy laws in your state can impact your debt and affect your life, speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer.
If you are seriously considering bankruptcy and you live in California or in the state of Utah, you need to consult with an attorney who understands California or Utah bankruptcy laws. While the process appears complicated, a California or Utah bankruptcy lawyer will be able to help you understand your options and avoid making bad decisions that you could later regret. Lincoln Law specializes in bankruptcies. Every day, we help people get out from under debts from $10,000 to $1,000,000 and higher. So far, we’ve wiped out over 100 million dollars in debt. We even created the software that is now used by other leading bankruptcy law firms throughout the country! You need Lincoln Law. No other law firm is better qualified to bring you the fastest debt relief and do it right the first time.
Author: Carl Gustafson