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Do You Have to Be Completely Broke to File for Bankruptcy?

The idea that you need to be flat broke to seek bankruptcy protection is a misconception. The amount of money you make and the amount of debt you have are not the sole factors that determine whether or not you should file for bankruptcy.

However, although there is not a minimum amount of debt required to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are certain other requirements. You are more likely to be able to file for bankruptcy if you are unable to pay your debts, or if you are facing lawsuits, wage garnishment, repossession or other threats from creditors.

Some of the requirements for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are as follows:

  • Income. You must pass the “means test,” which compares the amount of money you make to the income of similar-sized families in Georgia. This test is in place to ensure that only those who cannot afford to make their debt payments are protected under Chapter 7.
  • Filing history. If you have filed for bankruptcy in the past, there’s a chance you won’t be eligible to do so again. In Georgia, you need to wait eight years after you first filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to be able to move forward with this process once again. If you file before that eight-year time limit has expired, your discharge will likely be denied and you will still be responsible for all your debts.
  • Accepted debt. Chapter 7 only allows for discharges of certain types of debt. Unsecured debts — such as payday loans and credit cards — can usually be discharged, but tax debts and student loans typically are not eligible.

To learn more about the requirements you must meet to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, contact the knowledgeable Georgia bankruptcy attorneys at Jeff Field & Associates online or at 404-381-1278 today.


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