In order to qualify for bankruptcy services, you must meet the provisions listed out in the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). This law was passed in order to protect both creditors and consumers, and while it has somewhat changed the process, it is still possible for people that need to file bankruptcy to do so. Working with an experienced attorney helps because we understand these provisions and what must be done in order to have the court approve your filing.
Here is what you need to know:
There is a Means Test:
Many people were worried that this test would make it harder to qualify, but it can actually help. Instead of a judge having the ability to dismiss the case when they think the person has the means to make payments, this test tells the story. It is eight pages long and evaluates income over the past six months only along with mandatory deductions that make it easier for many families to qualify. Under this test, a family can also qualify using the medium family income guidelines. For example, a couple with four children would qualify if they make $80,910 or less. A single person would qualify if they make $43,436 or less. Considering that the average household income in Santa Ana is $54,387 according to the U.S. Census Bureau, most people qualify without a problem.
You are still required to submit tax returns, but the means test should supersede the income showing on those returns. We can help you to navigate through this aspect of the process as part of our bankruptcy services.
In order to file for bankruptcy, you now have to take a mandatory credit counseling class. This can be done online so it is fairly easy and only costs around $50. If you can’t afford to pay, they have to give you the course for free. Since it’s online you can complete the course at your convenience, and it only takes around an hour. Making this course mandatory hasn’t been a burden for people because of how easy it is to access. In fact, they even offer the course over the phone.
This is another course that must be taken, and it teaches you how to manage your debt, create a budget, etc. It teaches you how to handle your finances better in an attempt to ensure that you won’t have to file for bankruptcy again.
According to BAPCPA you now have to wait anywhere from two to eight years to file bankruptcy after the last time you filed. This depends on the type of filing that you did before so we can review your case and let you know if you can qualify right now or need to wait a little longer.
Overall these changes have made it easier for clients to utilize our bankruptcy services because most families qualify under the means test, and the other guidelines are easy to follow. To find out if your financial situation qualifies for a bankruptcy filing – give us a call.