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Means test for chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy?

My wife and I think we need to file bankruptcy but we're not sure if it should be chapter 7 or chapter 13. My wife heard from a co-worker that we need to do the new means test even if we want to do chapter 13. Is that true? If so, is the means test something that we could do on our own or should we just have an attorney do it.

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Submitted Sat, 01/29/2011 - 16:58

Deciding which chapter to file under is a complex question. Some things an attorney will consider in determining which chapter is best you: Your income, assets, available exemptions, if there is any nonexempt asset,s lien stripping a second or other junior liens, the broader discharge in a chapter 13 case, if you are current or behind on secured payments, if your debts are primarily business or consume,r and others.
The means test is required under any filings, in chapter 7 it is form 22a while in chapter 13 it is form 22c. In either event if your combined household income from all countable sources is less than the median income for your household size then only the income portion of the means test must be completed. However, if your income is above then the entire form must be completed to either determine eligibility to file under chapter 7 or in chapter 13 a minimum amount of money to be turned over to the unsecured creditors.
I am a lawyer and you should hire one for your bankruptcy. I have seen pro-se litigants misunderstand the law and lose significant assets which they might otherwise have been able to keep. But others have done it just fine. It’s like home repairs, some people can do them themselves and other should call in the pros. Ultimately it is your risk if you go it alone. Good luck.
Attorney Robert Kovacs

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