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The Test You Can’t Study For


If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should know that not every person will be able to do so successfully. In 2005, Congress passed a revisions to the bankruptcy laws that were intended to address the abuse that was occurring regarding too many people filing for bankruptcy. This revision established a requirement that a person attempting to declare bankruptcy must meet certain eligibility requirements regarding their income and debts, and is called the “means test.” In the state of Florida, you may qualify by showing that your income is below the median income in Florida for your family size or go through the full means test which will examine your monthly income and expenses to show that no disposable income remains each month.

Understanding the Means Test  

Chapter 7 bankruptcies provide a fresh financial start for many debtors by eliminating much of their debt. The means test is a way for the state of Florida to determine if a debtor has enough money to repay their debts, or if they truly cannot afford to repay their creditors. If a debtor has been determined to have the financial ability to repay their debts, they may be offered the opportunity to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, which will allow them to restructure their debt in a repayment plan over the next three to five years. The purpose of the means test is to ensure that creditors are not defrauded by debtors who simply do not wanting to repay debts that they legitimately owe.

Passing the Means Test  

As previously stated, there are two ways to attempt to pass the means test in the state of Florida. The first is to show that your income is below the median income in Florida for your family size. For example, for a family of four, you will be considered below the median income if the total amount of family income is less than $81,091.00. The chart for median income is simple and straightforward. However, if you do not pass the means test this way, there is an alternative method.

If a detailed examination of your monthly income and expenses leads to the conclusion that your family truly has no disposable income at the end of every month, you will qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of Florida. Always remember that if you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the means test, you may still have the option of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Consulting an experience bankruptcy attorney will help lead you through the means test and what bankruptcy is best for you.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

Understanding and attempting to navigate the complex bankruptcy laws in the state of Florida can be challenging and complicated. The means test is just one legal factor involved in declaring any type of bankruptcy. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, make sure that your legal rights are protected. Contact one of our experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys at Kelley Kaplan & Eller at 561-264-6850 for a consultation regarding whether or not you will pass the means test in the state of Florida, and can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.


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