The Means Test in Wichita, Kansas
Bankruptcy Means Test in Kansas
To determine if you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas you must pass the means test. This measures your finances against the average in your area. You automatically pass the means test if your level of income is below the median.
How does the Means Test Affect Filing for Bankruptcy?
The "means test" determines whether you have low enough income to file for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 to extinguish your debts. The test was designed to keep high wage earners from wiping out their debts when they could conceivably pay them. Even if you fail the means test, however, you may file for Chapter 13 where you pay for a share of your debts while at the same time receiving bankruptcy protection from creditor lawsuits. For help in figuring the means test, Wichita residents are urged to contact a bankruptcy attorney in Kansas.
How is the Means Test Figured?
Initially you check to see if your average monthly income exceeds the average median income of your state, in this case, Kansas. If your income falls below the median income, you have passed the means test and may proceed to file your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition.
If though your income exceeds the Kansas average median income, you need to do more calculations. You need to plug your monthly basic expenses into a formula to determine your disposable income to pay debts. It should be noted that you may not use your actual expenses. You have to use the standard amount for such an expense for your area. For example, if you actually spend $200 per week on food but the standard amount for food expenditure for your size of family is $160, you put $160 into the formula. Once you have entered the data into the formula, you know whether your disposable income is low enough for you to pass the means test. A bankruptcy attorney can assist you in this computation.
What Happens if You Fail the Means Test?
Failing the means test doesn't necessarily mean that the individual is barred from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy altogether. Instead, it may limit their eligibility. In such cases, the debtor may need to explore alternative bankruptcy options, such as Chapter 13, which involves a repayment plan over a specified period.
Chapter 13 as an Alternative
One common alternative for those who do not pass the means test is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, debtors propose a repayment plan to the court, outlining how they intend to repay their debts over three to five years. This allows individuals with a regular income to retain their assets while gradually settling their financial obligations.
Seeking Legal Counsel
Given the complexities of bankruptcy law and the potential ramifications of failing the means test, seeking professional legal advice is crucial. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can assess the individual's financial situation, guide them through the available options, and help formulate a strategy that aligns with their unique circumstances.
An Experienced Wichita Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help You Figure the Means Test
At the Kansas Bankruptcy Center our bankruptcy attorney, Norman Douglas, is a seasoned bankruptcy firm serving the entire state of Kansas. We would be pleased to help you work out the means test over the phone. We are fully prepared to explain to you your options as indicated by the means test and to assist you in taking advantage of them.
Contact our Bankruptcy Attorney in Kansas for a professional and compassionate guide to completing the Means Test.