Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Make sure you qualify before you file

Many Louisiana residents will likely be among others throughout the nation who face serious financial crises in the post-holiday season. Fortunately, there are typically numerous options to help those in need obtain immediate debt relief and lay the groundwork to get their finances back on track. In order to apply for relief, such as Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, one must first meet pre-application qualifications.

This type of financial relief is based on income. In short, if a person earns too high of an income, then he or she will not qualify. To determine whether a particular income level is within qualification limits, an applicant must take and pass a means test.

The means test compares the income in question with the average household income in the same state. Those that are the same or lower may proceed with their Chapter 7 applications. In addition to income qualifications, a person seeking relief may not have discharged debt through the same means within the past eight years.

To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Louisiana residents must also participate in certified debt counseling programs. This must be done within 180 days prior to submitting an official application. There are several exceptions to the rule; for an explanation or to seek answers to other debt-related questions, a consultation can be scheduled with an experienced bankruptcy law attorney. It is not uncommon for one person to qualify for more than one type of debt relief, and experienced guidance can help determine which option is most viable in a particular situation.