As a Boca Raton bankruptcy lawyer I see the anxiety in my clients’ eyes when I tell them that they have to pass a means test before being able to qualify for a Florida Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Don’t worry; it is not a test that you need to study for. It is a simple financial comparison of your gross income against the median income of an equivalent sized Florida household. If your income is below the median, you will be eligible to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your gross income is higher than the state average you have the opportunity to figure your net income and apply that against the Florida’s median income.
Figuring your net income gets a little tricky which is why you should use an experienced Boca Raton bankruptcy attorney. There are only some expenses that you are allowed to apply and they must within certain limits. For example, you cannot show that your family of four lives in a three bedroom, 1600 square foot house but has a monthly utility bill of $3000.00. The Bankruptcy Court allowances usually follow the guidelines that are used by the IRS and must be followed in determining what your monthly net income is.
Once you have figured your net income, you will once again compare this to the median income of the same sized Florida household. If your income is above that of the average, you will more than likely need to look at filing for bankruptcy under the codes of a Chapter 13. If for some reason you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 by way of the means test, your attorney could petition the Bankruptcy Court for a variance. If you are able to show cause as to why a Chapter 7 is the proper channel for you, there is a possibility that the Court will allow you to use this chapter.
Filing for either chapter of bankruptcy is very complex. It is important that you seek the help of a qualified and experienced Boca Raton bankruptcy attorney. They deal with means test, bankruptcy petitions, Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and all of the other nuisances of bankruptcy law on a daily basis.