Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?”
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy you likely have a number of questions running through your head. Unfortunately, the process is often seen as opaque and this lack of clarity can scare people off who might really stand to benefit. In the interest of full disclosure, lets spend a few moments walking through some common questions about the limits of bankruptcy.
Good news on this subject, there are (generally) no limits on the number of times a person can file for bankruptcy. We say generally because in some cases where a person is found to have knowingly abused the system, it is theoretically possible that a bankruptcy court could prevent the person from making future filings. Except for these very unusual cases, no one else needs to worry about wasting precious bankruptcy opportunities; you get as many as you need.
Years between filing
Though there’s no limit on the number of times a person can file bankruptcy, there are limits to how often a person can file. The exact amount of time a person is required to wait varies based on several factors. First, if your debts weren’t discharged, then you won’t be subject to a wait; it’s only those whose bankruptcies are discharged that must pay attention to the time limits. If you had a Chapter 7 discharged and want to file again, you’ll need to wait 8 years. If you had a 7 and want to go for a 13, you’ll need to wait at least four years. If your discharge was under Chapter 13, you’ll need to wait two years after the date the case was filed to file again. If you’re going from a 13 to a 7, you’ll need to wait at least six years.
If you’re filing for a Chapter 13, there are no income limits to speak of. Courts will look to make sure that you have sufficient income to meet any payment obligations agreed to as part of the repayment plan. For a Chapter 7, you’ll need to meet a means test to even be able to file. The exact income limit varies depending on the size of your family and your state, but the general rule is that a person must have a household income less than the median income for a similarly sized family in the state. In North Carolina, that means a single person would need to earn less than $42,946, while a family of four would need to earn less than $72,830.
In Chapter 7 cases, so long as a person passes the means test, there’s no limit to the amount of debt that can be discharged. The same isn’t true under a Chapter 13. Currently, the law says that the maximum amount in unsecured debt a person can discharge under Chapter 13 is around $360,000, while the maximum for secured debt rises to a little over $1 million.
If you are contemplating bankruptcy in the Charlotte area, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with legally sound advice for your particular situation.
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