We Can Help You File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Missouri or Kansas
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide a fresh start if you are struggling with excessive consumer or business debts. There are many bankruptcy options available to individuals who need financial help. You may be able to discharge your debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and keep your assets. Chapter 7 will also stop foreclosure, repossession, garnishment, and lawsuits. If you are a business owner, then you may use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge debts for which you are personally responsible for paying.
Below, our Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys explain what you need to know about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri or Kansas.
What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for people that need to catch up on vehicle payments, mortgage payments, taxes, or child support payments. People also file Chapter 13 bankruptcy if they make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7 filing.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you do not need to have income to file a case. Instead of paying back the debts through a repayment plan, your unsecured debts are wiped away (called a “discharge” in the bankruptcy). You receive a discharge on certain debts after completing your Chapter 7 case.
Can Business Owners File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Kansas City?
Some business owners may be able to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 business bankruptcy, then you could discharge debts for which you were obligated to pay. We encourage you to check out our page on business bankruptcy to learn more. You can also call us and we can explain your debt relief options during a consultation.
What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions in a Chapter 7 Case?
Bankruptcy exemptions can keep certain assets from being included in the bankruptcy estate. Depending on your unique circumstances, it may be possible to exempt equity in your home from being included in the bankruptcy. The same is true for certain retirement accounts. In Missouri, there are additional bankruptcy exemptions for personal properties that include:
- Tax refunds
- Certain funds in the bank
- Household items
Contact our Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys if you have specific questions about bankruptcy exemptions in Missouri or Kansas.
Do I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
There are requirements for discharging debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In 2005, Congress passed and George W. Bush signed into law the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. This law created the Chapter 7 Means Test, an income requirement for filing a consumer Chapter 7 case. If your household income is below the state median for a household of your size, then you automatically pass the Means Test.
The Chapter 7 Means Test determines whether you have enough disposable income to pay back your debts. Disposable income is income left over after satisfying your monthly expenses. If you have enough disposable income to pay back your debts, then you may still be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
If you have primarily consumer debt and your income is above the state median, then you must pass the Means Test to receive a discharge through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Business debtors do not have to pass the Means Test.
How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
The first step is to file your bankruptcy petition, which lists your assets, debts, and income/expenses. Filers must provide the Trustee with supporting financial documentation. You will also need to take credit counseling before the initial filing process.
An automatic stay goes into effect when you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. For as long as the automatic stay remains in effect, creditors cannot continue collection attempts, and must stop any lawsuits, garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures. This will stop creditors from harrassing you.
Additionally, you must attend the meeting of creditors with the bankruptcy Trustee. At the meeting, you may answer questions about your finances and bankruptcy petition. You will receive a discharge on your debts upon completing the remaining requirements.
Our Kansas City bankruptcy lawyers offer extensive assistance during the entire bankruptcy process. Prior to and during your case, we’ll assist you with gathering the following documents:
- A copy of the last two years of your federal and Missouri or Kansas tax returns;
- A copy of any of your federal and Missouri or Kansas tax returns you file during your bankruptcy case;
- Your certificate of credit counseling;
- Your pay stubs or bank statements showing how much income you had in the 60 days before you filed your bankruptcy case
- A statement of your monthly net income and any anticipated increase in your income or expenses after filing your case;
How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?
Each case is different. How long your case takes depends on your individual circumstances, but most cases take 4-5 months from filing to discharge.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest option available for consumer and business debtors. In a Chapter 13 case, you pay back debts in a three to five year repayment plan. Some individuals and businesses file Chapter 11 cases, and the repayment plans for those cases can take even longer.
What Debts Are Discharged In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You can discharge most unsecured nonpriority debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Examples of unsecured nonpriority debts may include medical bills, credit cards, old utility bills, personal loans, repossessed vehicles, old cell phones, old leases, and some types of tax debt.
It may also be possible to discharge certain secured debts. You may surrender certain physical assets to a creditor, such as a vehicle, if you no longer wish to pay for the vehicle.
On the other hand, you could also reaffirm the debt if possible. When you reaffirm a debt with a creditor, you agree to continue making payments on the debt. You may be able to use a Chapter 7 reaffirmation agreement to keep certain secured assets.
Contact Our Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys in Kansas City for More Information
The bankruptcy attorneys at Troppito Miller Griffin, LLC can help you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri or Kansas. If you have questions about filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a consumer or business owner, then we encourage you to contact us. We can walk you through your possible debt relief options during an initial consultation. To schedule a consultation, call (816) 320-6527 or use the contact form on our site.