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How To Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted in: Bankruptcy

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer

Facing financial difficulties can be overwhelming and stressful. Filing for bankruptcy is an option for you to get back on your feet and eliminate your debt. Not only does filing bankruptcy help eliminate your debt, but it also gives you much-needed breathing room from your creditors. Consumers can either file a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To determine which bankruptcy is right for you, call us now for a free consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy lawyers in Chicago. This blog will discuss the benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the eligibility requirements.  

What are the Benefits of Chapter 7?

There are many advantages to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including the automatic stay, discharging unsecured debt, and protecting your assets.

First, the automatic stay under Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code provides an immediate stay upon filing that stops creditors from:   

  1. Calling/harassing you,  
  2. Filing a lawsuit against you,
  3. Repossessing your vehicle,  
  4. Foreclosing on your home, and
  5. Garnishing your wages  

This stay not only gives you breathing room from your creditors but also allows you to recoup and manage your finances. The goal of bankruptcy is to get you back on your feet and debt free.

Second, Chapter 7 eliminates eligible unsecured debt without requiring you to pay them anything. The most common dischargeable debts include:

  1. Credit cards,
  2. Medical bills,
  3. Repossession,
  4. Payday or personal loans, and
  5. Utility bills

Unlike unsecured debt, secured debt cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy but you still have options. If you would like to keep a car for instance that you are paying for, you can keep the car and sign a reaffirmation agreement. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of your car loan in bankruptcy, you can surrender the car to the creditor.

Lastly, filing for bankruptcy protects your assets. Once a case is filed, your property becomes property of the estate. This prevents creditors from seizing your assets or freezing your bank accounts.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Chapter 7?

One of the primary requirements to file a Chapter 7 is passing the “means test.” This test calculates whether your income is below the median income of a household of your size in Illinois. If you are below this median income, you pass the means test and can likely qualify for Chapter 7. However, even if you are above that threshold, there are certain unique circumstances that can be used to “rebut the presumption.” To determine whether you pass the means test, contact us to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer.

Another requirement hinges on whether you have previously filed bankruptcy and received a discharge. If you filed a Chapter 7 in the past and received a discharge, you have to wait 8 years to file another one. If you filed a prior Chapter 13 and received a discharge the timeline differs depending on how much you paid your creditors in the Chapter 13 case. In cases where you paid creditors less than a specific amount, you need to wait 6 years to file Chapter 7.

The last requirement is completing a mandatory credit counseling/budgeting class at least 180 days prior to filing. You must also have filed your tax returns for the past four years if you are required to file those years.

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers You Can Trust

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a fresh start by eliminating your debt. However, even if you do qualify, there are other considerations to consider before filing. The most common example is if you have property with equity, such a house. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee can liquidate or sell property you own and send the proceeds to your creditors. This rarely happens and our bankruptcy lawyers in Chicago will advise you if there is a chance this may happen before filing. This is why it is vital you hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to properly guide and advise you on your best options to get debt free. Call DebtPros today by calling (312) 883-5422 to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer for a free consultation.

Client Testimonials

What Our Clients Say

I want to start by saying THANK YOU! John was patient, prompt, informative and easy to work with. In our time of need, he helped my parents file for bankruptcy successfully and at a great price. If you are ever in the need of any services concerning your debt and potential bankruptcy litigation, I give my word and experience that John is the BEST in the Chicagoland area.

- Eric McDowell

John was outstanding in the process of my chapter 7. Not only did he keep me abreast of every step and matter that involved my BK but he was reasonable with the price and the time I had to pay him. He sent me places that accepted my Bk when it came to getting a new car as well and his communication was an A+. There was never a time I couldn’t reach him and if he missed my call he would proceed to call back before the day over or early the next day. I recommend him to any and everyone!

- Lamar Johnson

John is a great lawyer to work with. It’s easy to be honest and share things with him. It felt good to communicate with him. When I reach out to him, he is very good at answering the phone or responding when he can. I recommend his work as well. He’s very organized and gets things done. Thank you John.

- JP W

This guy made my experience so smooth I would recommend him to anyone who is thinking about filing for bankruptcy. He is very patient with his clients and Is very informative. Every question I had he answered even if I asked it twice. Highly recommend!!!!!!

- Nikita Nichols

John is very patient, he’s worked with me from start to finish. Always answer my questions and never made me feel like I’m a bother. Never made me feel like I’m a number in his book. He’s very helpful and caring which is why I’d recommend him over any bankruptcy lawyer. Thanks John for all you do.

- Corey Ross

Thank you team DebtPros! The choice to file was not easy, but it was the best decision for my family. John, I appreciate your kindness, thoroughness, and professionalism. I feel like you’ve guided me through this process in a very personable way. Thank you for always being available to chat, and making the experience so efficient and understanding. I can see the silver lining toward a fresh start! Thank you again & Have a wonderful summer. Sincerely, SB.

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I am honored to provide such a financial relief feedback for this amazing blessing whose name is Atty. Wonais. There is so much I could share endlessly about his superb knowledge and service that he offered me as his client. However, I will share what I found to be essential in my financial issues that Atty. Wonais selflessly provided to me as his client; his expertise, his ability of trustworthiness was "everything" oh my goodness he is truly trusting thru the entire process.

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I was referred to them, and this has been the best decision I have ever made. I never been this confident in a person like I am with John. He heard my needs and wants, he made it possible to give me that. Excellent customer service. He put all my options on table to fit my needs. He never sugarcoat he gives it to you like it is meaning he’s not rude or unprofessional. He’s that person that tells you what you need and bot what you want. I have referred all my friends and family to his service.

- Nicole Murray

So one night I went online looking for advice on google and John came up and I called him on the weekend late evening and he happened to answered which was awesome. John helped me out with my situation he gave me amazing advice and options on how to take on my problems the right way. John is super easy to talk to Very informative and he answered all my questions.

- Freddy

This office and staff was amazing. I was referred to John from my best friend and as soon as I reached out he was very prompt on getting back to me and helping. From start to finish the process was amazing stress free and straight forward. He stayed in communication no matter what time of the day. If I had a question he had the answer. His tips and tricks and knowledge helped me a lot and made me more comfortable and excited about starting over.

- Kierra Smith

John took me on as a client with no problem. He was very understanding, passionate, helpful and available every step of the way. Trust me I am a very happy client, I definitely recommend John.

- Jessica Burton

John did a wonderful and seamless job with my case-he handled everything properly and was very timely in all of his communication. He is professional and reliable. I would highly recommend him to anyone who may have to deal with a bankruptcy. Five stars!

- Ashley I.

I had a great experience with Wonais Law, LLC. John is very patient and replies right away to any questions or concerns that you have. I would recommend his services to anyone.

- Erika Sing

If I can leave more stars I will. Wonaia Law is highly recommended. John is great with making sure I understand everything that was going on, I really appreciate how he’s always there to answer any questions I have ... My chapter 7 is just about over and I have 2nd chance with living life debt free.

- Tiffany Austin

John Wonais is responsive, professional, and cares for his clients. He is extremely experienced in civil litigation and has answered all of my questions in a way that I can understand as someone with zero experience in law. He has gone above and beyond and has always made sure to follow up with me when I’ve needed it. I truly feel that he has my best interest at heart.

- Ariana Khosravani

I really wanna give a big thanks to John he helped me out a lot. He walked me through everything to make sure I understand, good quality. I don’t think I could of did it without him ?

- Twona Gibson

He gave an expert and advise and a great service. He went all out to be sure I got a solution to the issue I had.

- Betty Salami

I want to thank John for helping me win my case he was very helpful throughout the process and very professional, thanks again.

- Diana M.

I was very impressed on how quickly I was responded to, and how my lawyer John made everything so easy for me to understand. I have never had to hire a lawyer before, and I'm really glad that I met such a professional, and honest person. I would highly recommended.

- Angela Mata

DebtPros is a law firm that specializes in consumer bankruptcy. John has years of valuable experience and is dedicated to helping clients file for bankruptcy. John is responsive and provides a free consultation to prospective clients. I recommend this firm to anyone who is considering filing for bankruptcy.

- Taylor Kosla

John Wonais provided me with timely and beneficial legal counsel. I would trust his firm to represent me in any creditor-related case. John's professionalism and expertise are second-to-none; highly recommend his services.

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Very helpful, professional and they’re reasonably priced.

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Great Professional Service- I have been working with Wonais Law the past couple weeks and I have been blown away from their attention to detail and professionalism. They get work done quickly and are extremely responsive. I would recommend this firm to everyone needing legal services.

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