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My Husband is in the Navy and We are Drowning. – Tracy

Tracy

“Dear Steve,

I had excellent credit 2 years ago then my husband who is in the Navy got a job transfer from Florida to Texas- Our Florida home took 2 years to sell and we sold with a shortsale of 118,000- not forgiven by our lender, we also lived on credit cards for 2 years while paying 2 households- now we are 40,000 in credit card debt and have the 118,000- shortsale-

I spoke to one attorney who said because I keep a few children in my home we are over the means test limit- How can we make to much to file when I bring in 1700 (before deductions) a month, 950.00 in child support , and my husbands income is 4300.00 a month- but we are living pay check to pay check with no savings and one bad thing happens we are sunk-

I am current on all my credit card bills but am thinking I need to start saving some of that money for an emergency- as we have none- If you go by my taxes it shows I only make around 500 a month after expense- so what is the proper figure I should give to my new attorney I am going to see????

How to figure what I make each month keeping a few kids in my home? How can we make to much? what toi do with all this debt?

Tracy”

Dear Tracy,

I certainly think a second opinion is in order. I’m not sure why the first bankruptcy attorney said you did not qualify for bankruptcy.

I’ll ask some bankruptcy friends to comment on your question and see if we can’t shed some light on the issue.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

3 Comments

  • Hi, Tracy.
    Dan and Shawn are right. There are several steps to the means test. This page may be able to help you understand it better: http://www.totalbankruptcy.com/chapter-7/requirements/means-test.aspx.

    If you have additional questions, a bankruptcy lawyer might be able to help you determine your debt relief options.

    Total Bankruptcy can connect you to a local sponsoring bankruptcy lawyer for free.

    Best of luck,
    Meaghan
    Total Bankruptcy

  • What Dan Nunley said is spot on. If your income is above the median income for your state based on household size their is a presumption that you are ineligible.

    However this presumption is a rebuttable one based on individual circumstances. I have had many clients who had income above the median but still qualified for bankruptcy.

  • Tracy,

    In 2005, Congress radically changed the bankruptcy laws. One of the major changes is that all debtors with primarily consumer debts are now required to take a “Means Test” in order to determine whether or not they qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are several steps to the Means Test and many people “fail” the first part of the test but still are able to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if their attorney is willing to do the more complex calculations beyond the first part of the test.

    Some of my clients fail the first part of the Means Test because their income exceeds the median state income for a similarly sized household. However, the vast majority of these clients are still able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to allowed deductions in the second part of the Means Test.

    The first part of the Means Test is simple to calculate. The second part is complicated and requires much more work on the part of the attorney and much more detailed income and expense information from the client. Unfortunately, some bankruptcy attorneys are only interested in the fairly simple and routine bankruptcy cases that do not require them to expend this extra effort.

    You need a bankruptcy attorney who is willing to go the extra mile in order to help you. I strongly suggest that you seek a second opinion from a knowledgeable, seasoned bankruptcy attorney in your area who is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (www.nacba.com).

    Dan Nunley
    Broken Arrow, OK
    http://www.oklahoma-bankruptcy-attorney.com

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