Can I File for Bankruptcy? Should I File for Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is nothing more than a set of laws to help people in need get a fresh start.
You can file bankruptcy if you:
- Live in the United States; or
- Have a residence in the United States; or
- Have property in the United States; or
- Have a place of business in the United States
What this also means that you do not have to be a U.S. Citizen or even have proper immigration status in order to file for bankruptcy.
The exceptions to who can file for bankruptcy are very few. You cannot if you filed for bankruptcy in the last 180 days (6 months) where:
- The case was dismissed for willful failure to follow the Court’s orders; or
- You failed to appear as required in Court; or
- The case was dismissed at your request after a creditor files a motion for relief from the “automatic stay” (See page “Stop Foreclosure, Lawsuits, Calls & Harassment”for more information on the automatic stay)
Beyond who can file, sometimes the more appropriate question is who should file?
Basically, anyone who has a significant amount of debt who wants fresh start should file for bankruptcy. Significant does not necessarily mean out of control. Many of our clients tell us they are current with their payments, but cannot seem to pay the debt down.
We like to think of significant debt as more than the person can readily pay off in a 1-2 year period based on their current level of income. Excepted from this are debts like mortgages, car loans and some other debts which you would expect to take longer to pay off.
Some people we meet have had serious problems, like medical issues, loss of job, divorce, etc. However, most simply got in over their heads and the debt snowballed over time.
Common Bankruptcy Filers
Many people who file for bankruptcy are usually people who:
- Have a large amount of credit card, personal loans or other debts; or
- Are facing a home foreclosure or vehicle repossession; or
- Have been or are being sued for money (often involving credit cards or other debt)
What many people do not understand is that many bankruptcy filers also…
- Have full time jobs
- Are married with at least one child
- Own a home
- Are current with most, if not all of their debts
There are several types of bankruptcy, but the most common types for regular everyday people is either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.