Once a client has determined that bankruptcy is the correct option for them we need to determine what type of bankruptcy they can qualify for. The buzz word that I hear clients, that come into my office, throw around is the Means Test. The client has either read online about the means test or has previously spoken to a bankruptcy attorney regarding filing for bankruptcy. So what is the means test?
The very simple answer is the means test is a test to determine what chapter bankruptcy a debtor is eligible for and if it a chapter 13 bankruptcy how many years their repayment plan should be. The first question to that needs to be answered before going through the means test is to determine what the debtor’s median income is and compare it to that of the state of Florida. The median income considers all the debtor’s source of income, excluding social security, to determine a monthly median income.
The most recent Florida Census Bureau Median Family income are as follows (based on household size):
1 Person – $41,939 annually or $3,495 monthly
2 Person – $52,598 annually or $4,383 monthly
3 Person – $54,742 annually or $4,562 monthly
4 Person – $64,122 annually or $5,344 monthly
5 Person – $72,222 annually or $6,019 monthly
6 Person – $80,322 annually or $6,694 monthly
Additional persons are $8,100 annually.
What does this mean to you?
How the median income applies to you will depend solely on whether you are filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida
If you are under the median income for your family size then you automatically pass the means test but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A debtor must analyze their monthly income subtracted by their monthly expenses to determine if there would be abuse of the bankruptcy law.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Florida
If you are under the median income for your family size then your Chapter 13 repayment plan will only be for three(3) years, unless you want to extend it to five(5). If you are over the median income for your family size then you are required to do a five (5) year Chapter 13 repayment plan.
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy in South Florida, whether it is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 and would like to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney, then feel free to give our office a call at 954.309.5559 or 305.741.5553.