Do I Qualify For Bankruptcy?

The answer to this question is a definite maybe.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  You are saying to yourself:  That is a typical lawyer answer.  But, it's the truth.  The answer to this question really depends on how you define the word qualify.  If you are asking who may be a debtor in bankruptcy, meaning a person who filed for bankruptcy protection, the simple answer is yes, everyone qualifies for bankruptcy as long as they currently reside, have a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States.  You don’t even need to have a Social Security card according to the bankruptcy code.  So, in a nutshell, everyone in the United States pretty much qualifies for bankruptcy.  It doesn't mean that everyone should file for bankruptcy protection.

But, you may be wondering what a person must do to actually file for bankruptcy protection.  That is an entirely different question, and the answer to this question requires an analysis of your income, expenses, assets, and debts.  Plus, an experienced bankruptcy attorney will also inquire into all of your financial affairs and transactions to make sure you have not unwittingly run afoul of the bankruptcy code.

The reason an experienced bankruptcy attorney must dig deep is to protect you from filing a bankruptcy when it would not be in your best interest.  You do not want to be in the bankruptcy court and find out that something you should have disclosed, but didn't disclose, is found, and now it belongs to your creditors.  Likewise, you do not want to be in bankruptcy court before you find out that the $5000 you paid back to your Mom six months ago is going to be a problem.

I can tell you story after story of mistakes made by other bankruptcy attorneys who didn’t ask the right questions before filing a bankruptcy case for their clients.  It’s always easy to see the look on the attorney’s faces when the client answers a question, and the attorney knows they missed something.

So, while almost everyone qualifies for bankruptcy, not everyone will qualify to file a Chapter 7 or a chapter 13 because of their income, expenses, assets or debts.  This discussion needs to take place before you ever consider filing for bankruptcy protection.