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When you don't have the means to meet your debt obligations

If you are one of the many Ohio residents who does not have the means to pay off your debts, you are not alone. Struggling to meet debt obligations is something that happens to numerous people at some point in their lives. The question is, what will you do about it?

There are various debt relief options that may be available to help you. Bankruptcy, for example, though not perfect, can grant you a fresh financial start — if you qualify. How do I know if I qualify for a bankruptcy filing? This is why the means test was created.

Filling out a means test

Completing a means test is actually fairly simple. In order to do it you will need to gather information about your personal income and find out the current median income level for the state. You can obtain this information by reviewing your personal records and by looking at the latest census records.

Took the test, what does it mean?

After filling out the means test form, it may just look like a big jumble of numbers that don't mean anything. Once you know what to look for, though, reading the means test is pretty easy. It is all a matter of comparing your information to the state numbers.

In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing — meaning the court will discharge your debts if approved — your income has to be less than the state's median income. If your income is higher than that, you may file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy — meaning a repayment schedule is put in action if approved. It may be possible to still pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your income is higher than the state's median if your disposable income — money left after paying allowable expenses — is lacking. Allowable expenses include:

  • Reasonable transportation costs
  • Reasonable housing
  • Reasonable necessities

Your idea of reasonable and the court's may not be the same. Your attorney can review your current expenses and let you know if they qualify.

Seek financial freedom

Wanting financial freedom is a desirable goal. No one wants the pressure that comes with having a mountain of debt that was likely gained from circumstances beyond their control. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you pursue the debt relief option that will grant you a fresh start.

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