What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
- Filers of Chapter 7 bankruptcy must pass a federal means test (see Resources section) in order to pursue their case. Those who make too much money must repay part of their debts through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Government student loans can rarely be included in Chapter 7. Exceptions are made if a permanent disability hindering repayment is proven and accepted by the court, or if the school has since ceased operations.
- Family debts such as alimony and child support may not be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
- To successfully pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor must complete an approved credit counseling course (see Resources section) and prove this to the court.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy is listed on a consumer's credit file for 10 years, but the debts included will show a zero balance on the reports.
- Most personal property can be kept in a Chapter 7 case, including retirement accounts. However, stocks and home equity are usually seized to help counteract any creditor losses.
- Taxes less than three years old may not be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. In addition, charging items 90 days or less before filing Chapter 7 is not advised, as this could lead to an accusation of bankruptcy fraud.