During a typical consultation with a consumer bankruptcy attorney, one central question is often whether the individual or married couple really need to file a bankruptcy or whether there is an easier, less consequential, remedy available. The answer will often be the same whether the clients reside in Pennsylvania or another state. The bottom line issue in deciding whether a bankruptcy is the best remedy under the circumstances is to determine whether the amount of debt far exceeds the ability to realistically ever pay it off.
Many people with excessively high medical expenses and/or runaway credit card debt cannot realistically pay back that debt; some simple budgetary analysis will show why. When reasonable monthly payments are calculated on the basis of reduced debt balances, even with no additional fees or interest, and the result is nonetheless a payment plan that will take many years of hard struggle to complete, that may be an indication that the debt load is too steep. Remember that “reasonable” monthly payments are not what one would fantasize on paying, but what one can pay realistically each month, and still survive financially.
The best way to get true relief from overwhelming unsecured debt, and obtain hope for future financial freedom, is to seek bankruptcy relief. The promise of the federal bankruptcy laws pertaining to intractable consumer debt is that the consumer will get a “fresh start.” The federal laws authorizing the “clean slate” provisions pertaining to unsecured debt recognize that it does none of the parties any good to extend an impossible debt load indefinitely into the future.
However, there are standards that must be met for an individual or married couple to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. There is a “means test” that is performed to determine one’s qualifications, which is based on the amount of income earned by the debtor and taking into account certain normal expense factors. If the client/s earn too much then they will not be able to file Chapter 7. Nevertheless, statistics show that most average consumers in Pennsylvania who seek this relief are qualified to do so.
Source: stltoday.com, “Is Bankruptcy the Answer to My Debt Problem? : Business”, Karen Price Mueller, Jan. 31, 2016