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Chapter 7

Eliminate or Reduce Your Debt


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Typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

Step 1

Set up a
FREE
CONSULTATION
with Attorney Santomauro

Step 2

PROVIDE
FINANCIAL
INFORMATION
to complete bankruptcy petition.

Step 3

Complete a Required Pre-filing
CREDIT
COUNSELING
COURSE

Step 4

FILE
PETITION
and receive an automatic stay that forces creditors to stop calling.

Step 5

Complete the required
DEBTOR
EDUCATION
COURSE

Step 6

Attend the
BANKRUPTCY
341(a)
MEETING
with Attorney Santomauro

Step 7

A few weeks after the 341(a) meeting receive official
DISCHARGE
and start a new financial chapter.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal way to help you wipe out (dischrage) your unsecured debt. There is some debt you will not be able to discharge such as student loans, taxes and child support payments. Under the Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules in Pennsylvania you will be allowed to keep necessities such as your home and car (considered secure debt) unless the property in question is determined to be non-exempt. On average, the bankruptcy process takes 4-6 months.

Overview of Chapter 7 Bankrutpcy in Pennsylvania

Individuals and married couples in Pennsylvania who want to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 essentially petition the Bankruptcy Court in their district to discharge their incurred debt. A successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will discharge, or eliminate, your debts by using property and assets you own to pay off the debt, except for property and assets which are exempt, by law, that you are allowed to keep. A first step in determining if you qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to compare your annual household income and size with the Pennsylvania median annual income and household size.

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Means Test

The Pennsylvania means test applies to individuals and married couples who have a higher annual income level. In essence, if your annual household size and income is below the Pennsylvania median household level for the same size, then you would be exempt from the means test and may file a Pennsylvania Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if your annual household income is higher than the Pennsylvania median household annual income of the same size, you would have to complete the means test calculation to determine if you can pay back a portion of your unsecured debt. In that case, you would not qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, instead you would consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You may also be exempt from the means test if you are a veteran who incurred your debt during active military duty.

Compare Your Annual Household Income and Size with the Pennsylvania Median Income and Size

Only those individuals or married couples whose average household income is below the Pennsylvania median income for the same household size are exepmt from completing the means test and would qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. To determine your annual income simply multiply your last six months average household income by 12 then compare that to the chart below with the size of your household. For example, if over the last six months your average monthly household income was $2,000.00, when you multiply that by 12, your annual household income would be $24,000. How many people are in your household? Just yourself ? Then your household size would be one. Is it you and your spouse? Then your household size is two, etc. Listed below is the most recent Pennsylvania median income per number of household members. Compare yours with the chart and if it is lower then you qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Some examples of the unsecured debt bankruptcy will discharge:

Unsecured Debt

Contact Us

OFFICE

Law Offices of Frank J. Santomauro, LLC
142 South Main Ave
Scranton, PA 18504

OFFICE PHONE

570-342-7787

FAX

570-342-7786

EMERGENCY PHONE

570-362-3902

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