Generally, any individual who resides in the United States is eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, the individual must satisfy the “Means Test” in order to maintain their Chapter 7 bankruptcy (please review our FAQ on the Chapter 7 Means Test).
Additionally, there are circumstances where an individual may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 Discharge. Because the goal of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually to secure a Discharge, an individual would not ordinarily file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they are not eligible for a Discharge. Some examples of when an individual would not be eligible for a Chapter 7 Discharge include:
- A Chapter 7 Discharge was granted in a bankruptcy case filed in the previous 8 years.
- A Chapter 13 Discharge was granted in a bankruptcy case filed in the previous 6 years, unless all or substantially all of the unsecured claims were paid in the previous Chapter 13 case.
- The individual concealed, transferred or destroyed property with the intent to defraud creditors or the trustee, or failed to satisfactorily explain the loss or deficiency of assets.
- The individual made false statements or claims in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, or withheld information from the trustee.
- The individual failed to complete a personal financial management course.
Even if you believe you may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge, you should still meet with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.