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It depends on a number of factors. Most specifically, it depends on whether or not you have filed a Ch7 in the past, and if you are above or below the median income level (for your particular household size). These factors are discussed more thoroughly below:
The Bankruptcy Code states clearly that if you have filed a Missouri Chapter 7 in the past, then you have to wait a full eight (8) years before you may file another one. So for instance, if you filed a St. Louis Chapter 7 in 2010, then you would be eligible again for another Ch7 in 2018. But that doesn’t mean you are out of options! If this set of circumstances applies to you, then you can file a St Louis Chapter 13.
The other factor that plays a role in whether or not you can file a Ch7 is your total household income (whether it is wages from your job, governmental benefits, business profits, or rental income). So let’s say you are a household of four (you and your spouse, and two minor children). According to the state of Missouri (and the federal government), the average or median income for such a household is: $72,711. And let’s also assume that your total household income is: $56,000. In this scenario, you are clearly below the median income level for a household of four. Assuming you haven’t filed a Ch7 within the last eight years, then you would qualify for a Chapter 7.
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But what if you are above the median income level? What if instead of a household income of $56,000, your household income is closer to $90,000? In that type of situation, the court would require that you do a St Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which is described as a repayment plan over the course of three to five years).
However, there is an exception to this general rule (the rule in which you cannot file a Ch7 if you are above the median income level). It is the Business Case rule. And it basically looks like this: if the majority of your debt (51%) is business-related, then the rules described above about the median income levels are not used. So for instance, if over half of your unsecured and secured debts (whether it is credit cards, personal loans, and/or real estate) is attributable to your business, then it doesn’t matter what your household income is. The court grants an exception to the rule, and will allow you to do a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been saving and protecting people’s assets for years. Our goal is to make sure that you keep the assets and property you want, discharge the debts that you want to get rid of, and do it all at an affordable cost to you. All phone conversations and office consultations are free of charge.