Every six months, specifically in May and November of each year, the United States Department of Justice updates the Median Family Income figures in every state. In turn, these figures determine whether an individual or a couple qualify to file a Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. More specifically, if your income is below the median income for your household size in your state, then you most likely qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy; however, if your median income is above the income allowed for your family size in your state, then you will have to file under Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
How do I know if my income qualifies for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida?
You will have to pass something called the MEANS Test in order to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida. The MEANS Test is more or less a comparison between your income over the last six months and your household size.
The Median Family Income in Florida as of November 1, 2016 are:
- Family size of 1: $3,668 per month, or $44,021 per year;
- Family size of 2: $4,555 per month, or $54,655 per year;
- Family size of 3: $4,990 per month, or $49,881 per year;
- Family size of 4: $5,957 per month, or $71,480 per year;
- Family size of 5: $6,657 per month, or $79,880 per year;
- Family size of 6: $7,657 per month, or $88,280 per year,
- Family size of 7: $8,057 per month, or $96,680 per year.
For each additional family member you have, you can add $7,500 per year.
Therefore, if you are married and have two children, you are a household size of four. Since the median household income for a household of four in Florida is $5,957 per month or $71,480 per year, then you and your spouse would have to make $5,957 or less per month in order to qualify to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida. If you and your spouse make more than $5,597 per month, then you will have to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy instead.
Luckily, with the example above, if you and your spouse make over $5,957 per month there might be a few exceptions the Means Test can offer which could help you qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. This is where you would have to complete part (b) of the MEANS Test. Part (b) of the MEANS Test automatically gives you certain deductions that are set by the United States Bankruptcy Code and then defined per state for healthcare, medical expenses, charitable donation(s), school expenses, utilities, etc.
As an illustration, and in addition to the deductions you are given automatically, if you have a mortgage on your homestead residence, your monthly mortgage payment could be used as an exemption. Likewise, if your vehicle is financed, then your monthly car payment can also be used as an exemption to help you qualify for a Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy in the Jacksonville or surrounding areas and are concerned that you might not qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, then it is always a good idea to first meet and get the advice of an experienced Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney. Not only can an attorney help you determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or not, but an experienced bankruptcy attorney can also help you determine whether bankruptcy is your best option and what assets you have that might be at risk.
If you’d like to discuss your particular situation with an experienced Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney, then contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman today for your free initial consultation.