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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

How Much Debt Do I Need to File Bankruptcy?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: March 25, 2014

A common question is: How Much Debt Do I Need To Have in order to file for bankruptcy?

The answer is simple: It is all relative to your family income and living expenses. If you cannot pay your living expenses and keep up with your bills, then bankruptcy may be a great financial solution for you.

We have a wide variety of clients. Some people earn very little income each month. Some people earn a sizable sum each month. Different types of bankruptcies offer financial relief for all groups of people and varieties of income. That is why I say that it is all relative to Your unique situation. It’s free to meet with me to find out your options.

The different bankruptcy chapters provide different strategies for solving your financial situation. Maybe you just need a little time to catch up on things. In that situation, a Chapter 13 would probably work fine for you. Maybe you have had a house foreclosed with a 2nd mortgage and now the 2nd mortgage lender is suing you for the entire balance. In that situation, a Chapter 7 may be a great choice.

The goal of bankruptcy relief is so that you can regain control of your financial situation and give you an incentive to go to work, earn income, pay income taxes and provide for you and your family.

When you’re in debt, you’re constantly under stress that never lets up. Creditors may be calling your home, cell phone, or your employer. You may be getting threatening letters or emails. But when is enough enough? How much do you have to owe before you can seek relief through bankruptcy?

The answer isn’t as simple as one number. Bankruptcy is not determined by how much you owe. Before filing for bankruptcy, you have to go through something called a means test, which determines what category you fall into: those who can pay off debt on their own, those who can pay off debt with the help of a payment plan, and those who cannot pay off their debt.

Keep in mind that the debt you can discharge during bankruptcy does not include alimony, child support, student loans to accredited institutions, back taxes, and some debts incurred 180 prior to bankruptcy or any debt incurred after filing.

Over the past 22 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More