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Bankruptcy in West Virginia

Are there any income requirements for filing bankruptcy in West Virginia?

The answer to this question depends upon whether you plan on filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  In the case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the answer is no.  There are no income requirements in order to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  In the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the answer is yes.  In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must be able to prove that you lack the resources necessary in order to pay back your debts.  This is done by utilizing a means test.  A means test compares your annual income to the state average in order to determine whether you truly have the means with which to pay back your debts.  If your income is below the state average, you have met the income requirements and will be permitted to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If I am married, do I have to file with my spouse West Virginia?

In short, the answer to this question is no.  There is absolutely no law that requires married couples in West Virginia to file a joint petition for bankruptcy.  There are however, laws which offer benefits to married couples who choose to file jointly.  In order to determine whether or not you will benefits by filing a joint petition, it is best to consult with a bankruptcy attorney.  Your bankruptcy attorney will help you to determine each spouses legal responsibility to pay back each of your debts.  If you determine that both spouses are in fact responsible for the majority of your debt, you may wish to file a joint petition to discharge those joint debts.

What are the property exemption rules in West Virginia?

The property exemption rules in West Virginia are as follows:

Homestead exemption of up to $25,000

Up to $2,400 of equity in one motor vehicle

Up to $8,000 in in household furnishings, household goods, clothing, appliances, books, animals, crops and musical instruments with no one item having a value over $400

Up to $1,000 in jewelry

Up to $1,500 in books or tools of your trade

Will all of my debts be discharged as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in West Virginia?

Not all debts will be discharged as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in West Virginia.  In fact, some types of debts are not able to be considered for discharge as part of these proceedings.  These debts include any and all debts which have been secured by the use of collateral of any kind.

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