The Means Test For Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy means test essentially determines whether a person can file Chapter 7 or must file under a different chapter of the bankruptcy code, such as Chapter 13 or Chapter 11. Individuals whose income is low enough may file Chapter 7, but those who fail the means test must file Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 to repay a portion or all of their debts.

The means test was implemented to limit the number of Chapter 7 filings to individuals who simply and truly cannot pay their debts.  It is based on your level of income in relation to the median (average) income in California.  If your income level is below the state average, you may file Chapter 7.  If your income level is above the state average, the calculation becomes more complex, but you may still be able to file.

It is important to note that you should consult an attorney who focuses on bankruptcy before doing any of the following:

  • Short sell your residence to prevent foreclosure
  • Return an automobile to prevent repossession
  • Spend any of your retirement funds to pay your creditors

Whatever the outcome of your means test, it is prudent to consult a bankruptcy professional to help you determine the best course of action.


  • Red Hill Law Group really knows their stuff. They certainly don’t try to push you into bankruptcy. They carefully explained everything, including how a short sale could impact you, and how sometimes it’s better to file Chapter 13, keep your house and make payments. They really seem to care about their clients and that’s very important to me. I recommend them highly.


  • The team at Red Hill Law Group took the time to explain our options and how they could help us climb out from under what seemed a mountain of debt.  Bert Briones was so professional, responsive and understanding of our situation it gave us the reassurance we needed to move forward.    I would recommend the Red Hill Law Group team to anyone struggling with credit card debt and unsure of what next steps to take.

  • Bert and his staff are truly exceptional. They treated me with respect and the utmost sensitivity. They were always easy to reach by phone too, which is huge. Altogether, working with them was a very positive experience for me, and I could not recommend them highly enough.

  • They made my hard situation so easy for me.  Accomodated my work schedule and so down to earth and friendly.  Told me exactly what to expect up front and every thing went exactly as planned.  Kelly, Bert’s assistant, was awesome too.  She is sweet, professional and organized!

  • Red Hill Law Group has helped in a way that would have been impossible for me to do on my own. They have negotiated on my behalf and have come up with a reasonable re-payment plan with my creditors.  Although this has been a long journey for me I look forward to the day that I am completely debt free and I will owe that respect to this law group.

  • Red Hill Law Group has been very helpful and resourceful. I was treated with respect and care.  The results were beyond my expectations.

Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney Bert Briones

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Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy Lawyer in Orange County CA.

Call 949-468-0915 for a FREE consultation today.
Learn if Chapter 7 is right for you or if Chapter 13 is a better option.