Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Arizona: 3 Things You Need to Know

If you're facing a challenging financial situation, not having the resources to understand your options can be overwhelming. Therefore, we've laid out this article to help those going through a similar experience.
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

If you're considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, specifically in the state of Arizona, here are a few key things to know before diving into the process:

  1. Do you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much does it cost to file in Arizona?
  2. Are there any other options that might better fit your situation?
  3. Lastly, you should be aware of some specific details about Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona. Like the two above, we'll expand on this point below to ensure you grasp the necessary information to make an informed decision.

If you prefer visuals over reading, you can also use the Arizona Chapter 7 Calculator below to get an estimate of your qualifications and cost:

1) How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works in Arizona

How Fast Do You Get Relief in A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona

It usually takes around 120 days to wrap up a no-asset Chapter 7 case in the state from start to finish. A "no-asset" bankruptcy means that you don't own any fancy houses or other valuable assets that might exceed the Arizona bankruptcy exemptions. So, if you're in a situation where you don't have an excess of assets, you could be looking at a relatively speedy resolution to your bankruptcy case.

How Much Does It Cost To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona

The price tag for Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually falls somewhere between $500 and $3000. But the cost can vary depending on what state, or even city, you live in. For example, if you're filing in Mesa or Tuscon, you might spend about $1,100. However, that fee could jump to $1,500 if you're in Phoenix.

There are also certain situations where the cost to file bankruptcy can be reduced. One example is by using a filing fee waiver. To learn more, check out the Arizona filing fee waiver for all the details.

How Do I Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona?

When reviewing whether you qualify for Chapter 7, you may want to check the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Arizona Income Limits. This test determines if you're eligible for a bankruptcy discharge (another way of saying your debts will be forgiven). If you pass the means test (you can estimate it below), Chapter 7 will cover most of your unsecured debts. Unsecured debts don't have any collateral, such as medical bills, personal loans, certain old income tax debts, old utility bills, credit card debts, and most personal judgments.

What about secured debts in Chapter 7?

If you want to wipe out secured debts such as car loans and mortgages, Chapter 7 bankruptcy might still be the answer. But the catch is that you'll have to give up the asset to the creditor, and the creditor will consider it as full payment for what you owe.

IMPORTANT: Chapter 7 Qualification via Arizona Means Test

A tool to help you determine your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona is the Bankruptcy Means Test. This form will help calculate your average annual income based on your last six months of gross income. It will then compare that number to the median income of other households in Arizona. If your median income turns out to be below the Arizona median income, you might qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.

Feel free to use the calculator below:

My Income Exceeded The Chapter 7 Means Test Allowable in Arizona

If your income is higher than the median income in your state, you might need to dive into part 2 of the means test or explore an alternative option. We encourage you to check out this helpful resource: passing the Chapter 7 means test when income exceeds the median.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Arizona Income Limits

If you're filing for bankruptcy in Arizona on or after November 1, 2023, here are the limitations for income based on household size:

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$63,717
2$80,352
3$90,789
4$103,676
5$113,576
6$123,476
7$133,376
8$143,276
9$153,176

Keep in mind that you may be able to add $9,000 for each additional individual

Will I lose my belongings if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Understand Arizona bankruptcy exemptions.

Regardless of age or marital status, you can shield up to $150,000 of your home's equity value in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona. If you sell your home, the proceeds from the sale are also exempt for up to 18 months or until you buy a new home, whichever comes first.

Most Arizonans can also protect up to $6,000 in vehicle equity, whereas disabled individuals can protect up to $12,000. However, this exception only applies to one vehicle, even if you own multiple.

Single filers are entitled to a personal exemption of $6,000, including electronics, furniture, and other personal property. This exemption is $12,000 for married filers.

One last thing to consider is that Arizona does not allow federal bankruptcy exceptions. Therefore, you will only be able to leverage the exemptions mentioned above.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Arizona Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The speed at which you can receive a discharge: In just about 120 days, you could be debt-free and on your way to building a fresh start.
  • Property exemptions: If you meet the threshold for exemptions, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to keep a good percentage of your personal property.
  • Stopping debt collection lawsuits: Once you file, the court will issue an automatic stay, preventing legal action against you, including calls and letters from collectors.
  • Loan deficiency: When you owe more on a loan than the collateral is worth, you may be stuck with a deficiency. But with bankruptcy, that burden could be lifted.

Cons

  • Income requirements for qualification: To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet specific income requirements.
  • Potential loss of home and belongings: If your assets exceed the exemption limit, there is a chance that you may have to part ways with some of your property.
  • Negative impact on credit report: Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can have a lasting effect on your credit report. It stays on record for a decade, making it challenging to secure future loans or favorable interest rates.
  • Non-dischargeable debt: It's important to note that not all debts may be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Specific obligations, such as student loans and child support payments, are typically not eligible for discharge.

2) Alternatives to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Arizona

a) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona

If you earn more than the income limit for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there's still a way to get some debt relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona allows you to restructure your debts into a more manageable monthly plan. This restructuring can help you keep your home and vehicles, help stop foreclosure, and prevent repossession of your belongings. Furthermore, you might be able to reduce any unpaid child support, alimony, and car loan payments.

Can you afford Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

If you are considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can use this calculator to help estimate whether you can manage the monthly payment.

b) Debt Settlement/Relief

Debt settlement may also be another option aside from Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once you pursue this option, the debt settlement company negotiates a lower amount on your total debt, saving you money in the long run. However, consider its impact on your credit score and do proper research to choose a well-reputable and transparent debt settlement company.

c) Debt Management

Another option is debt management. Whereas debt settlement companies work to lower the total amount of debt you owe, debt management companies work to lower your interest rates. These programs usually last 3 to 5 years and are typically a bit pricier than debt settlement. Not all creditors may be willing to work with a debt management company.

However, if you're dealing with a bunch of high-interest credit card debt, this option may reduce that interest by around 10-20%. This could translate to an eventual 30-50% savings on the debt you currently owe and allow you to pay off these debts more efficiently. Considering your situation and determining which option makes the most sense financially is essential.

d) Debt Payoff Planning

The last alternative we'll mention is debt payoff planning. This strategy does take some effort and will require you to cut your expenses and save excess income to pay down as much debt as possible. However, you can make tangible progress every month by choosing the appropriate debt payoff plan. Another thing to remember is that as you begin to pay off your debts, you will be able to compound those payments towards the remaining debts, allowing you to pay things off faster and faster.

3) Specific Arizona Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information:

Arizona Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses

When you're going through the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to complete a couple of courses to get a bankruptcy discharge. These will help you understand your financial situation and explore alternatives to bankruptcy. Once you've filed your case, there's another course you have to take called the debtor education course. This one will give you the tools and knowledge to manage your finances better in the future.

The United States Trustee's office has approved certain companies in Arizona that offer these bankruptcy courses. You can find a list of these approved companies on the UST website.

Arizona Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Court Locations

Another thing to keep in mind is the 341 meeting(s) of creditors. Due to the pandemic, many of these have been held over the phone/zoom. However, knowing where the nearest courthouse is essential if you are asked to come in person. To help with that, we will provide a list of the court locations based on the bankruptcy districts in Arizona.

District of Arizona

Addresses of U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and a Superior Court in different cities across the state:

  1. U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix: 230 N 1st Ave, Ste 101, Phoenix, AZ 85003
  2. U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tucson: 38 S Scott Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
  3. U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Yuma: 98 W 1st St, 2nd Floor, Yuma, AZ 85364
  4. AWD Building in Flagstaff: 123 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
  5. Superior Court in Bullhead City: Courtroom R, 2225 Trane Road, Bullhead City, AZ 86442

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees Arizona

If you're looking for a list of Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees in Arizona, we'll attach a list below and provide you a link to check it out here.

NamePhone
Dina L. Anderson(480) 304-8312
David A. Birdsell(480) 644-1080
Roger W. Brown(602) 274-4231
Constantino Flores(602) 274-4200
Jill H. Ford(480) 575-8250
Maureen Gaughan(480) 899-2036
Lothar H. Goernitz(602) 263-5413
Eric M. Haley(602) 218-5136
Stanley J. Kartchner(520) 742-1210
Robert A. MacKenzie(602) 229-8575
Anthony H. Mason(602) 808-7770
Brian J. Mullen(602) 283-4468
Trudy A. Nowak(480) 759-0524
David M. Reaves(602) 241-0101
Jim D. Smith(928) 783-7809
Dale D. Ulrich(602) 264-4124
Lawrence J. Warfield(480) 948-1711

Conclusion

Now that you've read all about Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona, hopefully, you're probably feeling more informed about the requirements as well as other alternatives that may be present. But if you want a quick estimate of whether you qualify and how much it might cost you, you can try the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test calculator below.

If you would like to learn more about the process of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, feel free to check out our Chapter 7 bankruptcy process for a complete rundown of what you can expect.

Lastly, if you want to save on attorney fees and don't mind doing some work yourself, we have an article about filing bankruptcy without an attorney. That article can be found here: filing bankruptcy without an attorney.

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