Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Vermont: 2 Things You Need to Know

Facing debt without the proper resources can be an incredibly difficult situation to navigate. Therefore, we’ve written this article on Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Vermont and other possible alternatives. Before getting started, however, we’d like you to keep the following questions in mind:
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.
  1. Do you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and if so, how much does it cost to file?
  2. Are there any other options that might better fit your situation?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry as we’ll cover all these points below. But if you prefer visuals, you can also use the Vermont Chapter 7 Calculator below to get an estimate of your qualifications and cost.

1) How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works in Vermont

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

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 valuable assets that might exceed the Vermont 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 Vermont

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 Tucson, 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 Vermont filing fee waiver for all the details.

How Do I Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Vermont?

When reviewing whether you qualify for Chapter 7, you may want to check the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Vermont 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, and credit card debts.

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 Vermont Means Test

A tool to help you determine your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Vermont 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 Vermont. If your median income turns out to be below the Vermont 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 Vermont

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 Vermont Income Limits

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

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$63,114
2$84,727
3$107,553
4$127,123
5$137,023
6$146,923
7$156,823
8$166,723
9$176,623

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

Exemptions are important to take into consideration as they help protect assets against seizure from creditors. In Vermont, there are a few main exemptions to be aware of.

The first of which is the homestead exemption. This will protect up to $125,000 regardless of age or marital status.

Other exemptions include a $2,500 motor vehicle exemption and a $1,512,350 exemption for retirement accounts. Vermont also allows for federal exemptions, which means you need to carefully decide which system you’d like to use.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Vermont 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 Vermont

a) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Vermont

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 Vermont 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.

Conclusion

After reading about Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Vermont, you should have a clearer understanding of the requirements and potential alternatives. To quickly assess your eligibility and estimated costs, use the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test calculator below.

Furthermore, for a more comprehensive exploration of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, refer to this guide we’ve written. It provides an in-depth breakdown of the steps and expectations from start to finish.

Finally, if you’re interested in minimizing attorney fees and are open to taking on some responsibilities yourself, we have an article on filing bankruptcy without an attorney. You can access it here: filing bankruptcy without an attorney.

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