Kansas – the land of prairies, farmland and the birthplace of former president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, it’s hard to enjoy yourself, Kansas residents, when you’re caught up in a tornado of medical and credit card bills. Don’t let your debt pile up so high that you can’t enjoy the little things in life, especially when your debt can be dissolved with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Get a Fresh Start in Kansas with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Creditors can wreak havoc on your paycheck and bank account, garnishing both to knock down your unpaid debt. They can damage your health too, since the stress of avoiding those that you owe money to and trying to live on what little is left after the garnishments are done can leave you with migraine headaches, nervous breakdowns and worse.
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, also known as a straight or liquid bankruptcy because it wipes your slate clean, can solve these problems by wiping out most of your debt, leaving you with a clean slate. You’ll be able to stop hiding under your mountain of unpaid bills and start living (and enjoying) your life.
Think You Won’t Qualify Kansas Residents? Guess Again!
Filing for bankruptcy isn’t as easy as finding a lawyer and filling out a form. The entire process can take at around six months to complete, but once you file you will not have to field phone calls from angry debt collectors in the meantime. (Your attorney will act as a mediator between you and your creditor during your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 in Kansas, you must be at or under the following income limits or you must pass a means test:
- Family of 1 - $41,654
- Family of 2 - $57,174
- Family of 3 - $64,863
- Family of 4 - $69,272
- Family bigger than 4 - add $7,500 for each person
If you make more than the income levels listed in the table above, you still might be able to file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy thanks to the means test. According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, if your income exceeds the specified limits for your state, your attorney can use the test to determine if your debts are excessive. This test uses a mathematical process with your financial information to determine your worthiness for bankruptcy. Those who do not meet the income requirements for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may need to meet with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney to discuss another type of Chapter filing.
Do All My Debts Get Discharged in a Bankruptcy, Chapter 7?
Debts like credit cards, medical bills and old tax debts, among others, will vanish once your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is approved by the courts. However, some debts just can’t be discharged, no matter how low your income is and how well you qualify for a Chapter 7. These non-dischargeable debts include any alimony or child support, student loans, and certain types of recently filed tax debts or liens. Your bankruptcy lawyer will able to give you the specifics.
In order to file, you’ll need a few pieces of paperwork. Normally you’ll need to present your attorney with:
- Last year’s tax return, plus that of your spouse
- A list of every debt that you owe, whether they are dischargeable or not
- Past six months' worth of your pay stubs
Your bankruptcy attorney will take all of this information and use it to fill out your Chapter 7 petition. The petition is a set of documents that is filed with the court. A judge and a trustee representing your creditors look it over to declare whether you can, indeed, go bankrupt.
You will be required to take two courses, called Debtor’s Education classes. Each course lasts about 90 minutes long and can be taken over the Internet or on the phone. These courses go over information about financial management and budgeting. They are required by the bankruptcy court in order to successfully complete your Chapter 7 case.
What about My House?
Those who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas can still keep some property and assets. Bankruptcy Chapter 7 filers qualify for state exemptions for the state of Kansas. Some states let debtors choose between state or federal exemptions, but Kansas residents are restricted to the state exemption laws. While the amount and type of each of these exemptions can change from year to year.
The Kansas bankruptcy exemptions include:
- Homestead exemption: Your home along with 160 acres of farm land is 100% exempt.
- Personal property:
- Furniture, clothing, and food – 100%
- Jewelry and accessories - $1,000
- Burial plot or cemetery lot – 100%
- Books, tools, farm equipment – Group limit of $7,500
- Vehicle: Up to $20,000 in value
- Benefits for all of the following employees are 100% exempt:
- State employees
- School employees
- Public employees
- Additional benefits:
- 100% Fraternal Benefit Society benefits100%
- 100% Worker's compensation benefits
- 100% Unemployment compensation benefits
- 100% Certain funds and benefits of retirement plan or IRA qualified by the IRS
- 100% Federal civil service disability and death benefits
- Pensions – includes 100% of the following:
- 100% United States pension benefits for three months if necessary to support family
- 100% Interests in pension or profit sharing plans--Foreign Service employees
- 100% Medal of Honor exemption (special pensions for persons on Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard Medal of Honor roll)
- 100% Veterans Administration benefits
- Insurance – includes 100% of:
- Crop insurance proceeds
- Railroad unemployment insurance
- Insurance proceeds and other interests
Other exemptions may apply to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Not all exemptions will be available to you, so it is best to check with your attorney before you file to see which ones will help your financial situation the most. He or she may be able to recommend a certain strategy when claiming specific exemptions.
Getting caught up in a whirlwind of bills and debt is not a good way to live. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help ease your financial burden. Get a hold of a local Chapter 7 attorney today.
Kansas Bankruptcy Court
Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse
500 State Avenue, Room 161
Kansas City, Kansas 66101-2400
Phone: (913) 735-2110
Frank Carlson Federal Building and
United States Courthouse
444 Southeast Quincy Street, Room 240
Topeka, Kansas 66683
Phone: (785) 338-5910
United States Courthouse
401 North Market Street, Room 167
Wichita, Kansas 67202-2000
Phone: (316) 315-4110