Ground Zero Nowhere To Go But Up: Means Testing, Bankruptcy Definitions – Debtor & Fresh Start, Reorganization Plan and Debt Relief Agency

First, we will start at the legal beginning, the United States Constitution. Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to enact “uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies.” Next, we had different bankruptcy acts, until 1978 when Congress enacted the uniform Bankruptcy Code in 1978. The Bankruptcy Code is called Title 11 of the United States Code, and over the years it has been amended. However, the Bankruptcy Code, and therefore debt relief for individuals, has never been repealed by Congress. Congress cannot deprive or take away our Constitutional right to debt relief. Recently, in April and October, 2005, Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code, and imposed, among other things, means testing. I do not recommend to anyone to try to learn how to calculate his or her “projected monthly disposable income” in a Chapter 13 or whether the “presumption for abuse” arises in a Chapter 7. Oklahoma Bankruptcy Lawyer, Dan Nunley wrote an excellent article on his weblog. Click here to read it.

Title 11 of the United States Code is the United States Bankruptcy Code (the Code). Section 101 is called Definitions, and states, “in this title – the following definitions apply: Subsection (13) The term “debtor” means person … which a case under this title has been commenced.” In other words, a debtor is a person who has filed a bankruptcy case. Again a debtor is a person with rights under the laws of the United States and the States.

There are three main types of bankruptcy cases that debtors file. The first type is a Chapter 7, which is a Fresh Start bankruptcy, and most of the debtors’ debts are discharged, eliminated, wiped out. Chapter 11 is sometimes used by debtors who owe a substantial amount of money or do not need to file a Chapter 7 or the next type, a Chapter 13. A Chapter 13 Reorganization is filed to stop foreclosure on a debtor’s home and to stop repossession of a debtor’s automobile. A Chapter 13 Reorganization Plan is filed to give debtors 36-60 months to get back on their feet.

I have been specially designated by Congress as a Debt Relief Agency. I also help people to eliminate debt or reorganize their debt by filing for relief under the bankruptcy code. I am proud to tell anyone about my law practice which has been limited exclusively to representing debtors in United States Bankruptcy Courts 6 years, and I have helped thousands of people. I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA).