Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated September 3, 2020
If you are thinking about filing a Hawaii bankruptcy, you are not alone. Many people have filed bankruptcy in Hawaii due to the high cost of living to help them start over. According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawaii, the number of Hawaii bankruptcy filings in May grew double digits over the same month last year. Bankruptcy can be a tool to help relieve you of overwhelming debt and get you back on the path to enjoying your life in the Aloha State. If you have determined that you want to move forward with filing bankruptcy, you will need to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hawaii. In 2005, Congress implemented the Means Test which reformed the Bankruptcy laws to prevent people from filing fraudulent bankruptcy cases. The implementation of the Chapter 7 Means Test prevented people with high incomes from wiping out all of their debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy Means Test in Hawaii takes your household income and averages it over the last six months. It then compares your average household income to the median income of a similar-sized household in Hawaii. If you make less than the median income for a family of the same size in Hawaii, you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. If you make more than the median income, you have to complete the second part of the bankruptcy Means Test in Hawaii to calculate your disposable income after expenses.
Hawaii Median Income Levels
Hawaii Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Discharge in Bankruptcy for Hawaii
A Hawaii bankruptcy discharge is what you want when you file for bankruptcy relief. The Hawaii bankruptcy discharge allows you to walk away from certain debts. In other words, you are no longer required to pay your creditors back. The Hawaii Bankruptcy Court will grant you a discharge prohibiting creditors from going after you for the debts, once you completed all required steps in your Hawaii bankruptcy case. It is important to note that not all debts are dischargeable. Non-dischargeable debts are debts that will survive your bankruptcy, and you have to keep paying them. The discharge time varies depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you file. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Court usually grants the discharge approximately 60 days after the first date set for your 341 hearing. You should know that a discharge is not guaranteed. The Bankruptcy Court can deny your discharge for many reasons, so it’s important that you follow the proper steps to ensure your bankruptcy moves along smoothly.
Hawaii Means Test Calculator
To help you with your Chapter 7 Means Test, especially the calculations in part 2 of the bankruptcy Means Test in Hawaii you can use a Hawaii Means Test Calculator. If you do a simple online search you will find many online Means Test calculators. It’s important to note that figures for the Hawaii Means Test Calculator are updated every few months and many of these calculators may be outdated. Making sure that your calculations are correct is extremely important because if they are wrong you may think you failed the Chapter 7 Means Test even though you really didn’t. We encourage you to use the tools we provide at Upsolve. Our calculators are kept current so you can rely on the information we provide. Upsolve is a nonprofit organization that can help you complete your Hawaii bankruptcy for free.
What Happens If I Fail The Means Test for Hawaii?
If you fail the Chapter 7 Means Test, you may want to start by reviewing the information you entered to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes. Even a slight mistake can throw off the calculation. If you still don’t qualify, then you may want to review your expenses to make sure you didn’t forget anything. Some of the most common forgotten expenses are taxes, involuntary deductions, disability, term life insurance, mortgage payments, car payments, other secured debt payments, Court-ordered payments, child care, healthcare, education for employment or a disabled child, charitable contributions, expenses for the care of a person who is elderly, chronically ill, or has a disability, and, in some cases, expenses for limited special circumstances. Since the Chapter 7 Means Test averages your last six months, if your income changes you may qualify down the road. So, if you still don’t qualify after reviewing your expenses, you may be able to wait a few months to see if you qualify. If you have exhausted all of your options, then Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be in your best interest. If you still don’t qualify then you may want to speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer. Often times, bankruptcy lawyers give free consultations for Hawaii bankruptcy matters, so you may as well take advantage of it.