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Express Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you are a homeowner and are interested in applying for a modification of your mortgage loan while you are in bankruptcy, see the “Home Loan Modifications” page on this website.

An Express Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most desired kind of consumer bankruptcy. It is quick (about 3 months, start-to-finish), it is inexpensive ($1,850, including $338 court filing fee) and you can discharge (erase) of all your unsecured debt while keeping all your assets.

You can qualify for an Express Chapter 7 if you meet all the requirements listed below. If you have any questions about any of the requirements or need additional explanation of the requirements, feel free to call me at 917-414-6795. I do not charge for phone consultations.

If you do not qualify for an Express Chapter 7, you may still qualify for a Full Service Chapter 7. Please refer to that page on this website for more information.


Express Chapter 7 Requirements:

  1. You live within the five boroughs of New York City.

  2. You have not filed another Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within the last 8 years.

  3. Your debt consists mostly of unsecured debt such as credit cards and personal loans, and/or secured loans on leased or financed cars.

  4. You don’t own (alone or with another party) real property (house, condo, coop, vacant land) anywhere in the world and you have not owned real property anywhere in the world within the last seven years. 

  5. You do not own (alone or with another party) your own business.

  6. You are not trying to discharge (erase) past income taxes.

  7. You are not suing anyone for anything, such as personal injury or medical malpractice, that might win you a cash award

  8. You have not used your credit cards within the last 90 days for anything other than in moderate amounts for such necessities such as food, gas etc.

  9. You have not paid back a loan of significance to anyone within the last 3 months, or to a family member within the last year.

  10. If you do have a retirement account such as a 401k or an IRA, you started or opened it yourself and you did not inherit it or have it transferred to you as a gift.

  11. Outside of regular monthly loan or credit card payments, within the last 90 days you have not paid a significant amount of money to anyone you owed money to for a service they performed in the past. For example, you did not recently pay a significant outstanding bill to a general contractor for work on your home, or to a dentist, a doctor, or an attorney from a previous matter. 

  12. Your assets (furniture, car, clothes, collectibles, cash & cash equivalents) are of modest value. This is vague, I know, but to explain the federal exemption laws to you in this small space would not only take up too much of your time, but also probably bore you to death, I suggest that if you meet every other qualification on this list and are worried that you have too much money in the bank or your car has too much equity or your furniture is too valuable, call me to discuss. Again, phone consultations are free.

  13. Finally, your combined household income – meaning your income combined with your spouse’s income after taxes and basic living expenses are deducted –  must not exceed the allowed New York State income levels for your size family.


The allowed income levels, as of May 1, 2022, are:

1 Member Household - $47,414.00
2 Member Household - $59,631.00
3 Member Household - $70,151.00
4 Member Household - $83,614.00
5 Member Household - $91,714.00

Very important:

These figures are after taxes and basic living expenses are deducted. A two-person household could actually have a gross income of, say, $80,000 per year and still qualify once taxes and basic living expenses are deducted. Again, if you meet all the other qualifications listed here but are not sure you can pass this income test, call me to discuss.

An Express Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be a vital step in putting your debt behind you and gaining you a fresh start in your finances, but like all areas of the law, bankruptcy is full of hidden pitfalls that only an experienced attorney like me can make sure you avoid. Call me today at 917-414-6795. One more time: phone consultations are free.

The fee for an Express Chapter 7 is $1,835, including the mandatory $338 court filing fee and the cost of two mandatory online courses. A $500 deposit is required with the remainder to be paid before your petition is filed.

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