Who can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition?

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
An individual who files a voluntary Chapter Seven bankruptcy petition must, first of all, either have a 'domicile ' (DAHM-uh-syle) in the U-S-- that is, a place of official or legal residence-- have a place of business in the U-S, or own property in the U-S. An 'alien'-- that is, a non-U-S citizen-- can file a bankruptcy petition, as long as he or she satisfies at least one of those requirements. Under the law, minor children, and insane people can also file petitions, usually through a guardian or trustee. To file Chapter Seven, you must not have been granted a Chapter Seven discharge within the last six years or completed a Chapter Thirteen plan, although if you're in the process of filing Chapter Thirteen, you can convert it to Chapter Seven. You must not have had a bankruptcy filing dismissed for cause within the last one-hundred and eighty days. You may be employed, self-employed, or even UNemployed, and you do not have to be insolvent. There's no limitation on the total amount of debt you owe in order to qualify for Chapter Seven relief. Spouses may file a joint case with a single petition in Chapter Thirteen, but a joint case must be voluntary, so you can't file without your spouse's knowledge and consent. Individuals who DON'T qualify for relief in a Chapter Seven liquidation are sole proprietors operating either a railroad, insurance company, a bank, or similar type of financial organization.
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