BAPCPA is shorthand for the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which President Bush signed into law during his term as President of the United States. It made significant changes to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. The major change is that people across the country, including here in Florida, have to qualify for Chapter 7 before they are allowed to file.
The first hurdle that potential filers need to deal with is the means test. Every state, including Florida, has a median income assigned to it. If your income is less than that number, you qualify to file Chapter 7 and do not have to continue with the means test. If your income is higher than the median, you will then be required to provide additional information. Your disposable income must be less than $100 per month for the next five years unless you can prove that special circumstances necessitate a Chapter 7 filing instead of Chapter 13.
Passing the means test is just part of what the BAPCPA requires of Chapter 7 filers. Credit counseling and financial management courses are now a necessary part of the process. In addition, filers must provide the trustee with tax returns and any other documentation requested to ensure that the filer is unable to make payments to creditors.
The BAPCPA has changed the way that filers and their attorneys approach the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. Failing to meet even one of the requirements could result in a dismissal of the case. In order to prevent that eventuality, it would be a good idea to engage a Florida attorney who practices in the field of bankruptcy.