If I fail the Means Test, can a judge allow me to file anyway?
Yes, a judge can allow you to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy even if you fail the means test, but only you are able able to show "special circumstances."
Some examples of possible "special circumstances" are job loss or pay cut, a serious medical condition, or unusually high child care expenses. You must be able to produce proof of your expenses and that your expenses are reasonable -- and that you have no reasonable alternative.
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A judge can still bar you from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy if the "totality of the circumstances" under707(b)(3) make it appear you are "abusing" the process.
Priority claims are debts that must be paid before all other debts. They include alimony, child support, wages you owe to workers, and unpaid taxes.
The 2005 Bankruptcy Law (BAPCPA) created the means test, ostensibly to prevent people from abusing bankruptcy. The means test mans you can't file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your income is above the median income for your state, or your allowed expenses leave enough disposable income to fund pay some of your debts over 5 years. In fact, most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy have no trouble passing the means test.