When debt becomes too much for a person or family to handle, looking for relief from one’s financial obligations is a normal thing to do. There are a lot of options out there, but which is the best? The answer to that question will be different for everyone. For Tennessee residents who think bankruptcy is the right way to go, taking a means test can help them figure out for which type of bankruptcy they may qualify.

How does the means test work? With this test, there are no right or wrong answers. There is nothing to stress over. It simply involves inputting and comparing a few numbers.

First, one will need to look at his or her income level, expenses and number of people living in the household. Then, one will need to find the state’s median income level. If one’s income level is lower than the state median income level or one’s disposable income is insufficient to pay debts, one will pass the means test and qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What if one fails the means test? This means that one’s income level is deemed sufficient enough to make payments to creditors. This does not mean bankruptcy is off the table. It just means that it may be necessary to pursue a Chapter 13 — reorganization — bankruptcy rather than a Chapter 7 — liquidation — bankruptcy.

Tennessee residents who are thinking about pursuing bankruptcy can turn to legal counsel for guidance on the matter. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help determine if bankruptcy, in any of its forms, is the right choice for one’s financial situation. If it is not, legal counsel may offer other debt relief options. If it is, the lawyer can help take care of the paperwork and represent the client’s interests before the bankruptcy court.