Although individual bankruptcy filings in America have dropped down to an all-time low in 2015 since 2008, the average U.S. consumer is still accumulating a significant amount of debt. For many Americans, filing for bankruptcy may seem inevitable in the future, as they continue to drown in their debt. For those who are eager to sponsor an immigrant to America, numerous concerns may arise regarding how filing for bankruptcy may affect their ability to become a sponsor. Here are 3 things you need to know.
Ability to Become a Sponsor Is Based on Income
Filing for bankruptcy will have absolutely no effect on your ability to become a sponsor. You cannot be rejected just because you are in the midst of filing for bankruptcy, and the immigration office will not use the fact that you are filing for bankruptcy to make assumptions about your character or your overall reliability and stability. To sponsor an immigrant, you only need to prove that your total household income exceeds 125% of the poverty line.
Duty to Sponsor the Immigrant Prevails
Once the sponsored individual has come to America, you will be held financially responsible for supporting them. If you have filed for bankruptcy by then, you'll need to consider whether you're in a sound financial state to fulfill this responsibility. If you filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, consider whether you have sufficient income or assets still available, as all of your assets will generally be liquefied to pay off creditors. On the other hand, if you filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you really need to consider whether supporting an individual is feasible based on the repayment plan that you agreed to. Depending on the amount of debt that you have, the amount of disposable income you have may be greatly reduced.
Responsibility to Reimburse Sponsored Individuals Can Affect Financial Standing
In the event that you are not able to financially support the sponsored individual and they need to pay out of their own pockets, the sponsored individual can hold you responsible for reimbursing them in the future. Depending on your financial situation, having to reimburse the sponsored individual may significantly impact your financial standing and may prevent you from climbing out of the depths of debt. In fact, being burdened with these debts may make filing for bankruptcy irrelevant, as you might find yourself in the same spot financially and facing the same conundrums.
Before agreeing to sponsor a family member to the U.S., speak with a bankruptcy attorney ahead of time to determine whether doing this would put you in a tough spot financially. A bankruptcy lawyer, like one from Velde Moore Limited, will take into account your income to expense ratio, as well as the cost of sponsoring an individual, into account.