Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers!
We know you’ve got questions and hopefully, you’ll find most of the answers below. They are presented in a series of very short FAQ video clips, so please browse the questions below and watch the videos for the answers! And of course, if there are still some questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to call us or submit your additional questions below.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is like a “do-over” button that allows you to start over. One moment you are adrift in a financial storm drowning in credit card debt or other unsecured debt, and then you hit the “do-over” button by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you are on your way to a debt free fresh start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will eliminate credit card debt, medical debt, garnishments, loans, debts from repossessions and even some tax debts and give you the fresh start you’ve been looking for.
By law, all legal actions against you must cease once a Chapter 7 bankruptcy has been filed. Creditors cannot initiate or continue any lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments.
If you are tired of harassing phone calls, worrying about your finances and the future, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the most effective way to protect yourself from creditor harassment and start afresh. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Have you missed mortgage or car payments – or, have you already received a foreclosure or repossession notice? It’s not too late to get back on track! A Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan can stop repossession of your house or car. For those that do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 enables individuals with a regular income to keep their property while repaying some or all of what is owed to creditors over time. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors propose a plan to make installments to creditors over 36 to 60 months depending on the size of your debts and your income. Instead of paying the full amount you owe, new payments will be determined by the amount you can actually afford. In return, you may keep your property. Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy stops harassing collection efforts and can help you reorganize your financial life. Call us today for a free consultation.
Get the Facts About Bankruptcy
Filing bankruptcy eliminates debt which eliminates stress! Most of our clients are relieved once they file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a solution to a problem, not an additional problem. The absence of financial stress will give you and your family a fresh start..
Once bankruptcy is filed, creditors are NOT permitted to contact you for ANY reason. Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code is very specific as to creditor harassment in bankruptcy. All calls, mail, lawsuits and general harassment must STOP when a bankruptcy case is filed. If not, creditors can face SERIOUS sanctions.
Bankruptcy will immediately STOP a lawsuit, foreclosure, or garnishment. The Automatic Stay under Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code is a very powerful provision. This section of the Bankruptcy Code directs all creditors of a debtor to cease collection activities.
You can get credit again. Filing bankruptcy is the first step towards rebuilding your credit and improving your credit score.
Filing a bankruptcy is public record but typically, the only people who will know you filed for bankruptcy are the ones you personally tell.
An individual spouse is permitted to file bankruptcy without the need for their spouse to also file. Not only can the filing spouse eliminate individual debt, but the non-filing spouse’s credit should not be affected.
The Bankruptcy laws provide specific “exemptions” or “protections” for most basic possessions. In most cases when you file a bankruptcy, you can keep your home, vehicles, household goods and pension.
Retirement funds are “exempt” or protected in bankruptcy. A debtor can retain the retirement funds so long as the funds remain within the retirement account.
You are not a bad person! Bankruptcy is a solution to help good hard working people get through hard times. Bankruptcy is NOT a reflection of your character, but rather an option available under the law for people and families to obtain debt relief.
Does filing bankruptcy mean that I'm a failure?
Absolutely not. Most people considering bankruptcy are dealing with a number of financial difficulties. They may have medical debt that has gotten out of control or they may have lost their job and cannot pay their credit cards anymore. Or, they may have had a pay reduction and have fallen behind on their house payments. In the end, life after bankruptcy offers a better picture. Lots of good, honest, hard-working people fall on hard times. The bankruptcy laws were created to insure you have a way, if need be, to get free from the burden of debt so that you and your family can have a second chance at a “fresh start.”
Will calls and threats from creditors stop once a bankruptcy is filed?
Once you file a bankruptcy an automatic stay will be entered by the Court. Your creditors will then be prohibited from contacting you. If creditors are calling you day and night, filing bankruptcy legally puts a stop to all creditor contact. Your creditors will be violating the law if they contact you after the filing of a bankruptcy.
Will a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stop a lawsuit or garnishment?
Yes, filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will stop ALL collection activities, including phone calls, account statements, lawsuits, court appearances and garnishments.
What are the different bankruptcy Chapters a person can file?
Chapter 7: This is known as “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation.” Under Chapter 7, a debtor may discharge all of his/her bills, with certain exceptions (such as those incurred by fraud, criminal activity, alimony and certain taxes).
Chapter 11: This is a business bankruptcy, usually not filed by individuals.
Chapter 13: In a Chapter 13 case, the debtor-client usually agrees to repay some portion of his/her debts to creditors. To file a Chapter 13, you must be working or have a regular income. Chapter 13 allows you to keep property even if the property is in foreclosure.
What will happen to my home and car if I file bankruptcy?
In most cases, our clients are able to keep their personal property. It depends on how much equity you have in your property. (Equity is the difference between what you owe on a property and what it is worth.) In most cases, if your personal property has no equity and as long as the payments are made on time and as agreed, you are able to keep your property. If you can’t afford the payments, or you owe significantly more than your property is worth, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow you to surrender or give back your property and walk away without owing another penny. That can be a good deal for people who cannot afford their payments. This will allow them to get something that you can really afford. If you are behind on your payments and wish to keep your property, you may need to consider filing a Chapter 13.
Will filing for bankruptcy wipe out all of my debts?
Yes, but with some exceptions. Bankruptcy will normally not relieve you of the following:
- Money owed for child support or alimony
- Some taxes
- Debts that you failed to include on your bankruptcy petition
- Most student loans
- Loans you got by knowingly giving false information to a creditor, who reasonably relied on it in making you the loan
Will I have to appear in Bankruptcy Court?
In most bankruptcy cases, you, with an attorney on your behalf, only have to go to a proceeding called the “first meeting of creditors” to meet with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. Although any creditor who chooses to come can attend, it is extremely rare that they do so. Most of the time, the meeting will be require you to answer questions about your employment, your bankruptcy forms and your financial situation.
If I am married, does my spouse also have to file for bankruptcy?
A married spouse is not required to file for bankruptcy. However, the spouse may want to file for bankruptcy if they are also liable on the debts.
Will everyone know you filed for bankruptcy?
Chances are very good that the only people who will know about a filing are your creditors and the people who you tell. While it’s true that your bankruptcy is a matter of public record, unless someone is specifically trying to track down information on you, there is almost no likelihood that anyone will even know you filed.
How will filing for bankruptcy affect my credit?
In the end, life after bankruptcy offers a better picture. Unfortunately, if you have been sued, are in foreclosure or you are behind on your bills, your credit score has already been affected. Bankruptcy will probably not make things much worse, and can bring an end to your financial stress and provide you with a fresh financial start. It is important to understand that bankruptcy wipes out most old debts; as a result, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and, though you should be careful not to incur too much new debt, you may be able to get new credit.
Will I ever be able to get credit again?
Restoring your credit will take time, and there are no quick fixes. However, if you are careful, maintain a steady job, pay your bills on time and in full, get a secured credit card, these steps will likely improve your credit scores and you should be able to get credit again.
How long will a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in which you received a discharge may stay on your credit report for 10 years. A discharged Chapter 13 case may remain on your credit report for 7 years.
What are the costs involved with filing for bankruptcy?
The Federal Court filing fee for a Chapter 7 is $306 and the filing fee for a Chapter 13 is $281. Additionally, there are attorney fees. The attorney fees are dependent upon the complexity of your case and which chapter you are filing. The cost is determined at our free consultation.
Can I own anything after filing for bankruptcy?
Yes. You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits within 180 days after filing for bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt.
How often can I file for bankruptcy?
Generally, you can file A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, 8 years after you filed your previous Chapter 7.
Still Have a Question?
Let us know if you still have a question after viewing the video’s above. If so, submit your questions below, or call us to discuss your legal needs.