Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Our law firm is an experienced and compassionate chapter 7 bankruptcy law firm. Our bankruptcy attorney fees to represent clients seeking debt relief are extremely affordable and can be handled in payments.

Fresh Start Bankruptcy

Our law firm handles cases for people out of multiple locations and can handle your case in an efficient manner that gives you a true fresh start. No need to spend money on an expensive attorney when you can hire an exceptional and affordable law firm to file your case in a way that will ensure that you are treated well.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Most families and individuals who face financial problems resist bankruptcy at first, but chapter 7 protection can soon become what appears to be your only option if you have been putting it off for many months or sometimes years because you may fear the outcome. Most people who are nervous that the bankruptcy process is too complicated or who worry about losing property like their home, vehicle, or bank accounts quickly learn that this is not the case. Maybe you wonder whether bankruptcy will be so expensive that you will hardly outweigh the amount of your debts, but this is not the case.

We have found that when people put off filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, unfortunately they miss out of months or even years of peace of mine that they could have had if they would have investigated the process more closely sooner. Bankruptcy protection provided by federal court helps people get a fresh financial start. This means you may not have to worry about the phone ringing with collection harassment. It could mean that you don’t have to worry about having more bills to pay for your debts than you have money coming in. Maybe it means that you will finally be able to start setting money aside for retirement. And in many cases, our law firm can help you discover that after filing with our firm, you could quickly see major improvements in your credit score and rebuild to get excellent credit after bankruptcy.

Our firm has assisted thousands of clients with filing bankruptcy. In each case, the result is to satisfy our clients, offer quick and affordable assistance and to offer you significant elimination of debt as well as more financial freedom. We hear clients tell us that they wish they had filed bankruptcy years ago!

When hiring our law firm to represent you in getting a fresh start, you only have to pay a single affordable set of attorney fees or you can break it down in payments over time.

Reasons People File Bankruptcy

  • Medical Debt (number one cause of bankruptcy)
  • Credit Card Bills
  • Debt Owed to Retailers
  • Payday Loan Debt
  • Utility Bills
  • Toll Bills
  • Garnishments
  • Cell phone bills
  • Bank Levies
  • Bank Garnishments
  • Deficiencies from Repossession
  • Deficiency from a Foreclosures
  • Creditor Harassment
  • Lawsuits from Credit Cards
  • Lawsuits from Broken Leases
  • Lawsuits from Unpaid Debts

Some Benefits of Bankruptcy

  • Release frozen Bank Account
  • Stop Creditor Harassment
  • Stop Wage Garnishments
  • Stop a Foreclosure
  • Stop Eviction (specific requirements may need to be met)

FAQ’s

Why is chapter 7 bankruptcy called liquidation bankruptcy?

For creditors’ losses to be offset, and to satisfy the requirements of the court, assets may be sold or “liquidated” in order to allow the debtor to receive forgiveness of debts. While this is commonly used to describe chapter 7 cases, the reality is that most clients will not have anything liquidated due to exemptions for specific types of assets. The type of assets that may indeed be sold would include items that are categorized as luxury. These “extra” assets like extra vehicles, second homes, expensive jewelry beyond heirlooms and wedding rings can be used to satisfy debts.

Can I keep My Home in Bankruptcy?

Yes, in most cases your home will be exempt in bankruptcy. However, there may be cases where you will have to pay an equivalent amount of equity toward your unsecured creditors in order to obtain a discharge of your debts.

When Can I File Bankruptcy?

You can file bankruptcy multiple times, but there are requirements in order to qualify for filing bankruptcy after you have already filed bankruptcy. For example, you would need to wait 8 years after filing Ch. 7 bankruptcy to file another chapter 7 case. Or you may need to wait 4 years after a bankruptcy chapter 13 to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Call our bankruptcy law firm and refer to your attorney for more specific advice regarding whether you qualify to file bankruptcy now.

Can Bankruptcy Stop a Lawsuit?

Yes, not only will bankruptcy stop a lawsuit, but in many cases, the automatic stay from bankruptcy will put a stop to the lawsuit and then the discharge could also allow you to obtain permanent relief from the financial obligation from the lawsuit. This means that the bankruptcy would stop the lawsuit and also in many cases it will erase the underlying debt from the lawsuit.

Can I keep One Credit Card While Filing Bankruptcy?

The laws involving the elimination of debt using bankruptcy lawyers call for the inclusion of all of your debts when filing the case. That does not mean that you cannot continue to pay specific debts after the case is completed; however, it is unlikely that the credit card company will allow you to keep the card open after you have filed, even if it has a zero balance. These financial institutions usually have access to a system called PACER that notifies them of any filings by their customers and they would likely shut the card down at that time.

What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When filing a bankruptcy case, there is a trustee that is appointed to officiate your case. Our law firm communicates with them on your behalf to help you obtain a discharge from your debts that are in qualifying categories. If your debt qualifies and you qualify to file according to income guidelines, then you could be eligible to erase your debt through chapter 7 bankruptcy. In scenarios where you have assets that are not exempt, such as 2nd homes, boats, and other luxury assets, then the trustee assigned to your case would sell these assets in order to pay as many of your debts as could be paid by these asset sales. Following the completion of this process, you no longer have a legal obligation for these debts and any remaining dischargeable debts are discharged. Then your fresh start begins and we can assist you in rebuilding your credit.

Will Bankruptcy Completely Delete Debts from my Credit Report?

While filing bankruptcy discharges the legal obligation which formerly existed for debts, it does not erase the record from your credit report. These debts will remain on the report, but with notes that they have been discharged through a bankruptcy. Later, once the specific amount of time has passed, which is typically 7 years, there will be no more mention of these debts. The credit report can also continue showing your chapter 7 bankruptcy for 10 years, however, with appropriate steps taken after completing the case, you will be able to rebuild your credit and get back on top again.

Attorney advertising.  We are a Debt Relief Agency that assists people to file for Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy

For those who are drowning in debt, Ch 7 bankruptcy could be the right decision. Our law firm has prepared an FAQ section which can help with making informed decisions regarding whether and how you can proceed with filing with bankruptcy attorneys near me.

We realize that this is an extremely stressful time. However, your relief can often come in the form of information that empowers you and helps stop you from stressing over things that will not hurt you. If you have answers to your questions about debt, then you may be able just ask these questions in your initial free bankruptcy consultation and alleviate the stress.

Should I Use Debt Management Instead of Bankruptcy?

There is a time and a place for a small select group of these debt relief companies, but they are generally structured to benefit the company more than you. So the answer is that debt relief companies rarely offer anything that can come close to the powerful option of bankruptcy. Sometimes these companies will mess your credit up beyond anything that a bankruptcy would do on your credit. Not only that, but you will be paying a hefty sum on a monthly basis, ranging from $250-$1000/month just in their fees so that you are throwing money down the drain that you could at least be putting toward your debts if you weren’t using them. On the other hand, if you are in the process of searching for a bankruptcy lawyer near me, then you will learn that you could skip this entire process if you qualify to use a chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.

The other thing that these debt management groups do not tell you in many cases is that they simply do not have any legal strength to shield your family from legal consequences that result from not paying debts. And although they claim to have developed relationships with creditors, it is rarely a reality and the fees often continue to accrue in the absence of a more powerful result such as bankruptcy or true debt negotiation.

What Debts Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Eliminate?

Chapter 7 cases do not discharge all debts, and specifically excluded from your case will be debts such as child support, alimony, some IRS debt, some other taxes, student loan debt, and all debts which have been categorized as fraudulent debts.

Additionally, we strongly advise that you provide us with a complete list of your debts wherever possible so that the process is more clean, because they can fight you regarding discharge if they never received notice of your bankruptcy by being included in the petition.

Additionally, you cannot discharge certain types of debts that fall into the categories of penalties and fines, or criminal acts such as costs for injuries which were caused to another person where you had been driving under the influence illegally or intoxicated.

Should I File for Bankruptcy?

One simple way to consider whether bankruptcy makes sense for you is to consider your debts and whether most could even be eliminated with a chapter 7. For example, if you determine $75,000 of your $80,000 in debt is for student loans which cannot be wiped out by bankruptcy, then it is probably not wise to file. Next, consider the assets which you own. If you have few assets, then chapter 7 BK could be much more beneficial than someone who has vast assets or has important assets that would be sold if they filed for bankruptcy. Additionally, if your disposable income is too high to allow you to file under a fresh start chapter 7 case, then you would be required to make a monthly trustee payment in chapter 13 bankruptcy to handle some, most, or even 100% of your debts.

Finally, before considering whether you think it would be advantageous to file a chapter 7, you should make certain you are even eligible to file. You could be ineligible to file a case for chapter 7 if you have:

  • Intentionally dismissed a Chapter 7 case within the past 180 days.
  • Received a discharge through chapter 7 bankruptcy within an 8 year period of time.
  • Received a discharge through chapter 13 bankruptcy within a 6 year period of time.
  • Enough income in your disposable income budget to pay a portion of your debts in a chapter 13 case. This is determined by a formula created using a means test in bankruptcy. If the court’s formula for answering the question “Do I qualify for Bankruptcy?” determines that the money left over every month after you pay a reasonable amount of living expenses for yourself and dependents.

Call our office if you don’t know whether you qualify. This is a complicated formula that involves a computer but many times our team can quickly get you an answer in a short phone consultation for bankruptcy that helps you learn your options within as few as 30 minutes. Our team will review your situation to help you discover what bankruptcy options you have available to you.

Should I Hire a Lawyer For Credit Card Debt?

Some people may wonder whether it is necessary to hire an attorney or simply file without an attorney. It is a fairly common question to wonder “Should I file bankruptcy without a lawyer?” Bankruptcy can be a highly complex legal matter, and if you have very little to lose in the way of assets, then a case can be made that “what do you have to lose?” But you could lose a lot if you have assets. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will ensure you don’t ruin your bankruptcy, disqualify by omitted important steps, or even cause yourself serious harm by losing assets in bankruptcy. In fact, most pro se bankruptcy cases are ultimately dismissed by the Trustee who is officiating their bankruptcy case.

On the other hand, if you have been sued by a credit card company and are considering hiring an attorney, then an excellent bankruptcy law firm can usually assist you in making sure you get into the most appropriate type of debt relief and that you can live a debt free life moving forward.

Can I Be Fired for Filing Bankruptcy?

No, the short answer is a resounding NO! But speaking candidly and realistically, it needs to be said that some employers do illegal things all the time. And the main thing to consider here is that the employer is rarely if ever necessarily going to receive any kind of information or notification that you have filed for bankruptcy protection. But you still need to know that employers are specifically barred from doing this. It is a clear black and white violation.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 cases are designed as a repayment bankruptcy which protects debtors from all collection activities that would otherwise potentially occur during the period that you are under the protection of the automatic stay. And the completion of your bankruptcy, you would be granted a discharge of all debts that qualify for discharge and which were not paid in the plan.

In a chapter 13 case, debtors are often required to be “wage earners” due to the fact that there needs to be sufficient income to make the plan payments. Hence the reason for the specific type of bankruptcy being called a “wage earners bankruptcy,” and a good attorney for bankruptcy can help you use the power of the court to impose plans specific to managing your debts on your creditors. The creditors are forced to accept or object, and this stops interest on your debts such as credit card interest. Bankruptcy courts enforce these chapter 13 plans through the management of a trustee for chapter 13 administration and they will provide you with legal cover for uncooperative creditors. In some cases, where there is a violation of the automatic stay, our law firm will pursue adversary proceedings against the reluctant creditors who are attempting to break the law.

Reasons for Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Some of the most common reasons for filing for protection under the section of the bankruptcy code known as chapter 13 include but are not limited to the following situations. Many of these situations may sound familiar to you, but others are highly specific to a situation that would warrant a chapter 13 case to help you manage your situation and protect yourself. Many of the cases that involve protection of assets.

  • Facing Foreclosure? Ch 13 bankruptcy can stop foreclosure and save your home!
  • Facing Repossession? Ch 13 bankruptcy can prevent repossession of your vehicle!
  • Facing a lawsuit? Through chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can force the creditor to accept a monthly repayment plan.
  • Need a Single Monthly Payment? Filing chapter 13 cases allows you to force unsecured creditors to accept payment based on your income.
  • Owe More than your Vehicle is Worth? In cases where you have owned your car or other vehicle for more than 2.5 years, you may qualify for a cramdown which would allow you to pay only the retail value of the car back to the creditor over the course of the chapter 13 repayment plan.

Benefits of Bankruptcy Through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys

The elimination of debt in chapter 13 covers debts which otherwise might not very well be discharged through chapter 7 bankruptcy. Hence, this bankruptcy tool can be powerfully wielded for those debtors looking to get control and put their finances back on track. The result from a chapter 13 case is also viewed less negatively by certain future prospective creditors due to the fact that it shows you did pay back portions or all of your debts.

Chapter 13 vs Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the debtor an extended amount of time for debts which have come due or become severely past due. In a chapter 7 case, you are not provided the opportunity to catch up debts, whereas a chapter 13 allows a monthly payment that can catch up things like mortgage arrears. IRS debts are included, other recent taxes like property tax, or even back child support would be included automatically in a chapter 13 case. This will cure mortgage defaults, eliminate interest on credit card balances, and still allow you to move forward. It will also allow for clearing of all or portions of liens which exceed the underlying asset’s value such as the case with a bankruptcy cramdown.

Contrary to what is described about debt management companies, a chapter 13 plans must be approved by the court and must be opposed or a valid objection must be entered by creditors not agreeing with the plan. Hence, while these other companies have no teeth to enforce their plan for a repayment or settlement of the debt, a chapter 13 bankruptcy comes under the full weight and measure of federal bankruptcy court. Creditors cannot simply say that they do not want to be bound by a chapter 13 plan. It is often described as a court ordered debt management plan that is based on your income and expenses.

Commonly Asked Questions about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

FAQ: Who can file chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Unlike chapter 7 bankruptcy, there isn’t a maximum income to file chapter 13 bankruptcy, but rather in some cases, there could be a minimum income. This is because there is a monthly payment and it must be determined by the court to be feasible. Our law firm will help you in determining whether you qualify for a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan to handle your required debts.

It may become reasonable to file chapter 13 bankruptcy if:

  • A debtor owes debts which are not held to be dischargeable through Chapter 7 bankruptcy ( e.g. some IRS debt, some other taxes, or aliminory or child support)
  • A debtor has liens which exceed the value for their underlying collateral that is being used to secured the balance of the debt
  • A debtor is behind on vehicle or mortgage payments
  • A debtor has assets which cannot be protected and exempted in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. (For example, if you were seeking bankruptcy protection and realized that stock options which you have with your emplower were not exempt, filing bankrupcy would result in the loss of that asset. But if you chose chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you could pay the equivalent value through the repayment plan to your unsecured creditors, thus allowing you to keep those stock options and not have them simply liquidated.)
  • A debtor makes more than the allowable income thresholds to qualify for Ch. 7 bankruptcy.

How is My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Payment Calculated?

A Chapter 13 payment plan is not necessarily going to pay all of your debts. The plan can specifically often pay little to almost none of the actual debt and this number is calculated according to your income and your expenses. Fractional debt payments through chapter 13 plans are arrived at after reviewing the extent of household income, then after expenses for living and for the living expenses of dependents are taken into account, a remaining “disposable income” would hypothetically be paid into a pool used to pay your list of unsecured creditors. This means that if you have $5,000 in monthly income, $4,500 in allowable monthly expenses for you and your dependents, then presumable your plan payment would be $500. However, if it turns out that your debts would be completely paid off with a lower payment of $400, then you would not pay your entire disposable income, but rather the amount of money that would satisfy all the creditors who made it to confirmation in the bankruptcy plan.

Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure?

Yes, filing chapter 13 bankruptcy is a very commonly applied tool to prevent a home foreclosure. Through this method, you are afforded the opportunity to catch up the past due portion of your mortgage. This past-due portion of mortgage balances is known as mortgage arrears, and can be run through a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan over time. For example, if you owed a past due balance to your mortgage company of $6,000 then this amount could be stretched over 60 months, resulting in a $100 monthly trustee payment before taking into consideration the percentage charged by the trustee and your bankruptcy fees. Hence in many cases, you might be able to catch up a past due mortgage at the same time that you eliminate other unsecured debt, all while remaining comfortably in your home and not being forced out by a foreclosure sale. Bankruptcy is a powerful tool to stop foreclosure and our bankruptcy law firm has helped tens of thousands of homeowners to save their home and catch it up over time.

Can Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Stop Repossession?

Yes, in many cases, filing chapter 13 bankruptcy can be advantageous in helping you prevent a lender from repossessing your car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle. Not only that, but in some cases, you are allowed to lower your original payment by stretching it out over a longer period of time. This could be seen as an effective refinancing of the balance. Additionally, you could also be allowed to cram down the original principal amount if you have owned the vehicle for the required amount of time which is 2.5 years. This bankruptcy cramdown allows you to force the lender to accept a lower amount of payments equal to the vehicle’s current retail value. Hence, if you had a car with a $25,000 balance and you have 3.5 years out of your 6 year term left, and if the actual retail value of the vehicle was only $10,000, then you could lower your monthly payment from $599 on a 20% loan down to $160/month in a 5 year chapter 13 plan payment that requires that only 5.25% interest be paid to the lender and at a significantly lower principal balance amount through the bankruptcy.

If I Want to Repay my Debts, Can Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Help Me?

Yes, the whole premise of chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it involves the repayment of part or all of your debts. But you should remember that as a law firm, we are going to be seeking to put you into the best possible financial situation, and while you may want to pay back your debts, if we see a clear path to a chapter 7 bankruptcy, we will likely be recommending that option unless you have assets to lose. But for those people who are trying very hard to repay their debts, the chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in our firm can provide you with the power to force your creditors to accept payments but on your terms.

How Does Chapter 13 Work?

A chap. 13 bankruptcy starts when our bankruptcy law firm prepares and files your petition on your behalf with a federal bankruptcy serving our local area. In order to have proper venue, it will required that you must have resided here in the greater part of the last 6 months or have your largest asset here. At that point, a debtor who selects our law firm will be allowed to put forth a repayment plan that ranges from 36 months to 60 months depending on need and depending on qualifications. If your income surpasses the means test for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you will often be required to select a 60 month (5 year bankruptcy) repayment plan.

What Are My Obligations in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Debtors who have chosen to file bankruptcy in the chapter 13 repayment plan will be required to abide by legally-imposed requirements such as providing annual tax returns, setting up a wage with-holding through their employer, and returning required documents and other forms that are prescribed by the bankruptcy code. A bankruptcy filing fee must be paid to the court, and payments will then need to be paid to the trustee according to the established or proposed plan repayment. You will need to often make these payments manually at first, but eventually these are set up as wage withholding by the trustee on behalf of the bankruptcy court. This is a type of set and forget scenario that some debtors prefer, because it amounts to an assurance that your car and IRS debt will be paid in monthly installments in a way that you hardly notice they’re gone. They will come out of your check similar to how other deductions for taxes and insurance are withheld.

Who Should Avoid a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

This is a question that some attorneys will not answer for you honestly. The reason is that these attorneys make their money by encouraging bankruptcy clients to move forward with hiring them. On the other hand, when you are working with a reputable, experienced, and powerful bankruptcy law firm such as ours, you will find that we are looking out for your interests and we sleep better at night knowing that we are helping you make the best decision possible.

Often this means that we talk certain clients out of filing chapter 13 bankruptcy in favor of chapter 7 bankruptcy. Other times we recommend against filing bankruptcy entirely in favor of non-bankruptcy alternatives. Such situations could be warranted if the amount of debt simply does not justify doing a bankruptcy.

Oftentimes a prospective client might come to our law firm seeking bankruptcy to catch up a vehicle that is not worth what you will end up paying through the plan. Add to that the court fees, attorney fees, and you can soon be left with a situation where you are barely getting relief. We feel better when we are offering our clients a true, powerful, and refreshing amount of debt relief that helps them feel less stress and helps them move forward instead of spinning their wheels in place.