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Bankruptcy Law

Back to Basics: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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Back to Basics

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

While it might not seem like it, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the first step to building your credit back up after burying yourself in debt. The process is not easy and it will take some time, but it is the best option if you have exhausted all other options and your debt still remains. Make sure if you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy that you consult a bankruptcy attorney and that you understand all of the repercussions for taking this major step in taking care of your debt.  

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

The Basics

Filing for Bankruptcy can be the first step in catching up on your debt or starting over with a clean slate. When filing under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, some or all of the debt you owe will be cleared.

However, there are some exceptions and consequences to consider. For example, debts like child support and college loans cannot be filed under Chapter 7. Filing for bankruptcy also can result in loss of physical property and a major hit to your credit. If you have exhausted all your options for getting rid of debt and are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, make sure your bankruptcy attorney is aware of these exceptions and consequences.

While filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can give you a financial reset, there is a lot to know and learn before taking this legal jump. Finding the perfect lawyer that will understand your financial situation can make this process a lot easier. It is important that you make yourself aware of all the steps of this lengthy process, as well as the setbacks. Here are the big things you need to know before, during, and after filing for bankruptcy:

What Do You Mean By Financial Reset?

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy tells creditors to take a step back. Creditors are temporarily stopped from trying to collect from you while you are going through the process of getting your debts discharged. This allows for some time to breathe and figure out the next steps without the pressure of creditors on your back.  

What Can I Lose?

In most cases, giving up physical assets is required to help balance out the debt. Each state has its own laws when it comes to which of your property falls under exempt or nonexempt assets. Exempted assets are items/properties that the state cannot take to balance your debt. Nonexempt assets are items/properties that CAN be taken up by the state as payment for your debts. The typical items that are considered nonexempt assets include:

  • Property that is not your primary home
  • A newer model vehicle with equity
  • Investments
  • Valuable artworks
  • Jewelry

Having a knowledgeable attorney makes figuring what your state considers exempted or nonexempted property much easier.

The Process

There are a couple of things you have to do before your debts can be discharged.

First, before you can file, you must attend a credit counseling program from a court-approved agency. Most times this can be done online and must be done at least 6 months before filing.

The next step is getting all your files in a line. The most important form to have is the general Chapter 7 bankruptcy form called the Voluntary Petition. You will also need to gather multiple files that list all the people you owe money to and their mailing addresses.

Once all your forms are completed, you will file all of them at the same time with your local bankruptcy court clerk. Turning in these forms is giving complete control of your property and debts to the court, and activates the “automatic stay.” The automatic stay stops creditors from trying to collect money or property from you.

Your files are then given to a bankruptcy trustee who will examine all of your forms and declare what assets are exempt and nonexempt.

Then you will meet with this trustee and any creditors that chose to be present and answer questions about your debt and financial history under oath.

After your meeting, the creditors and trustee have 60 days to allow some debts to be discharged or to object the discharge. If your debts have been discharged, creditors will permanently stop trying to collect on these particular debts.

You do not have to go into this battle alone. Having an attorney present during the process of filing for bankruptcy takes some of the load off your shoulders and guarantees you are taking all of the correct steps.

Accumulating debt takes a toll on your credit. Filing bankruptcy is no different. The weight of the impact that filing for bankruptcy has on your credit will depend on where your score was before filing and previous financial history. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit for 10 years after filing. The major consequences seen from this is higher interest and fees, but getting an approved mortgage is not impossible post-bankruptcy.  

Once you have discharged your debts, you can start to rebuild your credit by paying bills on time, keeping a low credit card balance, and limiting your applications for new credit.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: How to Know Which One You Are

By | Bankruptcy Law, Understanding Bankruptcy

What Plan is Best For You?

No one wants to file for bankruptcy, but it is the first step to discarding debt or coming up with a plan to repay it. Individuals or partnerships file under one of two chapters, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Businesses may also file for Chapter 7 in order to liquidate. Figuring out which route is best for an individual or business is half the battle.

businessmen in an agreement

What’s the Difference?

Chapter 7

Filing under Chapter 7 will automatically stop creditors from pursuing efforts in collection. This is also the best option for low-income debtors with little or no assets.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, liquidation is the way of getting out of debt. Liquidation in a sense is the sale of debtors property and remaining assets. One’s property and assets are split into two categories, exempt and nonexempt assets. The most commonly exempted asset is an individual’s primary home and primary automobile. However, if the value of the home or vehicle exceeds maximum value they are subject to liquidation. Debtors should be aware and expectant of loss of property. Here is how it works:

The first step is filing a petition with a bankruptcy court and having a judge see your case. The information that needs to be brought forward is the following:

  1. The individual’s primary address
  2. A detailed list of one’s monthly living expenses
  3. A schedule of one’s current income
  4. A list of all creditors that the debtors are in debt to, including the amount owed.

Even if filing jointly, a husband and wife are subject to all the document filing requirements of individual debtors.

Chapter 13

Individuals with a regular income who are struggling with debt file under Chapter 13. Under this bankruptcy code, one can keep their assets while executing a payment plan in order to repay their debts in a timely manner — typically 3 to 5 years.

While many file under Chapter 13 because their annual income is too high for Chapter 7, many debtors choose Chapter 13 because of the many benefits it provides over Chapter 7.

The major advantage to filing under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7 is the ability to save your home or property from foreclosure. When filing for a petition under Chapter 13, the debtor must serve to the court the same information as one filing under Chapter 7.

gavel

Why Hire An Attorney?

Making the decision to file bankruptcy should not be one an individual does alone. The process of getting out from under debt involves multiple meetings with creditors working out negotiations and settlements. Most people do not feel comfortable making these kinds of agreements alone and especially when they are under financial stress.

A bankruptcy attorney will make sure that creditors are not taking advantage of the situation you are in and will make the communication process one less thing to worry about. Not only is it a difficult situation to fully grasp, but there is so much information that is not common knowledge which makes it that much more confusing.

Having someone who is looking out for your best intentions and knows exactly which plan will work best for you could not be more important. No one wants to lose everything and with the help of an attorney, you don’t have to. Hiring an educated expert is putting your best foot forward in the journey to getting out of debt.

Do you need a bankruptcy attorney?

Reach Out Today!

What to Look for in a Bankruptcy Lawyer

By | Attorneys & Lawyers, Bankruptcy Law | No Comments
Back to Basics

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called “wage earners” bankruptcy. The name comes from the fact that to qualify for this type of bankruptcy, you have to be earning a steady monthly income. This type of bankruptcy is great for someone who is behind on house or car payments as it sets up a type of “payment plan” for you. If you’re earning a regular wage, but can’t seem to get your expenses in check, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be a serious lifesaver for you.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are given the opportunity to restructure your debts and repay them over a period of 3-5 years via a payment plan, or the Chapter 13 plan. Chapter 13 is often looked to as a reorganization of finances – it is not a liquidation of your assets. This means you are normally permitted to keep all of your assets whether they are exempt or nonexempt as long as you are a law-abiding citizen throughout your bankruptcy.

There are other qualifications for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your unsecured debt, which is debt not tied to any asset, cannot be more than $394,725 and your secured debt, or debt backed by collateral like a car or a home, cannot exceed $1,184,200. You must also be up to date on tax filings. You cannot have filed for Chapter 13 in the past two years or Chapter 7 in the past four years, and you cannot have filed for bankruptcy in the previous 180 days that was dismissed for reasons like failing to appear in court.

If you have decided to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is important to hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 13 is more complicated and drawn-out than other types of bankruptcy. If you miss a step while filing or incorrectly fill out a form your case could be thrown out completely or some of your debts may not be covered. Having the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer like David S. Clark will assure that everything goes as smooth as possible.

At the end of Chapter 13, you will be discharged of most of your debts (Some debts may remain, like student loans). If you have a steady monthly income, but have gotten behind in some of your finances and feel like you can’t get it sorted out, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your answer. You get to keep your assets and create a payment plan that allows you to pay off your various debt. Contact a local bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark to find your chance at financial freedom.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Back to Basics: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

By | Bankruptcy Law, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments
Back to Basics

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called “wage earners” bankruptcy. The name comes from the fact that to qualify for this type of bankruptcy, you have to be earning a steady monthly income. This type of bankruptcy is great for someone who is behind on house or car payments as it sets up a type of “payment plan” for you. If you’re earning a regular wage, but can’t seem to get your expenses in check, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be a serious lifesaver for you.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are given the opportunity to restructure your debts and repay them over a period of 3-5 years via a payment plan, or the Chapter 13 plan. Chapter 13 is often looked to as a reorganization of finances – it is not a liquidation of your assets. This means you are normally permitted to keep all of your assets whether they are exempt or nonexempt as long as you are a law-abiding citizen throughout your bankruptcy.

There are other qualifications for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your unsecured debt, which is debt not tied to any asset, cannot be more than $394,725 and your secured debt, or debt backed by collateral like a car or a home, cannot exceed $1,184,200. You must also be up to date on tax filings. You cannot have filed for Chapter 13 in the past two years or Chapter 7 in the past four years, and you cannot have filed for bankruptcy in the previous 180 days that was dismissed for reasons like failing to appear in court.

If you have decided to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is important to hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 13 is more complicated and drawn-out than other types of bankruptcy. If you miss a step while filing or incorrectly fill out a form your case could be thrown out completely or some of your debts may not be covered. Having the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer like David S. Clark will assure that everything goes as smooth as possible.

At the end of Chapter 13, you will be discharged of most of your debts (Some debts may remain, like student loans). If you have a steady monthly income, but have gotten behind in some of your finances and feel like you can’t get it sorted out, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your answer. You get to keep your assets and create a payment plan that allows you to pay off your various debt. Contact a local bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark to find your chance at financial freedom.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.