If you are in over your head with financial issues and are not sure where to turn, your only option for relief may be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy attorneys can help you figure out whether or not you are eligible to file for bankruptcy and what you need to do to move forward and to protect yourself. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. These are the two types of bankruptcy for individuals.
Both types of bankruptcy provide you with the fresh start that you need, but they have different ways of discharging your debt. It is important to be educated upfront so you can make an informed decision about which type of bankruptcy is appropriate for you.
Furthermore, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not available to everyone, and it is helpful to be knowledgeable about the various benefits associated with filing for bankruptcy.
If you think you may qualify to file for bankruptcy, fill out one of the forms on this page for a FREE case evaluation.
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY DEFINITION
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows petitioners to eliminate the vast majority of their unsecured debts, including utility balances, personal loans, medical expenses, and credit cards. Chapter 7 may be the best avenue for someone who is looking to re-establish their credit by minimizing their debt to income ratio.
In many cases involving Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed with the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, a petitioner may be eligible to keep their car, their home, and other personal belongings.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help with various challenges that an individual is dealing with because of an overwhelming financial situation, such as wage garnishments, repossession debts, lawsuits, and creditor harassment. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy filed throughout the United States. It may also be referred to as liquidation or straight bankruptcy.
Before a case is filed, you’ll need to put together all of your financial records including your credit card statements, pay stubs, loan documents, and bank statements. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will appoint a trustee to oversee your case and the trustee’s job is to evaluate your assets to sell them and distribute the money from the proceeds to the creditors who file appropriate claims. You are eligible to keep some exempt property in this process, however.
To file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must complete a means test. This clarifies whether or not you have the means to pay a portion of your debts under Chapter 13. If you fail the means test, you’ll only be eligible to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy under limited exceptions.
You will need to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at the outset of your case to have a better overview of what is involved with bankruptcy court.
CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY DEFINITION
Although Chapter 7 is a straight form of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a more appropriate option depending on your individual situation.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not include liquidation, meaning that a Chapter 13 debtor is usually eligible to keep the majority of his or her property, regardless of exemptions. This is true so long as they submit a repayment plan that lays out how they will be paying back a portion of their debts over three to five years.
As long as the Chapter 13 repayment plan follows the law, the debtor is eligible to keep the vast majority of his or her property. Chapter 13 bankruptcy from beginning to end will last up to five years, depending on the monthly payment plan that you suggest to the court to repay a portion of your debts.
The purpose of Chapter 13 is to reorganize debts over time. It is a valuable tool for debtors who are behind in their car payments or house payments to be able to catch up. The plan includes recent income taxes, priority claims, child support, and alimony as well.
SHOULD I FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?
Consulting with an experienced attorney is vital for anyone who is thinking about filing for bankruptcy and is questioning whether they should pursue Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. There is no ideal time to declare bankruptcy, but if it is going to take you longer than five years for you to pay off all of your debts, it may be time to consider declaring bankruptcy.
The purpose of the bankruptcy code in the United States was to allow people to get a second chance and not to punish someone for the past.
If you have a collection of medical bills, credit card debt, and mortgage debt and this has destroyed you financially and you cannot see a way forward, you may need to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to figure out the best recommendation for you.
WHAT ABOUT ATTORNEY FEES?
Know that attorney fees for bankruptcy are different depending on each individual case. Attorney fees can be worked into a Chapter 13 repayment plan without additional interest. The attorney fees associated with bankruptcy are typically a very small portion of the total debt at issue.