Bankruptcy Questions

Can I get rid of all of my debt?

In many cases you can with a Chapter 7 filing, although certain debts are exempt, such as student loans and support payments. If you file for bankruptcy rather than use some other method of debt relief can also make a difference. With a Chapter 13, you will be repaying your debt over a specified period of time that will leave you free of debt at the end of it. The same applies for other forms of debt settlement.

Can I pick which debts to put in the bankruptcy?

Yes and No. You must include all of your debts in the bankruptcy filing. If you choose to file a Chapter 7 case and want to keep a car or house that you still owe money on, you can choose to reaffirm the debt and continue to make payments. Reaffirming the debt, will essentially take it out of the bankruptcy.

Can't I file for bankruptcy on my own?

Yes, you can, but there are serious risks you take if you do so. Not knowing the appropriate bankruptcy laws, you stand to file the wrong type of bankruptcy or leave out something important that could leave you still owing large amounts of debt or lengthy delays. It is always best to have a qualified bankruptcy attorney representing you to obtain the best results.

How long will bankruptcy remain on my credit report?

A bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for ten years.

What does "secured" or "unsecured" debt mean?

A "secured debt" is one that has an item of value listed as a guarantee that you will pay the debt. Common secured debts include mortgages, car loans, motorcycle loans, etc. An "unsecured" debt is one that holds no claim to a real asset. Theses debts include credit cards and signature loans.

What happens if I file bankruptcy and discover an additional creditor debt after filing?

Your bankruptcy attorney can amend your case to include any additional debts you may find after the case is filed.

What happens when one spouse files without the other spouse?

Financial problems can cause a rift in even the strongest marriage. Before you file bankruptcy without your spouse, have them speak to your attorney about what will happen. The spouse who doesn't file may be held responsible for some the debts.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a process under federal law which allows consumers to have some or all of their debts forgiven. It is a consumer protection law. It allows for consumers to address overwhelming debt through cancellation or restructuring. A qualified Bankruptcy Attorney can explain all of the advantages and disadvantages of filing bankruptcy. An attorney in your area affiliated with Price Law Group will provide you with a free consultation to discuss the particulars of your case. Here is some basic information about bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Law is different than most laws in that it focuses on forgiveness rather than punishment. Sometimes bad things happen to good people; bankruptcy law helps those people deal with creditors they simply cannot afford to pay.

Bankruptcy can be a powerful tool for dealing with out-of-control debt. New rules implemented in 2005 have placed some limitations on the protections that bankruptcy can provide. Most consumers file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code.

What is the "Means Test"?

When you file bankruptcy you must undergo a Means Test. The test is used to determine if you have enough disposable income to pay some or all of your outstanding debt under a Chapter 13 repayment plan. The repayment plan lasts from three to five years.
The first step in the means test is to determine the median income level for your area. If your average income over the past 6 months is less than the median income for your area, you are automatically eligible for Chapter 7.
If your income is more than the median income for your area, then you must continue the means test. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can guide you through this process and help you decide which type of bankruptcy best fits your current financial situation.

What protections does bankruptcy provide?

Both forms of bankruptcy provide you with a discharge, or legal release, of your debt once the case has been successfully completed. Once you receive the discharge information from the bankruptcy court, creditors are left with no legal reason to contact you or pursue debts listed in your bankruptcy documents.
An "automatic stay" goes into effect when a person or business files for bankruptcy protection. The "automatic stay" stops creditors from trying to collect any debt from you. It puts an immediate stop to creditor phone calls, collection letters, wage garnishments, lawsuits, bank levies and other forms of harassment, intimidation and scare tactics used by creditors.
You cannot file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if you obtained a discharge of your debts in a Chapter 7 case within the previous eight years, or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case within the previous six years.
If you are a disabled veteran and incurred your debt while on active military duty, or if your debts primarily come from the operation of a business, you will automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What types of bankruptcy are available to individuals?

Chapter 7 is the type of bankruptcy that is most often filed. It allows a person to discharge their qualifying debts completely in an abbreviated time frame. Some debts are not eligible for discharge under the new bankruptcy rules, such as child support, alimony and student loans. An attorney can explain which debts are and are not dischargeable.
Chapter 13 consolidates your outstanding debt into a payment plan that you can afford. It allows you to rearrange your finances and repay all or a portion of your debt in order for you to get back on firm financial footing.
Persons filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must have sufficient disposable income to fund a repayment plan, not have more than $1,010,650 in secured debt (e.g. mortgage, car loans or loans with some form of collateral) and not have more than $336,000 in unsecured debt (e.g. credit card debt, medical bills, utility bills and legal bills).

When will my debt be discharged?

In most cases, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge is received 60 days after the 341 meeting, or first meeting of creditors. In Chapter 13, your discharge will be sent to you once you have completed all the payments under the Chapter 13 plan.

Chapter 7 is the type of bankruptcy that is most often filed. It allows a person to discharge their qualifying debts completely in an abbreviated time frame. Some debts are not eligible for discharge under the new bankruptcy rules, such as child support, alimony and student loans. An attorney can explain which debts are and are not dischargeable.

Chapter 13 consolidates your outstanding debt into a payment plan that you can afford. It allows you to rearrange your finances and repay all or a portion of your debt in order for you to get back on firm financial footing.
Persons filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must have sufficient disposable income to fund a repayment plan, not have more than $1,010,650 in secured debt (e.g. mortgage, car loans or loans with some form of collateral) and not have more than $336,000 in unsecured debt (e.g. credit card debt, medical bills, utility bills and legal bills).

Which debt solution is best for me?

Price Law Group will meet with you to discuss your particular financial scene and determine what the best solution would be based on your goals and legal options. You may qualify for bankruptcy or other forms of debt relief.

Who qualifies for bankruptcy?

Most individuals who have overwhelming debt and limited resources will qualify for bankruptcy. However, you still must qualify for any type of bankruptcy by following the appropriate bankruptcy laws. A Chapter 7 filing requires a means testbe taken to determine if your income level and amount of assets fits into this category. A Chapter 13 filing requires that you have steady income in order to repay your debts with a repayment plan.

Will I lose my personal property if I file bankruptcy?

There are federal, state and local exemptions that allow you to keep a certain amount of personal property when you file bankruptcy. Your attorney will explain how these exemptions apply to people who file bankruptcy in your state.

Will I lose my Social Security payments if I file?

No. Your Social Security payments will not be lost.
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