About Bankruptcy Your Options Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

Overview

Bankruptcy is a very serious matter. Individuals should give very serious consideration as to whether to file a bankruptcy case. Bankruptcy should be viewed as a "last resort" for protecting property or getting out of debt. I will arrange a consultation to assist you with deciding if bankruptcy is right for you

The following information is offered as an overview of available options under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Individuals experiencing problems due to unpaid debts should consult an attorney for further information. There are two types of Bankruptcy cases that are available to most individuals: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (also known as "Debtors Court" or "Debt Consolidation") Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (also known as "Straight Bankruptcy")


Chapter 13 also known as "Debtor's Court" or "Debt Consolidation"

  1. Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with regular income who are temporarily unable to pay their debts, but would like to pay their debts in installments over a period of time. In a Chapter 13 case, individuals are allowed to pay their debts over a period of time. A Chapter 13 case is similar to a debt consolidation plan.

  2. After filing a Chapter 13 case, individuals are granted "relief" from their creditors. Creditors must cease collection on debt. This means that creditors are prohibited from contacting individuals by telephone, mail or otherwise to demand repayment. Creditors are prohibited from taking actions to collect money or obtain property from individuals. Creditors may not repossess individuals' property. Creditors are prohibited from starting or continuing lawsuits or foreclosures. Creditors are prohibited from garnishing or deducting from individuals' wages.

  3. Reasons for filing Chapter 13:
    1. To stop foreclosure on home
    2. To stop repossession of automobiles
    3. To stop liens or garnishments due to unpaid taxes
    4. To stop garnishment for payment of other debt
    5. To stop suspension of drivers license due to unpaid accident claims
    6. To stop utility shut off
    7. To stop lawsuits, judgments, and liens
    8. To stop harassing collection phone calls

  4. Generally, all types of debt can be included in a Chapter 13 case including:
    1. past due mortgage payments
    2. automobile loans
    3. installment loans
    4. credit card debt
    5. past due alimony
    6. past due child support
    7. student loans
    8. past due taxes
    9. past due utility bills
    10. medical bills

  5. An individual who is experiencing financial difficulty usually consults with an attorney to develop a plan to repay debt using future earnings. The usual period allowed by the court to repay the debt is three (3) years, but no more than five (5) years.

  6. An individual may keep all of his/her property as long as he/she continue to make payments in the Chapter 13 case.

  7. Attorney fees may be included in the plan to repay debt. Individuals may not have to pay attorney fees "up front" in order to file a Chapter 13 case.

  8. Chapter 13 stays on an individual's credit record for seven (7) years. My consultation includes further information regarding reestablishing your credit.

Chapter 7 also known as "Straight Bankruptcy"

  1. Chapter 7 is designed for individuals with financial difficulty who do not have the ability to pay their existing debt. In a Chapter 7 case, an individual files a petition with the Bankruptcy Court requesting that the Court discharge or get rid of his debts.

    After filing a Chapter 7 case, individuals are granted "relief" from their creditors on dischargeable debt. Creditors must cease collection on dischargeable debt. This means that creditors may not send bills, make collection phone calls, file lawsuits, garnish wages or do anything else to collect debt.

  2. Reasons for filing Chapter 7:
    1. Individual cannot pay his/her bills as they become due
    2. Individual has debts that are dischargeable under Chapter 7 case
    3. Garnishments

  3. Generally the following types of debts can be "discharged" in a Chapter 7 case:
    1. installment loans
    2. credit card debt
    3. other unsecured debt
    4. medical bills
    5. deficiency balances due after a foreclosure or repossession

  4. Debts which may not be discharged in Chapter 7 case include:
    1. most taxes
    2. child support
    3. alimony
    4. student loans
    5. court ordered fines and restitution
    6. debts obtained through fraud or deception

  5. Creditors cannot ask you to repay debts which have been discharged.

  6. Under certain circumstances you may keep property that you have purchased subject to a valid security interest such as a house, car, furniture, etc. An attorney can explain the options that are available.

  7. Payment of attorney fees and court costs can be arranged following a consultation.

  8. Chapter 7 stays on an individual's credit record for ten (10) years. My consultation includes further information regarding reestablishing your credit.