Frequently Asked Questions
GENERAL BANKRUPTCY QUESTIONS
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets and possessions are turned over to a trustee. They then sell the assets and distribute the proceeds to the creditors as compensation. More than 96 percent of individual bankruptcy cases occur without asset forfeiture, though.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
In this type of bankruptcy, you consolidate your debt through the government. After coming up with a payment schedule, you can make monthly installments until the debt is paid. This process typically takes three to five years.
Is Bankruptcy a Good Option for Me?
It depends on your circumstances. Each type of bankruptcy comes with mechanisms that you can leverage to your advantage. For instance, filing Chapter 7 makes a lot of sense if you do not own valuable property or a lot of assets, while the inverse is true for Chapter 13.
If I File for Bankruptcy, Will I Lose My Assets?
There are many misconceptions around bankruptcy, and this myth is one of the most common. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy primarily, people keep most of their assets because of exemptions. The creditor often does not consider the remaining assets worth the time or investment to sell.
Is It Difficult to File for Bankruptcy?
This idea is another common misconception. While bankruptcy is not a pleasant process, it can be straightforward and quick. With the assistance of experienced attorneys, you can seamlessly navigate the filing, petitioning, and negotiation of bankruptcy with confidence.
What Assets Are Exempted from Bankruptcy?
When you file for Chapter 7, a trustee places exemptions on items deemed necessary to maintain a basic standard of living. These assets are meant to help you hold down a job or provide for your family, and they can include household goods, furnishings, clothes, vehicles, retirement savings, pensions, and some equity in a car.
Do I Have to Go to Court?
Yes, you do. Everyone must attend at least one hearing, which is typically the 341 Meeting with Creditors. This meeting is an essential part of the bankruptcy process, as it gives creditors and your trustee the chance to ask you pertinent financial questions. And don’t worry—when you retain our services, we will attend the meeting with you to provide legal counsel and guidance.
Can I Completely Eliminate My Tax Debt?
Yes, depending on the circumstances. We can help eliminate tax obligations if they are more than three years old, on file, and the IRS has assessed the debt for at least two years. If you do not meet these requirements, you can still discharge your debt in three to five years with Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Can I Get Rid of My Alimony or Child Support Debt?
No, bankruptcy cannot help to discharge either alimony or child support debt. There are alternatives, though. For instance, you can renegotiate the terms of the payments so that the obligations are more spread out over time with Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Can I Get Rid of Student Loans?
Unfortunately not. Student loans are considered a non-dischargeable form of debt. There are alternatives, though, such as loan consolidation, which will make paying back this money easier.
What Other Types of Debts Can I Discharge?
Quite a few—and this ability is especially true if you file for Chapter 7. Some common forms of dischargeable debt are:
- Credit cards
- Medical bills
- Overdue utility bills
- Gym memberships
- Personal loans
- Car and equipment leases
Mortgage and car payment debts are dischargeable, depending on your decisions. If you want to keep the home or vehicle, you cannot get rid of the debt. However, if you voluntarily return those assets to the creditor, the debt can be discharged.
How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Job?
There should be no effect on the status of your job when you file for bankruptcy. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate or fire someone because they declared bankruptcy. Furthermore, the employee cannot have their salary cut or receive a demotion because of the filing.
What Happens After My Debt Obligations Are Discharged?
Once your debt is discharged, you no longer have financial obligations to your debt collectors or creditors. When this moment actually occurs can vary; Chapter 7 bankruptcy has more immediate results while Chapter 13 can take three to five years.