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Frequently Asked Questions

Will filing for bankruptcy protection stop creditors from calling me or contacting me?

Yes, immediately. After we file your bankruptcy, your creditors are prohibited from contacting you. They may only contact us. In addition, filing for bankruptcy will stop wage garnishments, end most lawsuits, halt possessions and foreclosures. In short, it provides you with a “fresh start.”

Can I save my home from foreclosure even if I have waited until the day before the Foreclosure sale?

Yes. We can stop the foreclosure sale any time before it occurs.

Can I keep my home, car and other possessions?

Most people who file bankruptcy lose no property at all.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is also known as a “wage earner plan” or a “debt reorganization.” You enter into a plan to repay a small percentage of your debt over a 3 to 5 year period. During this time you continue to make all your current payments. Your monthly Chapter 13 payment is determined by your income and expenses, often amounting to repayment of pennies on the dollar of your debt.

Can I buy or sell a home while I am in Chapter 13?

Yes, but the process requires court approval. We will help you with the process.

How will my past due child support obligation be handled in the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Past due child support is considered a “priority debt” under Bankruptcy law. Past due child support is not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and must be included in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing. It will be consolidated with the rest of your debts and become part of your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

I’m in debt to the IRS. Will Bankruptcy help me?

Yes. As we all know, taxes are very complicated. We will review your tax debt with you and help you understand which portion may be dismissed and what portion will be addressed in the bankruptcy.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is also known as “a fresh start” or “Clean slate”. Chapter 7 lets you discharge (wipe-out) most unsecured debt, such as credit card balances, medical bills, and even certain taxes. Some debts, such as child support, student loans, and recent taxes cannot be discharged through Chapter 7. A typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy usually lasts approximately four months.

Can I file Chapter 7 if I have assets I want to keep that are secured by a mortgage or loan?

Yes, in certain circumstances. This is called “reaffirming” a debt. In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy you may reaffirm secured debts, such as a mortgage or car loan. However, you must stay current on your payments. You can also choose to surrender these assets, in which case any past due balances will be discharged (wiped out) in your Bankruptcy.

How will filing bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Once you have any debt that is over 3 months (90 days) past due, a vehicle that has been repossessed, or a home in foreclosure, your credit score has already been damaged. Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 and successfully meeting all requirements and repayment obligations of the case are the first steps to rebuilding your credit rating. Due to the large number of people who have filed Bankruptcy, lenders have adjusted their lending practices. It generally takes less than one year after bankruptcy to acquire new good credit.

What is credit counseling? How do I enroll?

According to the new Bankruptcy Law passed in April 2005, clients must participate in two credit counseling sessions to complete their Bankruptcy. The counseling sessions last approximately one hour and are offered on-line, by telephone or in person.

How many times will I have to go to court?

A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing requires you to meet once with a Bankruptcy Trustee. Mr. Schaefer will accompany you at this meeting, which usually occurs approximately 30 days after your case is filed and generally lasts about 2 minutes.

Am I qualified to file? Who is disqualified from filing under the new laws?

The new Bankruptcy Law was designed to decrease the number of people eligible to file. Most people still qualify to file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Your ability to obtain a discharge is determined by a complex series of calculations that compare how much you owe to how much you earn. It also compares what you earn to the median income for a like sized family in your area. As with any law, however, the new bankruptcy statues are open to interpretation. Just because one attorney has told you that you do not qualify does not mean we will not take your case. This and may other issues are usually discussed during your initial free consultation.

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