Should you file?
If you can answer yes to one of the following below, then you should consider filing
- Do you have a lot of debt and have problems paying it?
- Does your paycheck not cover all your bills and payments?
- Have you been threatened by garnishment?
- Have you been threatened by foreclosure or repossession
What can bankruptcy do for you
- Legally eliminate most of your debts
- Stop foreclosure of your home
- Stop repossession of your automobile and other property
- Stop debt collectors from harassing you
What bankruptcy CAN’T do for you
- Eliminate secured debts such as a car loan or home mortgage and keep the collateral unless you continue to make payments
- Discharge any debts that come up after bankruptcy has been filed
- Discharge certain type of debts such as student loans, child support, alimony, most taxes, court restitution orders, and criminal fines
- In most cases, eliminate debt of co-signer on your loan
- Chapter 7 – This type of bankruptcy allows you to have a fresh start. Most of your unsecured (credit cards) will be eliminated and you may keep secured property (home, vehicles) if you are current on your payment and continue you to make payments regularly.
- Chapter 13 – A repayment plan is created that will generally allow you 36 – 60 months to your secured and unsecured creditors. The primary benefit of a Chapter 13 filing is that it can help prevent foreclosure of your home or a vehicle repossession even though you were behind on payments.
If I decide to declare bankruptcy, what happens next?
- You can file for bankruptcy on your own but it is not recommended as the process can be complicated which could lead to many pitfalls
- Discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to go over all your options. Normally, your initial consultation is free.
- Get all your secured and unsecured debts, bills, & income in order before you see your attorney so that he/she may help you fully analyze your situation
- Your attorney will help you decide if you should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Your attorney will go through the filing process with you once you decide to file
- Your attorney will help you prepare the documentation and file for bankruptcy
- In most cases, you will have to go to court for one hearing called the “meeting of creditors” which normally is short and simple.
- After the hearing, it normally takes 4 – 6 months to complete
- The bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. Depending on your situation, you can usually get credit again after a year, but with higher interest rates.