Bankruptcy FAQs

  • Will I lose my personal possessions?
  • Will I lose my car?
    Not if you don't want to. If you are up to date on your loan payments, you may enter a "reaffirmation agreement" to continue your payments. There are also instances where we may be able to negotiate lower payments and interest rates on your loan. If your vehicle is worth more than you owe on it, you may still be able to keep your vehicle, but you might be required to pay a certain amount to the bankruptcy trustee to keep it. Most of our clients do not need to pay any additional amount to keep their vehicle though.
  • Does your firm accept payment plans?
    Yes. We understand that times are tough for a lot of folks these days, so we are willing to work with you on a payment schedule that fits your needs. We require a payment of $200, which is applied toward the total fee, to be considered retained and to speak with your creditors, so they stop contacting you. The rest of the fee may be paid in installments up to six months.
  • Will bankruptcy affect my credit score?
    Yes, bankruptcy lowers a person's credit score by 100 points on average. However, this might actually be a better effect on your score than defaulting on loans and having numerous late payments, depending on your situation. Also, not having high debt amounts might help your credit score improve.
  • Will bankruptcy make all of my debts go away?
    Bankruptcy law allows most of a person's debts to be removed (discharged), so that they no longer have to pay them. Payday loans, credit cards, medical bills, past due rent, car loans (if you do not keep your vehicle, mortgages (if you do not keep your house), past due utility bills and personal loans can usually all be discharged! There are a few types of debts that cannot be discharged though, including child support, unfiled taxes or taxes filed in the past three years, student loans, and judgments based on fraud.
  • What are your firm's fees for filing bankruptcy?
    Our attorney fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $1000. There is also a court filing fee of $335, for a total charge of $1335 that must be paid to us before we can file. You will also have to pay small fees for the required credit counseling and financial management courses, with total costs of around $25 for the two courses. Additional attorney fees may apply if lien avoidances or other non-standard court filings and appearances are required. Most of our clients do not incur any additional fees.
    Our up-front attorney fee for filing a Chapter 13 is $1000, plus a $310 filing fee required by the court. The additional part of our total fee (which is set by bankruptcy district rules, not us) is paid later as part of the repayment plan.
  • How long does it take to file for bankruptcy?
    A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes 12-15 weeks for completion. The first step is to call us for a free consultation. After we have met with you and discussed your situation, we require that you fill out a workbook to make sure all of your debts are reported correctly and that you receive a successful bankruptcy. After you have completed your workbook and submitted all required information and paperwork, we can usually have the petition prepared within 2-3 business days (possibly sooner in emergency situations) and have you come back to sign your petition. After your signing appointment, we can usually get the petition filed within 1-2 business days if all required information was available at the time of signing. After your petition is filed, you will receive your date for the "meeting of creditors," also known as a 341 Hearing. After your 341 Hearing, it is another 8-12 weeks before your discharge is entered and your case is closed. In total, a typical bankruptcy takes 12-15 weeks after you complete your workbook
  • What do I have to do when filing?
    You will be responsible for four primary things:
    1. Completing a workbook we will supply to you, listing financial information
    2. Completing a credit counseling course. It can be done online, by phone, or in person.
    3. Attending the 341 Hearing/Meeting of Creditors
    4. Completing a financial management course. Available online, by phone, or in person.
  • When will creditors stop calling me?
    As soon as you retain our services, with a minimum payment of $100 which is applied toward the total fee, you can start informing all creditors that you have retained our firm and give them our contact information. Often they will then stop contacting you. By law, they are required to stop calling you once your bankruptcy is filed. They sometimes will continue contacting you, but if they do so they may be subject to penalties and we will quickly contact them to force them to stop.
  • What does X term mean?
    Below are some of the common terms you may hear in relation to bankruptcy law.

    Automatic Stay: Once you file for bankruptcy, the law provides what is known as an "automatic stay." This requires creditors to stop trying to collect debts, including any phone calls, letters, and garnishments.

    Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Known as a "straight bankruptcy," Chapter 7 bankruptcies allow a person to remove all of their dischargeable debts.

    Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Known as a "repayment plan," Chapter 13 bankruptcies allow you to repay debts over a period of 3-5 years, stop home foreclosures and stop penalties and late fees on taxes and other debts. You may also be able to discharge unsecured debts if your income level qualifies.

    Discharge: The discharge is when the court completes your bankruptcy case and legally declares that your qualifying debts no longer exist, no longer have to be paid, and are discharged.

    Reaffirmation Agreement: If you wish to keep property that you owe money on, such as an automobile or home, you may continue the debt by signing a reaffirmation agreement.

    Redeeming/Redemption: If you owe more money than an item is worth (such as owing $20,000 on a vehicle worth $10,000), you may "redeem" the item, which means you purchase it back at the current fair market value.

    Secured Creditor: A creditor that you owe money to on a loan secured by collateral. These creditors are usually car loans, trailer loans, and mortgages.

    Unsecured Creditor: A creditor that you owe money to that is not secured by any property. These are the majority of creditors and include credit cards, medical bills, and payday loans.
  • Have more questions?
    Contact our firm for a free initial consultation to discuss your needs. Call 573-755-0403 today!