How do I know if I should file personal bankruptcy?

*Are you being sued? If you are being sued, and you own a home, we strongly urge you to speak with attorney Christopher Soppe immediately about filing a bankruptcy. A bankruptcy will stop a lawsuit immediately and prevent your creditors from placing a lien on your home or garnishing your hard-earned wages.

*Is your home being foreclosed or is your car about to be repossessed? If it is, very often bankruptcy may prevent the foreclosure action or repossession from proceeding and allow you to consolidate your mortgage arrears or automobile balance and make payments on those debts over time through a payment plan designed by us with your help. If your house is being foreclosed or your car is about to be repossessed, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be an option. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may save your house and your car.

*Do credit cards or medical bills have you so deep in debt that it is hard for you to save for the future? If you are only paying the minimum payment on the credit card bills from month to month (generally from two to three percent of the outstanding balance), and the interest rate is only 15%, you will take about 20 years to pay off a $10,000 debt. Do you really want to be in the same financial situation in twenty years? Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide you with a fresh start that you deserve.

Will I lose my car and my house?

As long as you continue to keep up to date on your payments on the loan that secures the property, there should be no problem keeping your house or car, even after the bankruptcy proceeding concludes.

Will I have to give up any of my other property to creditors?

The vast majority of filers get all or most of their debts discharged (wiped out) without giving up any of their own property. This is because federal and state laws provide protections for your property. Examples of protected property that you may keep regardless of your bankruptcy include household goods, jewelry, clothing, real estate, money in the bank, retirement plans and much more.

Will everyone find out about my filing?

Not unless you tell them, or they go out of their way to check the public records. Bankruptcy filings are usually not published in newspapers; therefore the only people who typically find out are your creditors whose debts you listed on the petition.

Will filing bankruptcy stop bill collectors from taking action?

Yes. When you file bankruptcy, federal law imposes an “automatic stay” which precludes your creditors from taking any action to collect debts against you, including court judgments and tax debts, while your bankruptcy is pending. For example, if you were served by one of your creditors to appear in court over a debt, the bankruptcy filing will stop this lawsuit. Any wage garnishments or repossession efforts are also halted.

Does my spouse have to file jointly with me?

If all or most of the debts are in your name only, your spouse may not have to file. Creditors usually cannot pursue a non-filing spouse, unless he or she is legally a co-debtor on the debt. Additionally, the bankruptcy should not be reflected on the non-filing spouse’s credit report. The law does vary, however, from state to state so make sure you ask attorney Christopher Soppe about whether or not your spouse has to file.

Can I get credit after filing personal bankruptcy?

Although bankruptcy may legally be reported to your credit report for up to 10 years, you can begin to reestablish your credit immediately. Remember that “credit” is your ability to borrow money. Lenders consider many factors while determining whether to loan you money, but most importantly, they consider your debt-to-income ratio. You are probably visiting this site because you already have more outstanding debt than you have the ability to pay. So, arguably, you do not have credit.

Filing eliminates most, if not all of your debts, therefore reducing your debt-to-income ratio, potentially improving your ability to borrow money in the future. Some financial institutions actively solicit business from people who have filed. Lenders are in business to make money by lending you money and charging you interest. Lenders know that once you have filed, you will not be able to file again for 8 years.

Many of our clients have purchased cars immediately upon receiving their discharge orders. Many lenders have programs that provide for post-bankruptcy borrows to obtain home financing within a year or two after a discharge. Many of our clients even receive solicitations for unsecured credit cards almost immediately upon receiving their discharge. Attorney Christopher Soppe  just wants to advise you to be careful not to get back into the credit card “trap”.

Can I get rid of student loans?

Normally you can not get rid of student loans through bankruptcy except in the rare case.  However, by getting rid of other debts this may free up enough money so that you can pay your student loans.

Do I have to list all of my assets on my petition?

Yes. Knowingly and fraudulently concealing your assets from the bankruptcy court is a felony and the court has the power to fine you and deny you a discharge. However, federal and state laws protect most people’s assets. It is best to discuss the specifics of your situation with your attorney.

How long does a bankruptcy take?

A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes approximately 3-4 months from filing date.