Bankruptcy & How Long The Process Takes

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can last anywhere from 100 to 120 days from start to finish.  It basically works like this: once the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, there is a notice that goes out to all creditors, the debtor and the debtor’s attorney advising of an upcoming meeting called a 341 Meeting of Creditors.  This meeting is held anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks after filing where a Chapter 7 trustee is going to interview the debtor under oath regarding assets, liabilities and all the information in the bankruptcy petition.  Creditors have an opportunity to appear at this meeting, however most will not under Chapter 7 because they rely on the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee to perform the + Read More

Keep Home When Payments are Current – Bankruptcy

You definitely have the ability to keep your house and car in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if you are current on your payments, provided you do not have significant nonexempt equity in those properties.  Most people who come to see me for a Chapter 7 and who may be homeowners do not have significant equity.  It is definitely the norm for people to have very little in the way of equity in the real estate.  In those cases, they can continue to make their first and/or second mortgage payment and keep the property free and clear from creditors and from the trustee. In terms of vehicles, once again, most people do not have significant equity above and beyond the exemption amount in a vehicle.  Most + Read More

Will I file a Bankruptcy Case Prior To Being Fully Paid?

There are some cases under Chapter 7 where I will file a case prior to being paid in full.  Those cases involve wage garnishments, bank citations or other court appearances required that would be a burden to the debtor and would actually hinder the debtor’s ability to pay the law firm in the long run.  In those certain circumstances, when the debtor must be filed, if they show good working history, if they have the ability to fulfill the obligations under the Bankruptcy Code, then I will consider filing prior to being paid in full.  In those circumstances, we will want a post-petition retainer agreement which basically sets forth what the law firm is going to do after the case is filed and + Read More

How much is it to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

At the time of this writing, the filing fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are $306.  The filing fees for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are $281.  Each law firm differs on how much they require down as well as how much they require in terms of a total fee to file a type of bankruptcy.  In my office, we typically start with a $100 down payment to hire the firm.  It is from that point that the debtor will make payments of at least $100 every two weeks until their case is paid in full.  The typical timeframe to file the case is once the fees are paid in full and once all of the prefiling bankruptcy requirements are satisfied. There are some cases where you want to file the bankruptcy prior to be paid in + Read More

Bankruptcy – How many payments do I have left in my Chapter 13?

Once a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed and a plan is proposed, it’s going to run for a certain number of months, typically between 36 and 60 month.  Now, there are some cases that end much earlier than 36 months and there are no cases that can exceed the 60 months.  So somewhere between a couple months and 60 months, your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will come to a completion. Every six months or so, the trustee sends a periodic report to the debtor and the debtors attorney basically laying out what has been paid, what still needs to be paid and approximately how much the payoff is on the Chapter 13.  Many times debtors will receive this and they won’t be able to read it or understand + Read More

Why should I file for bankruptcy if I’m using a debt consolidation service right now?

Differences Between Bankruptcy And Debt Consolidation There are huge differences between bankruptcy and debt consolidation services.  If you’re filing a chapter 7, you are going to get a fresh start.  If you are using a debt consolidation service, you are going to wind up paying back to creditors.  It’s quite possible that you really don’t have any legal obligation to repay creditors if you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy.  If you don’t file for chapter 7 and you want to repay your debts, then debt consolidation may work for you.  However, in my experience, I have seen too many cases where somebody has been in debt consolidation only to wind up filing for chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy + Read More

When can I buy a house after filing for bankruptcy?

How Soon Can I Buy? You can typically buy a house two years after the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Lenders want to see that you have rehabilitated yourself after a bankruptcy filing.  They want to see that you have not incurred any negative credit since the time of filing.  They want to see that you have the ability to pay on a mortgage and that you have the ability to make a down payment on a house. Old Debts Will Be Forgotten If you qualify for a mortgage and you are able to buy that house, then the debts that were discharged in your bankruptcy are no longer going to bother you.  The trustee has no right to come back to years later and seek to take your property.  You have gotten + Read More

Can I Make Payments To File A Bankruptcy?

Payment Plans Are Available You most certainly can get on a payment plan to file a bankruptcy.  In fact, most people do not have the ability to pay the lump sum which is the court costs and the attorneys’ fees, all at one sitting.  What I like to do is offer a client a reasonable payment plan whereby they can hire the firm for as little as $100 down and then go on a payment plan of $100 every two weeks.  The typical payment plan that I work in my office is called an electronic fund transfer.  The electronic fund transfer is an automatic deduction every other Friday out of a checking account, typically in the amount of $100.  This gives clients the ease of being able to make payments without + Read More

Can I keep one of my credit cards and not put it on my bankruptcy?

All Creditors Must Be Listed If you are filing bankruptcy, then all of your creditors must be listed.  This includes credit cards, personal loans, auto payments, mortgage payments and any other debt, including debts owed to family members.  I understand that many people have lived off credit cards, they love the convenience of credit cards and they want to keep one credit card free and clear and they don’t want to lose it in the bankruptcy.  Now, this is true even if they have a zero balance on that card and even if it’s the card that they’ve had since they turned 18 and they’ve had it forever and they don’t want to lose it. The problem is the Bankruptcy Code mandates that all debts be + Read More

Bankruptcy Can Eliminate IRS Debt In Certain Cases

Case Overview This is the case of Gary Kaplan from St. Charles, Illinois.  Mr. Kaplan filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy back in 2001 so he is eligible to file another Chapter 7 should the facts dictate that he file.  He has a townhouse that has a market value of $188,000 and he owes approximately $46,000 on a first mortgage and $181,000 on a second mortgage; so he is significantly underwater on the house.  He has a 2009 Chevy Impala which is paid for.  It’s got 100,000 miles on it and it’s in very poor condition.  He also has a 2011 Honda CRV, although he claims that it’s in his wife’s name only. Personal Property In terms of personal property, he has got a checking and savings account at + Read More

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