FAQ's

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which an individual who cannot pay his or her bills can get a fresh financial start. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you, at least until your debts are sorted out according to the law.

Yes. Many people believe they cannot own anything for a period of time after filing for bankruptcy. This is not true. You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits within 180 days after your bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt.

If you own a vehicle outright, the exemptions that are available to you will be applied to protect your car so you can keep it. If you have a loan on your vehicle, in order to keep the vehicle you must make every single payment on time to avoid repossession.

• Bankruptcy may make it possible for you to:
• Eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts. This is called a "discharge" of debts, designed to give you a fresh financial start.
• End constant and annoying phone calls by creditors and collection agencies.
• Prevent repossession of a car or force the creditor to return property even after it has been repossessed.
• Stop wage garnishment, debt collection harassment, and similar creditor actions to collect a debt.
• Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
• Allow you to challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud or who are otherwise trying to collect more than you really owe.

Yes. Bankruptcy laws change from time to time and in order to effectively handle your case, our attorneys keep current on the changes in bankruptcy laws by reading legal journals and attending bankruptcy seminars and conferences taught by bankruptcy trustees, judges and other leading authorities in the field.

In most bankruptcy cases, you only have to go to a proceeding called the "meeting of creditors" a.k.a. " 341 meeting" to meet with the bankruptcy trustee and any creditor who chooses to come. Most of the time, this meeting will be a short and simple procedure where you are asked a few questions about your bankruptcy forms and your financial situation.

Timeline
From beginning to end, most Chapter 7 cases take between 90 to 120 days to complete. Most of your involvement as a client will be at the beginning of the case and includes attending one meeting of creditors, explained in the previous paragraph.

Process
You and your attorney will fill out an "intake" which is how we get information from you to include in your bankruptcy petition. A bankruptcy petition is the document that is filed with the court that has all of your financial information, including a list of all of your debts and all of your assets and other property, as well as a list of all your income and expenses.

Financial Counseling
Before the bankruptcy can be filed, the client has to take a "credit counseling" course and obtain the "certificate of credit counseling". This takes about 60 to 90 minutes and is done over the telephone. Before the bankruptcy is concluded, each person must take a "financial management" course that will assist the client in future financial planning and money management.