What is the cost of filing a bankruptcy petition?
The Bankruptcy Court filing fee for a Chapter 7
bankruptcy case is presently $299.00.
The filing fee is $274.00 for a Chapter 13 case.
The legal fee is determined after the initial
consultation, or can be estimated over the telephone.
a Chapter 13 case, much or all of the legal fee can be
paid through the Chapter 13 plan.
the initial consultation free of charge?
What is the
difference between the different chapters of bankruptcy
(Chapter 7, Chapter 11, etc.)?
Most individuals file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is designed for individuals with limited
income and assets who wish to discharge unsecured debts,
such as credit cards, personal loans,
car loans/repossessions, and medical bills. Chapter 13, which is
a monthly payment plan used to repay some amount to
creditors, is used when the assets and/or income of the
debtor(s) is/are in excess of what is permitted under
Chapter 7. Unsecured creditors are seldom entitled to full payment through a
Chapter 13 plan and in most cases, they receive only a small
percentage of the amount owed.
A Chapter 13 is often used to stop a foreclosure
action, which can be done as late as the time of the
Sheriff’s sale (although we prefer as
much advance notice as possible) and cure a mortgage
arrearage through the Court-administered payment plan.
Chapter 11 is for corporate reorganizations, and Chapter
12 is designed specifically for family farmers who need
to reorganize their debts.
spouse have to file bankruptcy?
If the debts which need to be discharged are primarily
or entirely in the name of only one spouse, both spouses
usually do not need to file.
Both spouses may nevertheless wish to be present
at the initial consultation in order to hear for
themselves what effect, if any, their husband’s or
wife’s bankruptcy may have on them.
Will I be
able to retain my home in bankruptcy?
A home can be retained in Chapter 7 as long as the
owner(s) do(es) not have too much equity ($20,200.00 if
the home is owned by one person and $40,400.00 if the
home is owned by two people) and the mortgage payments
are current. There
are also special protections for homes owned by married
couples if only one spouse is filing, in which event
there may be unlimited equity in the home.
The mortgage may be in arrears on the date of the
filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, and indeed
often is, and there can be more equity in the home than
is permissible under Chapter 7.
However, mortgage payments must be resumed once
the bankruptcy petition is filed and any pre-existing
mortgage arrears and/or excess equity must be satisfied
through the payment plan.
How long does
a bankruptcy take?
Chapter 7 cases usually take five (5) months from the
date the petition is filed until the discharge is
issued. A Chapter
13 case lasts for as long as the payment plan, which by
law is a minimum of 36 months and a maximum of 60
How long will
the bankruptcy remain on my credit report?
A bankruptcy can be expected to stay on a credit report
for the duration of the bankruptcy case plus a period of
10 years from the date of the discharge.
However, credit is often available to those who
have filed bankruptcy, and a normal automobile loan rate
can usually be secured only two (2) years after the
ordinary mortgage loan rate can normally be secured only
four (4) years following the discharge.
(Please note that these time periods presume that
income is sufficient to support the loan, as would
ordinarily be required by the lender, and good credit
has been maintained since the bankruptcy filing).
If I file
bankruptcy without my spouse, will it affect his or her
Bankruptcies and other negative credit references are
ordinarily tracked by social security number, and thus
should not show up on your spouse’s credit report.
Please note, however, credit reports often
contain inaccurate information.
We can provide you with instructions for
correcting any misinformation which turns up on the
credit report of your wife or husband.
creditors still be able to call me?
Once we are retained, we instruct you to refer
all telephone calls to us.
When you advise a creditor you are being
represented by an attorney, the creditor may not call you
back (unless the attorney advises the creditor
he/she is in fact not representing the obligor or you do
not follow through with the bankruptcy filing).
A creditor can be sued if it continues to call a
debtor after the creditor has been notified that the
debtor is being represented by an attorney.
information will I need to bring with me to the initial
Recent paystubs or other proof of income, tax returns
for the last two (2) years, recent invoices for your
credit cards, recent bank statements, recent mortgage
statements and auto loan statements, legal complaints and
other court documents, and a list of your monthly
expenses (mortgage payment, rent payment, electric bill,
telephone bill, food, etc.).
Will I be
able to retain my vehicle if I file bankruptcy?
Yes. The law has
specific provisions permitting debtors to retain
vehicles. If you
have an automobile loan, you will simply need to continue
making your loan payments.
surrender a house or automobile in bankruptcy?
are often used by individuals who are losing or have
lost their home in foreclosure, or have had vehicles
bankruptcy will discharge any remaining debt on the
mortgage and/or auto loan.
If you are currently living in a house which you
would like to surrender, you may be able to remain in
the home until the Sheriff’s sale, which likely
won’t be held until many months after you stop making
dischargeable in bankruptcy?
You might expect the government would protect its
right to collect taxes even if an individual has filed
bankruptcy. Although this is indeed the case, there are exceptions which permit
certain income tax debts to be subject to discharge in
bankruptcy, particularly those over three (3) years old.
Real estate taxes cannot be discharged if the
debtor wishes to keep his or her home.
For business owners, sales taxes and employee
withholding taxes are not subject to discharge in