What can chapter 7 do for me?
Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy gives you the protection of the "automatic stay." The automatic stay will immediately stop all collection activity and most lawsuits. Consulting with a Bradenton chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will help answer your questions regarding bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 automatic stay will also ease most debt related stress by halting:
- Collection phone calls and other creditor harassment,
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy completely cancels your qualifying debts. These debts include personal loans, credit card bills, repossession deficiencies, medical bills and most court judgments. In most cases, income taxes more than three years old may also be included. Debts which are not covered by bankruptcy include:
- student loans (unless you can prove "undue hardship,"),
- alimony and support payments,
- fines and debts incurred due to involvement in criminal activity
- sales and withholding tax
To qualify for a Chapter 7 you must pass the means test and surrender all of your non-exempt assets to the trustee. Florida residents generally can exempt $1,000 in personal property, $1,000 equity in a vehicle, and your house. If you don't own a house you can exempt $4,000 in personal property.
In a Chapter 7 you can usually keep your current car loan or mortgage if you can afford to keep up the payments. If you don't want to keep your house or car you can choose to give it up and not have to pay anything.
If you are struggling under the burden of unmanageable debt, talk to an experienced attorney at the Holland Law Group about your options. We can advise whether or not you qualify for a Chapter 7 and whether this is the most appropriate solution for your particular circumstances.
The type of debt you have as well as your financial goals should be taken into account when determining your best course of action. If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, you may qualify for Chapter 13 or one of the many alternatives to bankruptcy which can help you to come out from under the weight of heavy debt.
At the Holland Law Group, our skilled bankruptcy attorneys are committed to helping individuals in need gain a fresh start. Although your situation may seem hopeless now, you do have options. We can provide you with the information you need.
Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs)
How poor do I have to be to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the Chapter 7 means test. If your income is below the average income in your state, taking into account the size of your household, you are presumed to be poor enough to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Depending on the details of your finances, though, you could still be ruled ineligible. The key question is whether you are rich enough to make payments under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan.
What is the credit counseling requirement?
All debtors must complete credit counseling from a nonprofit agency before filing a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, unless an exception applies. You will be required to provide detailed financial records to your credit counselor who will probably try to find a way to keep you out of bankruptcy.
What happens immediately after my Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is filed?
After you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition:
- The bankruptcy court will appoint an Interim Trustee for your case.
- You will be expected to attend a “meeting of creditors.” It is possible that the only ones in attendance will be you, your lawyer, and the Interim Trustee (creditors typically do not bother attending).
- The Interim Trustee will ask you questions under oath, which you must answer.
- The Interim Trustee will issue a recommendation on your petition to the bankruptcy court.
Eventually the court will appoint a Trustee and enter a discharge. The Trustee will liquidate your assets and use the proceeds to pay your creditors.
How does an automatic stay work?
Once the automatic stay kicks in (immediately upon the filing of your petition), your creditors can no longer hound you. They cannot sue you, they cannot garnish your wages, they cannot repossess your car, and they cannot call and harass you. Some creditors are still allowed to operate, however – you can still be pursued for criminal fines, alimony, and child support, for example.
How does a Chapter 7 debt discharge work?
A Chapter 7 discharge voids any court judgement finding personal liability against you, and it prevents creditors with personal liability claims against you from seeking to collect. If your debt is secured by collateral, creditors can still seize the collateral unless it is subject to a bankruptcy exemption. Your co-signers and guarantors are not relieved of liability by a Chapter 7 discharge.
Contact A Trusted Bradenton Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Today!
At the Holland Law Group we focus on Consumer Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, and Debt Defense. We proudly serve Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties.
To learn more click here to schedule a free consultation or call us today @ 941-306-3601