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Frequently Asked Bankruptcy Questions
SHOULD I FILE BANKRUPTCY?
The decision to file bankruptcy should not be made without weighing the pros and cons of filing. Since both federal and state laws apply in bankruptcy, an individual considering bankruptcy needs competent, experienced legal assistance. Mayfield Law Firm can assist you in making this decision by carefully explaining the law, procedures, consequences and options associated with bankruptcy.
We represent individuals and business people who are unable to repay their bills and need a "FRESH START". Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 can help these individuals and small businesses find the "Debt Relief" that they need. The person who files bankruptcy is referred to as a "DEBTOR".
SHOULD I FILE CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13?
Whether an individual files a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 depends upon his/her specific financial situation. We can help you analyze your specific financial situation to determine what options are available to you in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 so that you can make an informed choice as to what is in your best interest.
A Chapter 7 (or straight bankruptcy as it is sometimes termed) is primarily beneficial if you have a significant amount of unsecured debt such as medical bills & credit cards and not much property. Chapter 13 is primarily beneficial if you are delinquent on house or car payments & want to keep them. Any individual, including self-employed individuals or sole proprietors who have regular income and meet the debt limitations, can file a Chapter 13 to allow them to repay their debts or a portion of their debts over a period of three (3) to five (5) years.
Under Chapter 13, unsecured creditors (those without liens or security interests) are usually paid a percentage of the debt owed depending upon the debtor's assets, income, expenses and ability to repay creditors.
We can examine your financial situation to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and whether you are at risk of losing any property. If you have property and desire to keep the property, you might consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
WILL I LOSE MY HOME OR CAR?
No. Under Chapter 7: Secured creditors, those having a security interest in homes, cars, furniture or other collateral, are treated differently than unsecured creditors such as, credit card, medical and utility bills. A debtor has several options with regard to secured creditors. If the debtor is current with payments to a creditor having a security interest in property, the debtor can continue to make the payments and thereby keep the property. A debtor also has the option of surrendering the property to the secured creditor and having no further responsibility for the debt.
Under Chapter 13: Secured creditors are usually repaid in full or at least to the extent of the value of the collateral over a three (3) to five (5) year period.
WILL CREDITORS STOP CALLING?
Yes. All bankruptcy cases are started by the filing of a petition with the court. When a petition is filed, an Automatic Stay protects you from your creditors. That means that all harassing phone calls, collection letters, repossessions, mortgage foreclosures, garnishments, wage assignments and the like must stop immediately after the creditor receives notice of your bankruptcy.
DO I HAVE TO PAY ANY DEBTS AFTER FILING BANKRUPTCY?
Yes, in most cases. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually discharges most unsecured debt so you are no longer legally liable for the debt. However, in most cases, you will have certain debts that you want to keep in order to keep the property, such as a house & car.
Chapter 7 is used by individuals, in-cluding self-employed and sole pro-proctorships, to discharge or extinguish personal liability for debts including, but not necessarily limited to, credit card, medical and utility bills and other dischargeable unsecured debt.
However, child support, alimony, criminal restitution and certain taxes are normally never dischargeable in Chapter 7.
WILL BANKRUPTCY STOP A FORECLOSURE OR REPOSSESSION?
Yes. An individual will usually file a Chapter 13 when they are trying to save property from being repossessed or foreclosed, such as when a home mortgage is in default or foreclosure. A Chapter 13 can establish a repayment plan for the amount in default and rein-statement of the mortgage. The same may be true for a car that is subject to being repossessed because of nonpayment.
WILL BANKRUPTCY DISCHARGE CHILD SUPPORT, STUDENT LOANS, TAXES, ETC.?
No. However, a Chapter 13 can establish a repayment plan for nondischargeable debts, such as alimony, child support, student loans, taxes or to lower payments to creditors. When an individual or small business has assets, having a value exceeding any outstanding liens which might be liquidated in a Chapter 7 case to repay creditors, a Chapter 13 repayment plan may be established to pay the nonexempt equity to creditors during the life of a plan so as not to lose any property.
Affordable Method of Payment:
Deposit: $89 to File (Filing fee included)
2nd Payment: $906; Payment Plan
3rd Payment: $400 due in 30 days
Deposit: $89 to File (if employed over 1 yr)
$281 within 14 days
Balance: (Thru Chapter 13 Plan)
*Plans are set up on 36, 48 or 60 months. The attorneys’ fees, along with the other creditors’ fees, are paid on a monthly basis through a debt consolidation plan. Your attorney will develop the best plan for your financial situation, based on your income, debts and other pertinent factors. The 36-month plan is the one most frequently chosen one.