Each year, more than 1.5 million Americans file for bankruptcy, along with thousands of businesses. If you are in over your head with debt, are receiving harassing phone calls and collection letters, or are being threatened with repossession, our skilled legal team at Skow Law Firm is here to help. Bankruptcy laws are in place in order to provide individuals with an opportunity for a fresh start. At Skow Law Firm, our extensive knowledge of the law and years of experience make us the go-to firm for all of your bankruptcy law needs.
There are two kinds of bankruptcy:
Chapter 7: Eliminating consumer debt (credit cards) while keeping your car and home
Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy that wipes out most of your general unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills without the need to pay back balances through a repayment plan. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must meet income requirements called a “means test.” If you make too much money you will have to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
When you file for Chapter 7 an “automatic stay” is issued by the court that immediately stops most creditors from pursuing collection efforts. A bankruptcy trustee is appointed to administer your case. In addition to reviewing your bankruptcy papers and supporting documents the Chapter 7 trustee’s job is to sell your nonexempt property (property that you can’t protect with a bankruptcy exemption – we claim exemptions for you on the bankruptcy petition) to pay back your creditors. If you don’t have any nonexempt assets your creditors receive nothing. The vast majority of Chapter 7 filings are what they call “no asset” or “no distribution” cases.
Chapter 13: Reorganize your debt over time under a supervised plan while still receiving a discharge
Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy designed for debtors with regular income who have enough left over each month to pay back at least a portion of their debts through a repayment plan. Even though most Chapter 13 filers make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy many debtors choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy because it offers many benefits not available in Chapter 7, such as the ability to catch up on missed mortgage payments or strip wholly unsecured junior liens from your house.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy you get to keep all of your property including nonexempt assets—however you’ll have to pay creditors an amount equal to the value of your nonexempt property. In exchange you pay back all or a portion of your debts through a repayment plan. The amount you must pay back will depend on your income, expenses, and type of debt.
Typically, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for debtors who:
- Don’t qualify for Chapter 7 but need debt relief ( to lower credit card payments, stop litigation, or prevent a wage garnishment).
- Have non-dischargeable debts such as alimony or child support arrears that they’d like to pay off over three to five years.
- Have fallen behind on a house or car payment and want to get caught up on missed payments and keep the house or car.
Skow Law Firm will help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you, what kind of bankruptcy is best for you, and what your rights are moving forward.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will declaring bankruptcy end harassing collection agency calls?
Once our team has filed your bankruptcy petition in court, the creditors have to stop contacting you. Immediate correspondence will be sent to each individual creditor that you list, demanding they stop harassing you. This obligation to cease is required by law and is enforced by the court systems. And if a creditor happens to contact you for any reason, all you need to do is provide your case number and filing date and they will immediately update their record and cease collection action against you.
Can declaring bankruptcy stop the foreclosure process?
If you are at risk of having your property foreclosed upon or if you are in foreclosure already, bankruptcy may be able to provide you with some relief. Many who face foreclosure seek solace in bankruptcy, including homeowners who have homes worth less than the amount owed.
Will declaring bankruptcy protect my personal possessions from repossession?
If you are at risk of having your truck, boat, car or any other precious asset repossessed, bankruptcy may be able to provide you with relief by preventing the repossession from transpiring. Even if your car was recently repossessed, bankruptcy laws may be able to help you get it back. However, there is only a 10-day window to retrieve your car, boat or other asset. Call now to get started.
What are my rights regarding the IRS & Back Taxes?
Interest and penalties from the IRS add up quickly. Because of this, many people find themselves in over their head with debt due to these sneakily accumulating back taxes. However, you have a number of options — particularly through the utilization of bankruptcy laws. Let one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys help you to determine your rights and how bankruptcy laws can protect you.
Will bankruptcy keep my credit rating intact?
While bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 10 years, bankruptcy does not destroy your credit score. Rather, immediately after filing, you are provided with a fresh start.
If you’re looking to know more about how our bankruptcy lawyers can help you, call us today at 386-310-4894 for your free consultation.