Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
If you’ve been burdened with debt obligations that you can’t pay back and are looking for a fresh financial start, then you may want to file for and declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Speak with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer today!
Also known as liquidation or straight bankruptcy, this type of bankruptcy declaration can help you discharge most of your unsecured debts, including but not limited to personal loans, medical bills, and credit card debts.
Chapter 7 is the most common, quickest and simplest type of bankruptcy. And this is quite evident from the number of cases filed for Chapter 7. In 2016, over 63 percent of the bankruptcy cases filed was of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, to proceed with it, you must qualify for it first.
To make things easier, here’s everything that you need to know about Chapter 7 and qualification criteria.
A bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is basically a procedure where an individual in severe financial debt can have some or all of their debts eliminated.
In general, Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes about 4 to 6 months to complete. Here’s how the process works:
As a debtor you first have to complete pre-file bankruptcy counseling, which must be done from a qualified and non-profit credit counseling agency within a period of 180 days.
Hire a bankruptcy Lawyer
Next step is to hire an experienced and trusted bankruptcy lawyer who can help you with the filing and paperwork such as various forms involved in the process. Remember that this is not a DIY situation because missing or incomplete paperwork and paperwork not submitted in a timely manner can all lead to your case being dismissed and rejected.
File All Crucial Paperwork
Your bankruptcy lawyer will file your petition with the bankruptcy court in the area where you reside or operate. They will be required to file the following forms:
- Schedules of assets and liabilities
- Schedule of current income and expenditures
- Financial affairs statement
- Executory contracts and unexpired leases schedule
Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will place an automatic temporary stay on your current debts. This will stop creditors from collection of payments, wage garnish, foreclosures, property repossession or evicting you. However, the court will take the legal possession of your property.
Court Appoints a Trustee to Take Over
The court will appoint a trustee who will oversee your case. The debtor must provide the trustee assigned to the case with a tax return copy and transcripts for the most recent tax year and returns filed during the case.
Creditors Meeting is Held
The trustee will carry a creditor meeting in the courthouse between you and your creditors. In this meeting you will have to answer all the questions from the creditors and trustee about your bankruptcy and finances.
Eligibility is Evaluated
The assigned trustee will review your assets and finances and also oversee your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The trustee will sell non-exempt property and the use the raised money to repay your creditors. However, in order to resolve the secured debts, the property if held as collateral shall be ordered to return to the creditor.
But if you don’t want to do that then you can redeem the collateral by paying the creditor what its worth at present, or reaffirm the debt.
Before the case is discharged, the court will order you to take a financial course to educate you about how to manage your finances. This course must be taken from a qualified non-profit credit counseling agency.
If you don’t have enough funds after accounting for exempt property to pay everyone what the amount owed, then the remaining balances are discharged. This means that you, the debtor, no longer owes that money. In other words, the eligible debt is forgiven and thereafter, the case is closed. From then onwards you can take a fresh start and make sure that you don’t burden yourself with debt obligations again.
It is important to note here that some types of debts are not dischargeable through bankruptcy such as unsecured debts. These may include:
- Child support
- Most student loans
- Court fees
- Personal injury debts
- Homeowners association fees
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will lose your non-exempt belongings. This includes property that has a lien on it or property that is offered as collateral for a loan.
However, there are some things that are exempted too and it can also be your property. Take a look to learn more:
- Homestead/ residence
- Retirement accounts of certain type
- Property that is necessary to earn a living or for work
- Funds in tax-exempt retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or 403(b) accounts
- Certain insurance benefits
Chapter 7 is perhaps the best option for those:
- Who own little assets
- Who’s problem debts total more than 40 percent of their annual income
- Who own debt like credit card balances, personal loan and medical bills
- Who’s family income does not exceed the state median for the same family size
- Who has little to no disposable income
- Who can’t pay off the debt even after five or more years despite of taking desperate measures
In addition to this, the debtor must also qualify and pass the means test. This test calculates whether you have the adequate means to return at least a sum of debts if not all. It compares the debtor’s household income with the median income for your state. And also, compares your expenditures with the local standards of IRS.
Other qualification requirements include:
- You cannot have filed for and completed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last 8 years or a Chapter 13 in the past 6 years
- Cannot have written and filed a petition for bankruptcy in the last 180 days that was dismissed because you didn’t appear in court or failed to conform with the orders of the court or dismissed your petition voluntarily because your creditors sought court relief for property recovery that had a lien
When looking for a quick debt resolution, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is perhaps the best option for debtors in distress. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case last from 3 to 6 month, so you can be rest assured that you’ll have a clean slate in the fastest possible time, and then you can start all over without any pending payments or collectors giving you sleepless nights.
Another big advantage of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that there is no payment plan involved. Do you know what this means? It means that you don’t have to comply with a 3 or 5 year repayment plan. Thus, once the bankruptcy case is complete and closed you won’t owe anyone a dime. All debts are wiped out except for the non-dischargeable ones.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy you have greater chances of protecting your property. This type of bankruptcy helps you keep most necessities. Also, if you don’t have much of your luxury goods, then most or all of your property is likely to get exempt.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for as long as 10 years from the date of filing it. However, the accounts and negative marks that were included in the bankruptcy may be removed from the report after seven years.
If you struggle with debt obligations and are thinking to file for bankruptcy, then contact our team our experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyers. Specializing in bankruptcy, at Shiner Law Group, we can evaluate your case in depth and determine the type of bankruptcy that is best suited in your situation.
Furthermore, our lawyers work in the best interest of our clients. Rest assured, we’ll provide you with the best advice and help you at every step of the process, so that the bankruptcy process is completed smoothly and without any stress.
In addition to this, we’ll also teach you the many and proven ways to bounce back and rebuild your equity after getting bankrupt. After bankruptcy, your financial life particularly credit needs attention. We’ll share with you the best ways in your situation to restore your credit, so that you can set on the road of financial recovery and independence in the fastest possible time.
For more information or assistance with filing for bankruptcy, feel free to contact us. We are here to help you.