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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

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The most common is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy which is filed by individuals (called “consumers” or “debtors’) or businesses that qualify for a liquidation of debt.

Most of the following debts are dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

  • Credit cards
  • Surrendered or repossessed vehicles
  • Old utilities
  • Old cell phone bills
  • Medical debt
  • Personal loans
  • Pay day loans
  • Foreclosed mortgage deficits

Most of the following debts are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Student loans
  • Debts that have resulted from fraud
The bankruptcy attorneys at Banik & Renner will guide you through the process of how to file a bankruptcy beginning with our first meeting.  We will review your debt and income and discuss with you the types of bankruptcies and determine if a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is appropriate.

To qualify for a Chapter 7 your income must fall below the median income for your state and family size, and you must pass the means test. Consumers generally do not lose any assets in a Chapter 7 because as a rule, most household possessions, vehicles and the like fall under the bankruptcy exemptions.  Each state has specific exemptions for the equity in your home, cars, jewelry, household possessions, cash on hand and the like.  The trustee may “liquidate” or sell assets that are worth more than the allowed exemption for that asset and the proceeds are then distributed to creditors.  Most debtors do not own assets worth more than the allowed exemptions so few debtors actually lose any assets in the filing of a bankruptcy.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you can choose to allow the creditor to repossess a secured debt like a car or a house and discharge the remaining balance, or you may choose to reaffirm the debt subject to certain considerations.  Reaffirmation means that you will continue to pay the creditor under the same terms and conditions as stated in your original agreement.  Your obligation on that debt is then not discharged in your bankruptcy.

From the date of filing to the date of discharge of your debts is approximately 90 days.  If your bankruptcy successfully discharges, the debts listed in your bankruptcy are discharged and can no longer be collected.  If you have reaffirmed any debts such as a car or home, you must continue to pay those debts after you bankruptcy concludes or the creditor may pursue you for return of the collateral and payment of the debt.

Understand the benefits and protections you are entitled to under the law.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Why choose Banik & Renner?

  • Individualized service with no assembly line representation
  • The lawyer you meet with is the lawyer who represents you
  • We are local attorneys who have practiced in the community since graduation from Notre Dame Law School three decades ago
  • We attend seminars and remain current in our areas of practice
  • We ask questions and we really listen to your answers to help you
  • We will not “hard sell” you on our representation
  • We explain your options in words you can understand or keep trying until you do
  • We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.

What do I need to do before meeting with an Attorney?

  • Write down who you owe money to and how much you owe each creditor
  • Write down what your monthly expenses are
  • Bring your last three (3) pay stubs to your appointment
If you own a home, bring your most recent tax assessment and mortgage statement

How do I contact Banik & Renner?

Click here to contact us or call 574.293.7170 for more information or to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION.

Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions

Does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy if I do?
No. However, keep in mind that if you and your spouse are both liable on a debt, your non-filing spouse will remain liable on the debt.  So, if the non-filing spouse is only liable on a small amount of joint debt, he or she may choose not to file so as to avoid having a bankruptcy on his or her credit report.

Can my boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other or domestic partner and I file for bankruptcy together?
No.  Only legally married couples can file a joint bankruptcy.  If you have joint debts, the non-filing individual will remain liable on the joint debt.  If both of you have significant debt, together or separately, you would both have to file separate bankruptcies.

How long will I have bad credit after filing a bankruptcy?
That is largely up to you. If following the discharge of your debt you are able to avoid negative reports on your credit report, your credit may begin to improve within a year.  Generally, most lenders require good credit for 3 years following the filing of a bankruptcy.

If I file bankruptcy will my wage garnishment stop?
Yes. Your employer must receive notice of the filing of your bankruptcy and the creditor must also receive notice in order to stop the garnishment.  Your bankruptcy must be filed with the court to stop the garnishment. It is not sufficient to notify the creditor that you intend to file bankruptcy.

How soon will the creditors stop bothering me after I file for bankruptcy?
An automatic stay goes into effect when your bankruptcy is filed.  Once a creditor receives that notice from the bankruptcy court the creditor must stop calling you, sending out collection notices and of course, must stop any court actions including garnishments.

Chapter 13 Frequently Asked Questions

If I have to pay back debt in a Chapter 13 why shouldn’t I just enter into a debt repayment plan with a debt consolidation company?
In a Chapter 13 most debtors are not required to repay all of their unsecured debt compared to a debt consolidation plan where all of the creditors must be paid in full.  In a Chapter 13, any debt that is not repaid is discharged and you pay no taxes on the debt that was discharged. In a debt consolidation plan “debt forgiveness” will result in the creditor sending you an IRS Form 1099 for the amount of the debt that you did not repay.

How many years does a Chapter 13 last?
Most Chapter 13 plans are 5 year plans.  In some instances where there is little debt or the debtor is a high wage earner, 3 year plans are possible.

Click here to contact Attorneys at law, Banik and Renner or call 574.293.7170 to learn more about filing for bankuptcy.


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