We hope this information answers the most common questions you might have. If you have further questions, please call our office.
Should I file for Bankruptcy?
If it seems like you’re drowning in debt, make an appointment to meet with us. We can advise whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you, and which type of bankruptcy best suits your situation.
What do I need to bring to my bankruptcy consultation?
We ask for a small consultation fee, can be waived if you currently can’t pay, that will be applied to the cost of your bankruptcy, should you choose to file. We will also provide you with a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the process.
Some things you might want to bring to start your bankruptcy:
1. Drivers’ license and Social Security card
2. A recent credit report
Order from any of the major credit bureaus, or
Get a free report once a year from annualcreditreport.com
3. Last 2 years’ taxes
4. Last 6 months’ pay advices
5. Last 3 months’ bank statements
How long does it take?
It takes most people a week or two to gather and complete all of the relevant documentation. Once we receive all the information we need, we can have your bankruptcy petition ready to review and sign in just a few days. Once the bankruptcy petition is filed with the court, creditor collection activities including garnishments, foreclosures, lawsuits, harassing phone calls, and other demands for payment will stop right away. You will have an informal meeting in the federal bankruptcy court about a month later where a bankruptcy Trustee will review your petition. This is usually the last step for the you. The case will officially close a few months later and you can get to work rebuilding your credit.
Can I keep my house/car/possessions?
Generally, you can keep all the things that are essential to living. If you owe money on your house, car, boat, trailers, etc. and what to keep that asset lenders will ask you to reaffirm the debt. This means signing a bankruptcy reaffirmation agreement that will have the same contractual terms as the contract you first entered into. The majority of the time this is a simple process. It you don’t want to keep your house, car, boat, trailers, etc. you can always give it back to the lender.
The other things you own are mostly safe from seizure. Things like furniture, clothes, appliances, tools, and yes, your beloved pets, are typically considered exempt in a bankruptcy case.
Should I transfer or hide assets?
Absolutely not! Transferring assets complicates the bankruptcy process, and in some cases can result in those assets being seized by the court and distributed to your creditors. You need to disclose everything you own. Not being completely honest can have serious consequences.
What happens to my credit?
First, the bad news: your credit score is going to drop substantially.
Now, the good news: You will begin receiving offers for secured credit cards and cards with very high interest rates almost immediately. If you are careful, you can use these to your advantage to help rebuild your credit. But do be careful! You don’t want to end up in over your head again, and you can only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy every 8 years.
You should be eligible for car loans and mortgages a few years after filing, and if you diligently work on rebuilding your credit, you can have excellent credit scores within about 5 years.