When you decide you need to file for bankruptcy to get out of debt, your first step should be to hire an experienced, well-respected bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will help guide you through the process and give you advice on how best to proceed to protect your assets and your financial future.
To ensure you are headed down the right path with your bankruptcy application, it’s important to ask your bankruptcy attorney some key questions to make sure you know exactly what to expect – both during the process and afterward.
Should I File for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
One of the first questions you should ask your attorney is what type of bankruptcy you should file for, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. To determine this, your attorney will need to assess your financial situation, take inventory of your debts, and review the property you own.
Chapter 7 benefits people who can prove their income is below a certain level and cannot afford to repay their debts. One of the advantages of this type of bankruptcy is that it can be finalized in a few months. However, you might have to liquidate your assets that can’t be marked exempt to pay off some of your debts to your creditors.
Chapter 13 is for those who have enough income to repay some of their debts through a repayment plan. This usually runs over 3 to 5 years. You need to repay your creditors under this type of bankruptcy, but it can allow you to keep your home and other property as long as you make regular payments.
Will Bankruptcy Erase All of My Debt?
You need to understand what debt will be discharged during your bankruptcy, and what you will still need to repay to creditors. Your lawyer will explain to you that you should be able to eliminate your credit card balances, medical bills, utility bills, and other debts. Any secured debts – like back taxes or child support – cannot be discharged. Your attorney will advise you on how to handle these after your bankruptcy is finalized.
Can I Keep My House?
If you have a home that you do not want to lose during your bankruptcy proceedings, you need to notify your attorney. Your lawyer can work with you to determine if you can mark your house as exempt – meaning you can protect it during your bankruptcy and not have to liquidate it if you are filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
What Happens During the Bankruptcy Process?
Your attorney will set expectations for what can happen during the bankruptcy process. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to first file some forms with your attorney and the court. You will be expected to attend a meeting of creditors. You will also need to file paperwork and attend a meeting of creditors if you file for Chapter 13, but you will also have to submit a repayment plan and have it approved by the court.
How Long Does It Take To Finalize a Bankruptcy?
Your bankruptcy attorney can help set a timeline for how long your bankruptcy case might take before it is finalized. For Chapter 13 cases, it typically takes 3 to 5 years, whereas Chapter 7 cases can be resolved in a few months. These timelines will vary from case to case, so it’s essential to work with your bankruptcy attorney to monitor how your case is progressing.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney
When you need to file for bankruptcy, it’s important to know what to expect. You need to hire an experienced attorney to help you through the process and answer all of your questions. Don’t let debt ruin your life. Call (405) 529-9377 for a free case review.