What is the difference between a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
Generally, in a Chapter 13, you are required to pay back your creditors a percentage or all of what is owed. This can occur because you may be behind in a car or house payments, your income is above the median income, you have excessive assets, or other issues. The plan payments last for three or five years.
A Chapter 7 requires no repayment plan. Car payments and mortgage payments must continue to be paid.
I keep hearing about a “means test”. What is that and what does it have to do with bankruptcy?
The United State Bankruptcy Code sets out a test to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7 based upon income and other factors. One of the things we do is get you to qualify under the means test for the usually more preferable Chapter 7.
Will I lose any assets if I file bankruptcy?
It depends, but in the vast majority of cases, usually no. Certain items, investments, cars and real property can be protected by using exemptions. If these items exceed the allowable exemptions you and I will discuss alternative options.
What will bankruptcy do for me?
It will provide you with the freedom to restart your life. If you just cannot seem to get ahead and you find yourself losing sleep to worry, filing for bankruptcy could be the best decision you have ever made.
Will creditors stop harassing me if I file for bankruptcy?
Yes! As soon as they have notice that you have filed for bankruptcy, the law forbids them to have any further contact with you.
Why should I hire your law firm?
There are many great firms and attorneys out there who can help you but what sets me apart is the individualized attention you will receive from me. Do you need someone to take the extra time to explain the process to you? Do you feel the need to have the same attorney work with you from start to finish? Do you prefer not to fill out voluminous paperwork? Do you wish to be treated like an individual? If you feel these issues are important to you, then I would be pleased to help you through the process. Most bankruptcy law firms do not afford you this luxury.
I’m worried about my credit, when can I expect to have good credit?
Throughout the bankruptcy you will continue to pay things like your internet, phone and electric bills, all help strengthen your credit score. Generally, if you stay on top of your financial responsibilities after you bankruptcy case is finished, you should see a respectable score in about a year.
I filed for bankruptcy some years back. Can I file again? You may file a subsequent Chapter 7 after 8 years from the discharge of your last bankruptcy.
What will filing bankruptcy do to my credit?
That depends, for some of my clients their score actually increases as soon as they file! Others will experience a temporary dip before their score recovers.
How long does it take?
A Chapter 7 can take as little as 4 months. A Chapter 13 is a longer process taking anywhere between 36-60 months.
Do I have to go to court?
One court appearance is required. Some cases may require more depending on other factors, such as motions or adjournments.
Can I keep my house?
In most cases yes. We can determine if you will be able to keep your house before we file. Therefore, if your house is at risk you can make the decision whether or not you choose to go forward with a bankruptcy. If you decide to not file, you and I will discuss other options.
Can I keep a certain credit card?
With the exception of a credit card associated with a credit union or special permission of the court, you cannot choose to keep one credit card over another.
I’m going to file for divorce from my spouse. Should I get divorced first or file for bankruptcy first?
This is a very case specific question. In some instances, you should file for divorce first. Please contact me before making this decision on your own.
Can I get my student loans wiped out in bankruptcy?
Typically, no, but there have been some very specific cases where courts have discharged student loans. But, in our office, Eric Lundquist specializes in student loan issues and will likely be able to help you out with them.
I owe a friend/relative money and I want to pay them before I file, should I do that?
You cannot pay back any friends or family members back any money within one year before filing for bankruptcy.
Should I transfer my house/car/boat, etc. to a family member before filing bankruptcy?
NO! If you are considering filing for bankruptcy please contact me before you make any major financial decisions. Without knowing the Bankruptcy Code restrictions, transferring or selling personal or real property could preclude from filing for bankruptcy for years.
Can they take my tax refund?
Yes. BUT for most of my clients, they can be exempted which will allow you to collect the tax refund.
I’m getting garnished. Will bankruptcy stop the garnishment?
Yes. And, in some cases, you can get at least some of the garnished money back
Will my family or friends know that I filed bankruptcy?
If you owe any of your friends or family any money or they are joint debtors with you, than yes, they will be given notice by the court. Bankruptcy filings are pubic records, but require an inquiry.
38600 Van Dyke Avenue, Sterling Heights, Michigan 48312, United States