Frequently Asked Questions
What will bankruptcy do to my credit?
Although a bankruptcy filing will usually cause your credit score to drop, if your credit is already damaged, a bankruptcy may actually help your credit in the long term by eliminating the bad debt from your credit report. A bankruptcy filing can be reported on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, most people will find that credit is available to them almost immediately after filing. While the available credit will typically be at high interest rates, responsible use of this credit can be used to rebuild a credit score well before the bankruptcy is off the credit report.
Are bankruptcy filings posted in the newspaper?
Although a few small papers still post bankruptcy filings, the vast majority do not.
Can I keep my house or car?
Most people will be able to keep their house and/or car. Bankruptcy is not designed to leave the filer a pauper or ward of the state. Instead, it is designed to leave the filer with enough assets to start fresh, and, in most cases, this includes one’s house and car.
Am I required to list all of my assets and all of my debts?
Yes, an individual must list all of his or her assets and debts when they file for bankruptcy.
How much debt will I have to repay in a Chapter 13?
The amount of debt repaid in a chapter 13 depends on an individual’s ability to repay it. While some debts, such as taxes and back child support, are required to be paid in full, most unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills will only receive funds after all of the filer’s other expenses are paid. Secured debts, like car loans may be modified, but a filer must still pay some portion of the debt if he or she wants to keep the collateral.
Can I still file a Chapter 7 after the bankruptcy reforms of 2005?
It depends. Although there were many changes to the bankruptcy code in 2005, the most significant for consumers is that filers must now pass a “means test” in order to qualify for a chapter 7. The means test is designed to push filers who have the ability to repay some portion of their debt into a chapter 13 reorganization. However, many people still qualify to file a chapter 7.
Is there a minimum amount of debt required to file a bankruptcy?
No, there is no minimum amount of debt required to file a bankruptcy.
Can I discharge tax debt in bankruptcy?
It depends. Although most state and federal taxes are non-dischargeable, some income taxes may be discharged depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. In addition, a filer may use a chapter 13 to force a structured repayment plan on the taxing authority.
Can I discharge my tickets and fines in bankruptcy?
Tickets and fines are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, a chapter 13 bankruptcy may be used to release a hold on a driver’s license.
Can I use bankruptcy to help me save my home?
Yes. One of the primary purposes of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to help people save their home.
How much does bankruptcy cost?
The cost of a bankruptcy will vary depending upon the needs of the client and complexity of the case. Individuals are encouraged to call the office to discuss their particular situation.