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Bankruptcy F.A.Q

Who Can File Bankruptcy?

With few exceptions, any person or business owing money to a creditor can file a bankruptcy petition.

How Many Times Can You File for Bankruptcy?

Declaring bankruptcy interferes with your future ability to get credit, loans for housing, and rent, and sometimes it shows up on job applications. Ask a bankruptcy lawyer for all of your options before deciding to file for bankruptcy.

  • You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy 8 years after a previous Chapter 7 filing. If you have a Chapter 13 filing, you need to wait 6 years before filing for Chapter 7.
  • You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy 2 years after a previous Chapter 13 filing. If you have a Chapter 7 filing, you need to wait 4 years before filing for Chapter 13.

What do I need to begin the bankruptcy process?

Compile a list of past and present debts as well as a schedule, or list, or assets and liabilities. You'll also need a statement of financial affairs to file with the bankruptcy court in addition to your filing fee.

How Much Debt Is Required to File for Bankruptcy?

There is no minimum amount, but you can only file for bankruptcy in certain situations. If you in a temporarily tight financial situation, debt management is an option if your creditors will allow you to make special arrangements, such as paying less per month or reducing your total owed amount. Bankruptcy may not be worthwhile if you do not have much debt. However everyone has different thresholds for what represents an overwhelming debt. 

What happens if one spouse files for bankruptcy and not the other?

If one spouse files and the other doesn't, the one who doesn't file could be responsible for the debts. Review this me the attorney carefully before filing.

If I Am Divorced and My Ex Files for Bankruptcy, Does the Divorce Decree Protect Me from Creditors?

No, you are not protected if your ex files for bankruptcy. The creditor can ask you for the full payment if you are a co-signer on a debt from the time you were married. There may be guidance on the divorce decree identifying your options if your spouse defaults on debt.

Can Bankruptcy Discharge All Kinds of Debt?

No. The debts that are not discharged depend on the specific chapter of bankruptcy, but are likely to include the following types.

  • Taxes owed.
  • Debt for anything obtained illegally.
  • Debts not listed in the initial bankruptcy application.
  • Debts related to alimony or child or spousal support if there is a separate divorce degree, agreement, or court order.
  • Debt for personal injury to another person or damage to another individual's property. Ask attorney about this. 
  • Debt for school loans, unless you can prove that payment will cause hardship.
  • Debts resulting if you drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Can I Keep Anything If I File for Bankruptcy?

Individuals can keep certain types of property under exemptions. The exact property depends on your state's law. They often include the following. Unless you have some very expensive property, most if not all of your property will be exempt from the trustee taking and selling it. 

  • Vehicles up to a maximum value.
  • Jewelry.
  • Equipment and tools used for work.
  • Home equity up to a maximum value.

Garnishment

Will filing chapter 7 bankruptcy stop my garnishment?

Yes it will! The filing of a chapter 7 bankruptcy will trigger the automatic stay. This puts a barrier between you and your creditors. All garnishments must halt immediately. 

Often times we can get garnished wages back from the creditor. Only wages garnished in the 90 day period prior to the chapter 7 filing may be returned. The mechanism we employ to get your garnished wages or levied accounts back is the Trustee's power of avoidance.

In addition, the filing of the chapter 7 bankruptcy will halt any garnishments not yet in effect.  

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