Are you paying for your basic living expenses with credit cards due to unexpected illness, divorce, a death in your family or inadequate wages at work? High interest rates and fees easily mount and can make it all but impossible to dig your way out of debt.
At Shankman & Associates Legal Center, we understand that hardship and financial struggle may be keeping you up at night. We can help you stop worrying and get back in control of your financial well-being.
A Fresh Start Is Possible
Shankman & Associates provides exceptional service along with the necessary information so you can make informed decisions about your financial future. When you file for bankruptcy, you may stop repossessions, wage garnishment and lawsuits by creditors. You can keep your home, your car and your wages if you are eligible to file bankruptcy in order to discharge your debt.
Depending on your household income and size , you may qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is determined to be too high, the other option available to you is to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Our lawyers can help you examine your financial situation to determine whether Chapter 7 or 13 is better for your situation.
What Is Chapter 7?
The filing of a Chapter 7 case in Federal Bankruptcy Court automatically stops collection and other legal proceedings pending against an individual for qualified debts. The court sends a notice to all creditors ordering them to refrain from any further action against the individual .
Once granted by the Bankruptcy Court, a Chapter 7 discharge order releases an individual from all obligations to repay dischargeable debts, and orders creditors to stop further collection efforts.
Most financial obligations of any kind or amount, including out-of-state debts, are dischargeable under Chapter 7. However, the court will not discharge some debts, including:
- Most (although not all) Federal and State personal tax debts
- Debts for criminal charges or proceedings such as fraud, embezzlement or larceny
- Debts not listed on the Chapter 7 forms
- Alimony/spousal support and other divorce-related debts including property settlements
- Student loans (with the exception of certain limited circumstances which allow for discharge of student loans)
- Debts for personal injury or death caused by driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated
- Debts that were or could have been listed in a previous bankruptcy case of the individual in which the individual did not receive a discharge
Individuals are allowed to keep some real and personal property, called exempt property, up to a certain value. The exempt property amount applies to the equity the individual has in it, that is, how much the item is worth, less the amount owed on the item.
What Is Chapter 13 And How Does It Work?
In a Chapter 13 case, the individual files a plan with the Bankruptcy Court for the repayment of all or a portion of their debts over a three to five year period. The plan must be approved by the court in order to become effective.
The individual must make regular payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee, who collects the money paid by the individual and disburses it to creditors in the manner called for in the plan.
The Bankruptcy Court has the authority to prohibit creditors from attaching assets, garnishing wages or foreclosing on an individual’s residence, as well as to compel unsecured creditors to accept a Chapter 13 plan that pays only a portion of their claims, and to discharge an individual from the unpaid portions of debts.
Similar to a Chapter 7 case, individuals or married couples may file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if the person resides in, does business in, or owns property in the United States. Additional requirements for filing for Chapter 13 include:
- A regular income
- Unsecured debts of less than $394.725.00
- Secured debts of less than $1,184,200.00
- The individual is not a stockbroker or a commodity broker
- Has not been an individual in another bankruptcy case that was dismissed within the last 180 days
A person meeting the above requirements may file under Chapter 13 regardless of when they last filed a bankruptcy case or received a bankruptcy discharge.
At Shankman & Associates Legal Center we protect your best interests and discuss the best timing for filing for bankruptcy with you.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.