1) What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy wipes the slate clean for most unsecured debt. It stops collection efforts by creditors including garnishments, foreclosures, bank levies, and harassing creditor calls and collection letters. Bankruptcy is governed by Federal Law under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. This is also known as Title 11. The two most common forms of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Bankruptcy is a vital part of a thriving economy, because it encourages risk taking and innovation. Imagine how much more cautious we would all be if we didn’t know that we could file for bankruptcy protection as a last resort.
2) What Is A Bankruptcy Discharge?
A bankruptcy discharge is the end goal of almost all case filings. This is the point in your case where the bankruptcy Judge assigned in your case signs an general Order declaring that your debts are wiped out. Discharges are general in nature so they will not specially dictate which debts were wiped. However, your attorney will explain to you that debts like credit cards, medical, evictions, repossessions, pay day loans, utility bills and other debts are eligible to be discharged. Some common examples of debts that cannot be wiped in a discharge include student loans, domestic support obligations, government fines/penalties and most tax debts.
3) Will I Need To Attend Court?
In virtually every case the debtor will need to appear at a hearing called a section 341 meeting of creditors. Section 341 refers to the section of the bankruptcy code that requires that this hearing take place. At that hearing you will need to present your ID and proof of your Social Security Number. Debtors will be sworn in and asked questions by the trustee while under oath. All creditors are also invited to appear to question the debtor, however creditors rarely show up at this meeting. Other situations may arise in your case requiring your appearance before the Judge or other hearings. However, this is more of the exception rather than the rule.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Is a type of bankruptcy that can clear away many types of unsecured debts. If you're far behind on your bills and don't have the means to afford monthly payments and living expenses, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be a last resort to help you reset your finances. However, you may have to give up some of your possessions, and it will have a long-lasting negative impact on your creditworthiness.
To qualify for Chapter 7 you must pass the means test, which looks at your income, assets and expenses. Cannot have completed a Chapter 7 in the past eight years or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the past six years. Cannot have filed a bankruptcy petition (Chapter 7 or 13) in the previous 180 days that was dismissed because you failed to appear in court or comply with court orders, or you voluntarily dismissed your own filing because creditors sought court relief to recover property they had a lien on.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Is referred to as a reorganization bankruptcy. Your property is not sold when you file for Chapter 13 protection, and if you successfully complete a court-mandated repayment plan, you may be able to keep your property. Chapter 13 is essentially a consolidation loan in which you make a monthly payment to a court-appointed trustee, who then distributes the money to creditors. Creditors are not allowed to have any direct contact with you and must go through the trustee instead. You can keep your property and gain time to pay off debts.
If you fall behind on your mortgage and are in danger of foreclosure, the Chapter 13 repayment plan will help you make up those payments and save your home. Secured debts such as car loans – but not a mortgage for a primary residence – can be restructured and extended over the span of the Chapter 13 repayment plan. Doing this can lower the monthly payment.
After completing the repayment plan in which you pay your creditors a portion of the outstanding debt over a fixed period of time, any remaining unsecured debts—such as credit cards and medical bills—may be "discharged." When debt is discharged, it means you're no longer required to pay back the debt.
Contact The Law Office of Jason A Dennis today to discuss your options with an experience Iselin bankruptcy lawyer.