Fresh Start? We can help!
First, we schedule a free initial consultation with the attorney so that you can sit down and talk about your concerns and the attorney can explain your options. We discuss whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you and explore other solutions. If you retain our services for bankruptcy, you will also meet with our bankruptcy case manager, who will walk you through each step of the process and help you gather the information we need to file your case. Unlike many bankruptcy firms, we are there for you each step of the way and available to answer your questions when you need us. We want your bankruptcy filing to lead to a successful fresh start.
Our fees vary depending on the type and complexity of your case. To get started, our minimum retainer is $100 and most of our clients will make payments on the remaining balance until it is paid in full. We generally ask that you pay in full within three months or before your case is filed whichever is sooner. Please note,the federal rules that govern bankruptcy do not allow us to accept payment after your case is filed.
The Different Types of Bankruptcy
There are four types of bankruptcy cases provided under the law:
- Chapter 7 known as “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation”.
- Chapter 11 known as “reorganization” used by businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large.
- Chapter 12 reserved for family farmers.
- Chapter 13 which is sometimes called “debt adjustment”.
Most individuals file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Such cases may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.
Chapter 7: Straight Bankruptcy In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you file a petition asking the court to discharge (wipe out) many and sometimes all of your debts. In exchange you handover any non-exempt property which is sold with the money distributed to your creditors. In most cases, much of your property will be exempt. For example: each individual can exempt up to $3,000 of equity in a car. In a “no-asset” case, individuals keep all of their personal property and wipe out all dischargeble debts. Some debts such as past due child support cannot be wiped out in a Chapter 7. These debts may be managed, however, in a Chapter 13. If you want to keep property like a home or a car and are behind on the payments, you may need to file a Chapter 13.
Chapter 13: Debt Adjustment In a Chapter 13 case you file a “plan,” designed by our office, promising the court you will devote all disposable income to paying off your past due debts. Your disposable income is the money remaining after you have paid your basic living expenses, including rent, car loans, utilities, food, personal needs and more. The most important thing about a Chapter 13 case is that it allows you to keep valuable property (typically your home and car) while managing your debts. Once you have completed your payment plan all remaining dischargable debts are wipes out.
- You have too much equity in your home to file a Chapter 7.
- You earn too much income to qualify for a Chapter 7.
- You own your home and are in danger of losing it because of money problems.
- You are behind on secured debt payments (car or house for example), but can catch up if given some time and/or your other debt payments are reduced.
- You have other valuable property which is not exempt.
We can help you evaluate whether a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 7 would be appropriate and helpful for you.