Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what type of bankruptcy I should file?

In our initial phone call, we will ask you some questions about your income, household expenses, family size, monthly payments, amounts owed, and whether you had previously filed for bankruptcy.  We can then give advice about what type of bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, will work for you.  This takes just a few minutes. 

Can bankruptcy stop repossession of my car?

Yes. We use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to block car lenders from repossessing cars. Bankruptcy law allows you to keep your car with a revised payment plan.  If you act fast, a bankruptcy filing can get your car back after repossession.

Can bankruptcy halt foreclosure of my house?

Yes. We use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to cancel foreclosure sales of homes.  Bankruptcy law allows you to keep your home and gives you the chance to make up the missed payments over many months.  To cancel a foreclosure, the bankruptcy must be filed before the sale.

Will filing bankruptcy end the garnishment of my paycheck?

Yes. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy force the creditor to release the garnishment. 

Will filing bankruptcy release an IRS garnishment?

Yes.  The IRS is required to halt garnishments.  This applies to both paychecks and bank accounts.

How long does it take to file for bankruptcy?

To stop repossessions, foreclosures, and garnishments, we are able to file a bankruptcy case within a few hours after meeting with a new client.

Will the creditors quit calling?

Yes.  After we file your bankruptcy, creditors are not allowed to call you.  With credit cards, car lenders, and mortgage companies, the calls usually stop within a few hours.  On payday loans, we quickly notify the creditor of your bankruptcy by fax or email.  You can give our phone number to the creditors; we will do the talking.

What does discharge mean?

The term “discharged” is a bankruptcy court order freeing you from having to pay a creditor.  After discharge, bankruptcy law prohibits the creditor from calling you or trying to collect.  Typically, debts owed on credit cards, medical bills, and payday loans are discharged. In limited circumstances, you can get a discharge on student loans.  In some cases, you can get a discharge on back taxes.

How does bankruptcy affect my ability to get a loan?

A bankruptcy discharge improves your credit score.  This reason is you get a fresh start.  Many of our clients obtain credit cards, buy homes, and get car loans within a couple of months after their bankruptcy case is closed.

How do I know who all my creditors are?

We will help you with this.  Medical bills seem to be the hardest to pin down.  A company that sued you is likely a creditor.  A former landlord may be a creditor.  If you want, we can get a credit bureau report to find out which creditors have reported you as delinquent.  We charge a small fee for this service.   

Will I lose my job if I file for bankruptcy?

No.  Your employer cannot fire you because you filed for bankruptcy. 

Will I have to go to court?

Yes. There is at least one court appearance required.  We will go to court with you. The bankruptcy Trustee will ask you about your assets, liabilities, income, household expenses, family size, tax returns, and address.   You’ll need to bring your driver’s license for identification and Social Security Card as proof of your Social Security Number. 

Can I file for bankruptcy even though I have unfiled tax returns?

Yes.  But, for some years, you’ll have to file them soon after the start of your bankruptcy case.  For Chapter 13, the last four years of income tax returns are required to be filed.  For Chapter 7, the last three years are usually required.

My firm prepares late tax returns for bankruptcy filings.  Please call to ask about our tax preparation fees.

What should I know about credit counseling?

Credit counseling involves answering online questions regarding your earnings, living expenses, property, and amount owed to creditors.  Once you have answered the questions, the counselor will issue a certificate and send it to us by email.  The cost is $25 or less; payment is by debit card.  Bankruptcy law requires filers to get a credit counseling certificate before the bankruptcy.   For those who have trouble using computers, we will help you with credit counseling at our office.

After the bankruptcy is filed, a second certificate, from a financial management course, is required for discharge.