Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly filed bankruptcy and is usually referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. Although commonly filed, an individual seeking to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must qualify through the use of the means test. If your income meets or falls below the guideline amounts provided in the means test you may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our Frisco Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers have extensive experience in helping thousands of DFW area residents obtain the best outcome for their unique financial situations.
What can filing Chapter 7 do for you?
There are many reasons why someone would want or need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most people simply experience an unexpected bump in the road – loss of job, reduction in pay, unexpected expenses, or medical emergencies can throw their financial worlds upside down. For others, financial issues have been slowly eating away at them and they get to a point where they can no longer keep things afloat.
Filing Chapter 7 allows you to be forgiven of your liabilities or discharged of your debts. Some examples of debts that can be discharged are credit card bills, foreclosures, repossessions, civil judgments, payday loans, personal loans, hospital or medical bills, and sometimes even taxes. The Frisco debt relief attorneys at Rubin & Associates have helped numerous local residents free themselves from debt. Our bankruptcy firm is located in the heart of Frisco, just south of 121 on the Tollway, so we’re in a convenient location for anyone in the Frisco area.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation, where one of our attorneys will explain your options and help you determine whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you.
For some individuals, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t the right fit – either because they do not qualify because of their income, or there are other bankruptcy options that would be better suited to their particular needs. There are still avenues available to assist you, if this is the case. We also help many people with Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, which involves a restructuring of debt.
Will you lose everything if you file bankruptcy?
This is the most common question we hear from clients during the initial consultation. The short answer is NO. In general, people who file Chapter 7 get to keep the majority of their assets while still discharging their debts. Typically, there are many exemptions that can be applied allow you to “keep your stuff,” so it is imperative that you hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney that is familiar with the intricacies of the bankruptcy code, so you end up with the best results.
What does the timeline look like for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can outline the typical timeline for a bankruptcy case, along with any adjustments related to your specific financial situation. Our job is to guide you through what is often the most stressful time in your life. Unlike other local bankruptcy firms, we don’t treat you like just another number – we’ll take as much time as you need to explain the bankruptcy process so you feel comfortable in whichever decision you make.
Common warning signs that might lead to bankruptcy
Most people don’t plan to file for bankruptcy – any sudden financial burden can spiral debt out of control. No matter how much money you may have or how much you prepare and plan for your future, unexpected events can occur that can turn your life upside down. Here are a few of the most common signs that you may be heading toward a financial crisis:
- You use credit cards every month to cover necessary living expenses.
- Your credit card debt continues to rise every month and you just can’t seem to pay down your balances
- Interest rates on your credit cards are reaching 20% or higher, making it harder to keep up
- Creditors are calling you day and nigh, and may even be afraid to open your mail or answer your door because you fear a lawsuit
- You haven’t been able to make your mortgage payments and your house is on the verge of foreclosure
- You continue to dip into your savings just to make ends meet
- You owe much more on your home than you think it will ever be worth again
We know that if you are experiencing any of these warning signs, you’ll be stressed – but do not ignore what’s going on. Call us for a free consultation – you may be surprised at how a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might help you.
What happens in the free bankruptcy consultation?
When you meet with one of our attorneys for your free consultation, they’ll review your financial situation, covering every detail. They’ll talk to you about your goals for the future and explain all available options (which may NOT be bankruptcy). They will then run means test calculations to determine whether or not you qualify for a Chapter 7 or if another option is better for your situation.
Preparing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition
Once you decide to hire Rubin & Associates, we will provide you with a detailed list of information that we will need to prepare your bankruptcy petition that will be filed with the court. We will guide you through the process, and once we have the information that we need, we will begin to prepare your Chapter 7 petition. Once your petition is completed, you will be invited to sit down with your attorney for a final review. Once approved, you sign the final draft and it is filed with the court.
Credit counseling and debtor education courses
Before you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required to take a credit counseling course. This course must be taken within 180 days before filing. If you fail to take this course, your case will be dismissed. Our team will help you find a court-approved course provider and have the course completed before filing.
After your case is filed, you must take another course called a Debtor Education Course. The Debtor Education Course must be completed within 60 days of the “341 meeting of creditors.” which happens after the filing of your case. If you fail to take this course, the court will not grant you a discharge of your debts – even though you may have completed everything else required by the bankruptcy code.
The “automatic stay” protects you from collection efforts
Once your Chapter 7 petition is completed and you have reviewed and signed the petition, it will be electronically filed with the court. Once filed, the “automatic stay” will kick in, which protects you from collection efforts from your creditors. The automatic stay will delay foreclosures, foreclosure sale dates, and repossessions, and it will also stop creditors from calling you and harassing you at all hours of the day and night.
Approximately 45 days after the bankruptcy filing
You will be required to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors. This is a hearing where creditors are afforded the opportunity to ask you questions about your finances – but mostly it is for the Chapter 7 trustee assigned to your case to review your petition for accuracy. More often than not, these hearings only last a few minutes and creditors oftentimes do not attend. For the most part, it will be you, your attorney, the trustee, and everyone else that is present waiting for their turn in front of the trustee.
After the 341 Meeting of Creditors
After the 341 meeting of creditors, you should receive your discharge within a few months. On average, Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases only last 4-6 months from start to finish. Once the case is complete, you will receive a discharge of your debts and your case will be closed.
How does filing Chapter 7 affect your credit?
Your credit will begin to recover shortly after your case is closed. Most of our clients have seen their credit scores climb to the mid 600s within 1 ½ to 2 years after filing. Most people can purchase a vehicle with a reasonable interest rate within this time period. You will need to build your credit history back up in order to increase your credit score. Generally, staying current on your car loans, rent, or mortgage will help greatly improve your credit.
Contact our Frisco bankruptcy lawyers for a free consultation today!
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed – you’d be surprised how many people find themselves in positions where their debt is spiraling out of control. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you by putting your debts behind you and giving you a fresh start for you and your family. Chapter 7 can assist you with the discharge of most debts including (but not limited to):
- Judgments resulting from creditor suits or personal injury claims
- Credit card debt
- Personal loans
- Some older tax debts
Every person’s case is unique and results are subject to certain limitations and exemptions which we will explain to you in detail at your free consultation.
At Rubin & Associates, we have helped Frisco residents file petitions for Chapter 7 bankruptcies for years. We will take the time to listen to you and explain every available option, so you can make the best decision to move forward with your life.