We’ve written a series of blog posts answering questions regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin and its financial impact. Call (262) 827-0375

How Bad is it to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

These days, it’s all too easy to get in over your head in debt. A job loss, medical emergency, or even an unexpected increase in living expenses can put anyone in a tough financial situation that quickly spirals out of control.

Filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy is a one option for wrangling wild money problems. Many people avoid taking this measure, however, because the things they heard about it makes them feel filing would do more harm than good.

Here are a few pros and cons about filing chapter 7 bankruptcy to help you decide if this is the right move for you.

Pro: Chapter 7 Immediately Stops Debt Collection Action

Being constantly hounded by creditors is no one’s idea of a good time. Thankfully, when you file chapter 7 bankruptcy, a protection called the automatic stay falls into place that requires creditors to immediately stop all collection action.

For instance, a creditor who is garnishing your wages must cancel the legal order once they’re notified you filed for bankruptcy. If they receive any money from the garnishment in the interim, they must refund it to you.

While the Automatic Stay only lasts for as long as your case is active, the reprieve you get from credit calls and lawsuits can provide you with the mental space you need to plan your next steps in your quest for a better financial future.

Con: The Automatic Stay Doesn’t Apply to All Creditors

Like many things in life, there are exceptions to the automatic stay rule. The state and federal government can withhold your tax refund to pay any outstanding taxes you owed prior to filing bankruptcy, for example.

Other exceptions include:

  • Modifications to child or alimony support obligations
  • Efforts to collect debts and damages related to criminal actions
  • Wage deductions for loan repayments related to pensions, certain retirement plans, and stock bonuses

Additionally, if you have filed for bankruptcy within the previous year, the length of the automatic stay may be limited to 30 days or eliminated altogether depending on the circumstances of your case. It’s a good idea to consult with a bankruptcy attorney for advice if you think one or more of these exceptions apply to you.

Pro: Debt is Permanently Eliminated

During your bankruptcy, your trustee will pay your creditors with money they receive from liquidating your non-exempt assets. Any balances left in your accounts are subsequently wiped out, meaning you aren’t responsible for paying those bills any longer and the creditors can’t come after you for them.

This means the bankruptcy will free up money you can use for other things, such as rent or building up a savings fund. Additionally, the bankruptcy court requires you to complete a debtor education course that teaches important money management skills to help you avoid financial problems in the future.

Be aware, though, any debts secured by collateral typically require you to surrender the property to the creditor (i.e. vehicle repossession). Sometimes, though, you can keep the property if you can pay the creditor the market value of the item. You must obtain the court’s permission to do this, so discuss the issue with your trustee prior to making any arrangements to buy assets.

Con: Some Debts Cannot be Discharged

Some debts are protected by law and cannot be discharged through bankruptcy; so, you’ll still be responsible for paying them after your case concludes.

Non-dischargeable debts include:

  • Student loans
  • Personal injury lawsuit awards stemming from DUI accidents
  • Debts incurred because of fraud or similar criminal acts
  • Child and spousal support
  • Any debts you omitted from your forms or reaffirm

In some cases, you can still obtain a discharge under special circumstances. For example, you can get a hardship discharge for student loans if you can prove paying them will interfere with your ability to maintain a minimum standard of living.

A bankruptcy attorney can provide information about your options for eliminating non-dischargeable debt, so connect with a lawyer in your area.

Pro: You Can Save Assets

If you’re facing repossession or foreclosure, filing chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you save your assets from being taken by the bank. As noted previously, the automatic stay stops all collection action. So, even if the bank had a repossession order from the court, they can’t do anything until the automatic stay ends.

This gives you time to either get caught up on your payments or work out a new deal with the creditor. For instance, your mortgage company may agree to a loan modification rather than try to sell the home in a bad market where they’re unlikely to recoup their losses.

It goes without saying that you must be able to afford to continue paying for the assets; otherwise, you’ll end up losing the property if you fall behind again.

Con: Some Assets May Be Lost

As noted previously, the trustee will liquidate your assets and pay your creditors any money they get from the process. Bankruptcy laws let debtors exempt property up to a certain dollar amount. However, any property that doesn’t qualify for an exemption will usually be taken.

For example, the vehicle exemption is $1,200 in Wisconsin. If you have a car that’s only worth $500, you can use this exemption to keep the trustee from selling it. However, if you have a vehicle that’s worth $10,000, the trustee will sell the car, give you the exemption amount, and use the rest to pay creditors.

Con: Your Credit Score Will Take a Big Hit

There’s no way around it. Your credit score will take a big hit when you file for bankruptcy. In fact, according to some experts, your score can drop as much as 240 points after undergoing the process. Since the bankruptcy will stay on your report for up to 10 years, it will take a while for the effect to wear off.

Depending on how low your score goes, you may have difficulty obtaining credit. When you are approved for a new credit card or loan, you may be hit with high interest rates and/or unfavorable terms. In some cases, you may be required to have someone co-sign the loan with you before you’ll be approved.

Pros: Rebuilding Credit is Much Easier

While improving your credit after bankruptcy will be challenging, it’s not impossible. In fact, you may find it easier to qualify for certain types of credit, such as secured credit cards, that can help you rebuild your score.

Additionally, the impact a bankruptcy has on your score lessens over time. Not only does the bankruptcy itself become less important, but the discharged accounts will fall off your report as creditors stop submitting updates to the credit agencies about them. You may find your score rebounds much faster than expected, particularly if you’re paying new accounts on time every month.

Con: Filing Bankruptcy Costs Money

Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin does require you to pay a court fee of $338 plus various minor administrative fees. Attorneys also charge a fee for their services, the amount of which varies depending on the lawyer and where you live. When you’re broke, coming up with all this cash may seem like an impossible task and can add more stress to an already high-tension situation.

The good news is that the bankruptcy court lets petitioners pay the filing fee in installments and may even reduce or eliminate the fee altogether if your income is low enough. Your lawyer may also work with you to develop a reasonable payment plan, so you can get the services you need without putting yourself further in debt.

There are benefits and drawbacks to filing for bankruptcy. If your financial circumstances are dire enough, though, it may be the best option available. Connect with an attorney who can help you decide if filing chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin is the right solution for you.

What To Expect When Filling for chapter 7

While Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem like an easy way out of debt, the process can be complicated and emotionally draining. But this shouldn’t scare you, as Chapter 7 will eliminate most of your debts and give you a chance to start afresh. The initial step is to get hold of a bankruptcy attorney who will help walk you through the legal process.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Also called liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 allows you to eliminate most of the debts you owe. The court forgives or discharges the debts and gives you a fresh start. However, it’s worth noting that Chapter 7 does not discharge tax debt, child support, student loans, and alimony.

How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

If you are struggling with your finances, Chapter 7 may be a “second chance” to help you reset your finances. It can eliminate most of your debts, meaning that you won’t have to pay for them. Most cases involved are “no-asset” cases, so you don’t have to worry about your belongings.

Once you’ve filed for chapter 7, here’s how it works:
• A temporary stay is put on your debts by the court. The stay can help stop wage garnishment, debt collection efforts, property repossession, and home foreclosure.
• The appointed trustees sell certain properties. The custodian reviews your finances and keeps an eye on your chapter 7. They can then sell nonexempt property (nonexempt property is chattel that the court does not allow you to keep). The proceeds obtained are used to pay your creditors.
• You are allowed to keep exempt property. You can rest assured that you won’t have to sell everything. However, the list of exempt properties, plus the amount you can exempt, varies from one state to the other.
• The court discharges the remaining debt.

Dischargeable debt under Chapter 7 are:
• Utility bills
• Medical bills
• Social Security overpayments
• Collection agency accounts
• Mortgage loans that you are not able to pay
• Veteran’s assistance loans
• Credit card balances, including late fees and overdue
• Civil court judgment

Non-dischargeable debts include:
• Secured debts
• Alimony
• Child support
• Tax liens
• Personal injury debt
• Student loan

Who qualifies for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When filing for Chapter 7, there are several requirements you need to meet.

Income Counselling

To qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass a bankruptcy means test, which determines if an individual’s disposable income is enough and can be used to make partial payments to unsecured debt. If you fail the test, you can still file for Chapter 13.

No Fraud

If the court finds out that you are attempting to defraud your creditors, it may dismiss your case – for instance, taking a loan and declaring bankruptcy not to repay it.

Credit Counselling

You must finish a credit counseling course, usually within 180 days before filing.

When to File for Chapter 7

Filing for bankruptcy may be the right decision, but it’s important to understand that it will significantly affect your financial future for a few years. So, it’s crucial not to rush into it.

According to Sumeet Sinha, the founder and CEO of finpins.com, a personal finance blog and educational resource, there is a common misconception that individuals and couples should immediately file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy when they face financial difficulties. However, exploring this option is advisable only when creditors are harassing you, experiencing wage garnishment and bank account seizures, and have no other means of repaying your debts.

The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in Wisconsin

Once you’ve decided to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin, here’s what you can expect in the process:

First, you’ll meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. During this meeting, you must provide details about your assets, debts, income, and ongoing legal actions or foreclosures. The attorney will review the situation and determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 based on income limits and means testing. If you qualify, you’ll discuss fees and agree to proceed.

Next, your attorney will prepare and file your bankruptcy petition in federal bankruptcy court. This includes providing schedules that list your assets, income, debts, and expenses. As soon as the petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, which stops collection calls and lawsuits against you.

About a month after filing, you’ll attend a meeting known as 34. This meeting involves the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors. The trustee will ask you questions under oath to review your petition.

If the trustee finds no issue during the 341 meeting, you can expect to receive a discharge in approximately three months. The discharge eliminates most of your debts and prevents creditors from collecting. However, it’s important to note that certain debts, such as student loans and child support, are not charged.

The entire process usually takes between 3 to 6 months. While it can be a stressful experience, filing for bankruptcy offers a fresh start and relief from overwhelming debt. With the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, you can navigate the process smoothly and emerge debt-free.

To find an attorney, search online for “Chapter 7 bankruptcy Milwaukee” or “Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers near me.” Reading reviews from previous clients to gauge their experience, expertise, and approach is a good idea. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations, so meeting with a few is beneficial to finding someone you feel comfortable with.

What to Avoid Before Filing Chapter 7?

• Don’t pay creditors
• No new debt
• No unusual transactions

Life After Chapter 7

Life after chapter 7 can be a fresh start. While the process can be difficult, once your discharge is granted, a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders.
• Your debts are discharged
• Your credit score may drop temporarily
• You may qualify for loans again

Conclusion

It’s important to note that filing for bankruptcy will temporarily lower your credit score. Chapter bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, the impact on your credit score lessens over time. You can rebuild your credit immediately by using your credit card responsibly and paying bills on time. Regularly checking your credit report and disputing any errors will also help.

Contrary to popular belief, you can qualify for house auto loans shortly after bankruptcy. Initially, you may face higher interest rates, but with time and a good payment history, your credit score will improve, providing more options.

With discipline and time, you can rebound from bankruptcy stronger and wiser. The fresh start you’ve been given is a chance to build good financial habits and secure a stable financial future.

Utility Bills & Bankruptcy

Have you ever opened your utility bill to find an unpleasant surprise? Utility bills can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

The good news is that there are laws in place to protect you if utility bills become unaffordable. You have options like payment plans, reduced rates, or, in extreme cases, declaring bankruptcy to eliminate utility bill debt.

How Utility Bills Can Lead to Debt and Bankruptcy

Utility bills are annoying monthly expenses that can add up over time if left unpaid.
• Late fees and interest charges. Most utility companies charge late fees if not paid on time, usually within 15-30 days of the due date. These fees may average $20-$50 per bill. Unpaid balances often incur high-interest charges, sometimes over 20% APR.
• Service disruption. Failure to pay your utility bills will result in service disconnection. Having your power, water, or gas shut off due to nonpayment can be dangerous and lead to additional fees to restore services.
• Damage to your credit. Unpaid utility bills are reported to the credit bureaus and will hurt your credit score. A few missed payments can drop your score by 100 points or more. Bad credit makes qualifying for loans, credit cards, and insurance difficult.

Utility Shutoff: Know Your Rights Before Services Are Disconnected

Utility companies can disconnect your services for nonpayment, but there are laws protecting consumers. Know your rights before the lights go out.

Notice Required

Utility providers must present a written notice before disconnecting services. The information will state the reason for the utility shutoff and the earliest dates it may occur.

Exceptions Made

Specific consumers qualify for protection from immediate disconnection. This includes those with medical issues where loss of service would be life-threatening.

Knowing your rights can help avoid the headache of utility shutoffs. Don’t hesitate to ask your service providers questions about managing or disputing your bills. Protecting access to essential services is important, especially if money is tight. With communication, reasonable payment plans, and exercising your consumer rights, you can stay connected even when times are tough.

How Are Utility Bills Handled in Chapter 7?

Utility bills don’t just disappear because you’ve filed for bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any utility bills incurred before you file are considered unsecured debts and are typically discharged – meaning you are no longer legally obligated to pay them. However, any bills for service after you file must be paid on time and in full.

Falling behind on current utility bills can cause serious problems. The utility company may require a large deposit to continue or restore services. They could even disconnect your utilities altogether for nonpayment. To avoid issues, set up payment plans with your utility providers immediately after filling for bankruptcy. Be upfront about your situation, and negotiate affordable payment terms to catch up on the past due amounts.

You’ll also want to adjust your utility usage and budget. Look for ways to cut costs by lowering thermostat, turning off lights or electronics when not in use, using fans instead of AC whenever possible, etc. See if you qualify for utility assistance programs that offer discounts for low-income households.

Some individuals fear that filing for bankruptcy may make it difficult to establish new utility services. However, utility companies cannot deny you service solely due to bankruptcy. They can, however, require a deposit for new services based on your payment history and credit score. The good news is bankruptcy will not directly affect your ability to access necessities like power, water, phone, and internet.

With some practical steps, you can ensure your utility needs are met during and after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Communicate openly with your providers, reduce usage costs where possible, and utilize available assistance programs. While bankruptcy eliminates responsibility for past debts, staying current on ongoing bills and maintaining good payment habits after filing will help make the transition to a fresh financial start as smooth as possible.

How Are Utility Bills in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Handled?

When you file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, your utility bills are handled differently than other debts. Utility companies provide essential services, so they are given special treatment under Chapter 13.

How Utility Bills Are Paid

Your utility bills, like gas, electricity, water, and phone services, are considered “priority debts.” This means that you must continue paying them during the bankruptcy. Your Chapter 13 plan will specify the amounts you must pay each month. If you fall behind, the utility company will request permission from the court to disconnect your service.

To ensure uninterrupted utility service:
1. Contact your providers as soon as you file for bankruptcy.
2. Explain that you’ve filed for Chapter 13 and will continue making payments as part of your repayment plan.
3. Provide details about the amounts and due dates specified in your plan.
Most companies will work with you as long as you make the payments you agreed to.

Some utility companies may require a deposit to continue or restore services. Your bankruptcy trustee can request a waiver or reduction of the deposit as part of your repayment plan.

Budgeting for Essential Bills

When creating your Chapter 13 plan, make enough budget to cover all priority debts, including utilities, in full and on time. If payments cannot be made, contact trustee and utility providers immediately to request an adjustment to prevent disconnection.

Keeping your utility services connected during bankruptcy is critical. By communicating with your providers, paying as agreed in the plan, and making adjustments when necessary, you can ensure uninterrupted essential services while you repay creditors through your Chapter 13 plan.

Strategies to Avoid Bankruptcy When Facing Utility Debt

When facing mounting utility bills debt, bankruptcy is the only option. However, there are several strategies you can try first to avoid bankruptcy.

Payment Plans

Contact your utility providers and request payment plans to repay the debt over time. They would rather work with you than cut off the service or force bankruptcy. Ask if they offer budget billing to even out payments or if they waive late fees as you pay down the balance.

Reduce Usage

The less you use, the lower your bills will be. Turn off lights and electronics when not in use, wash only loads of dishes and laundry, unplug devices like gaming consoles, and lower thermostats in winter.

Assistance Programs

Utility companies offer assistance programs for those having trouble paying bills. They provide grants, bill payment plans, and ways to improve energy efficiency.

Filing for Bankruptcy

When utility bills start piling and you cannot pay them, bankruptcy may seem the only option. Filing for bankruptcy can provide relief from utility bills and other unsecured debts. However, it’s not a decision to take lightly and will have consequences.

Filing for bankruptcy should be an absolute last resort. While it can eliminate utility bill debts and provide relief, it will damage your credit for up to 10 years, making it difficult to open new accounts or borrow money. Bankruptcy should only be considered if you have financial hardship you can’t overcome.

High utility bills are no joke and can quickly become unmanageable, severely damaging households. While bankruptcy may seem like an easy way out, it should be the last resort. Ensure you’ve explored all your other options, like reducing usage, payment plans, subsidiaries, or loans. Your finances and credit are too essential to make this decision lightly.

Should I File for Bankruptcy if I Have Medical Debts?

Many Americans have unpaid medical bills. That’s the conclusion reached in several studies, one of which comes from the online loan marketplace LendingTree. It revealed an estimated 1 in 4 Americans have medical debt. It further pointed out that millennials account for 30% of Americans with medical debt, with 24% of Gen Xers, 22% of Gen Zers, and 13% of baby boomers right behind them. As of the writing of this article, Americans collectively owe around $195 million in medical bills. The reason for that debt varies from being uninsured or underinsured to being unemployed or under-employed and just plain bad luck, such as having claims denied by a health insurance provider, being required to pay out of pocket for non-formulary prescription drugs, and high specialist copays. Under the crushing weight of high medical bills, many Americans consider and often go through with filing for bankruptcy, which, in turn, ruins their credit.

How Much Do Americans Owe in Unpaid Medical Bills?

According to a study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on national health issues, of the roughly $195 million Americans collectively owe in medical debt, an estimated 6% owe at least $1,000, and around 1% owe approximately $10,000. The foundation further revealed more than half of all adults in America are in debt because of medical and, in some instances, dental bills within the last five years. While medical bills ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 might not seem like much for well-off households, it can be a tall order for the ones that are not. Historically, those not-so-well-off households are often the first to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to resolve outstanding medical bills.

Studies Show Many Americans Are Filing Bankruptcy To Escape Outstanding Medical Bills

Sadly, many Americans file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy when their medical bills become more than they can handle. That’s according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It found that nearly 66% of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. are due to unpaid medical bills. While filing bankruptcy does get creditors off one’s back, it can negatively affect one’s credit for ten years. The same applies to unpaid medical bills, which can negatively affect their credit for up to seven years. While we are on the topic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed roughly 43 million Americans currently have unpaid medical bills on their credit. Having a Chapter 13 or the more commonly filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, along with unpaid bills, on one’s credit can make it harder to rent an apartment or buy a home. The same applies to buying a car and, in some cases, getting a job.

Should You File Bankruptcy if You Have Outstanding Medical Bills?

According to Rishi Manchanda, a physician, author, and healthcare leader who has spent more than ten years developing strategies to improve health in resource-poor communities, the U.S. has a healthcare system almost perfectly designed to create debt. And few can argue with that assertion. After all, close to 66% of all bankruptcies filed in U.S. courts are related to unpaid medical bills. That said, when someone does not pay their outstanding medical bills, creditors are within their rights to take them to court and have a judgment filed against them. If that happens, a court can enforce any of the following to collect payment from that individual:

• A bank levy
• A real estate lien
• Wage garnishment

Filing bankruptcy can prevent creditors and even courts from trying to collect unpaid medical bills. However, it comes at the cost of ruined credit. For some people, it’s just not worth it. Fortunately, there are other options, some of which include

Negotiating a Settlement With Medical or Debt Creditors

Most hospitals, clinics, dental offices, and other healthcare providers would prefer to negotiate a settlement to resolve unpaid medical bills than to go through the trouble of securing a court judgment. This option often allows individuals to settle their debt for a fraction of what they owe without ruining their credit.

Taking Advantage of Assistance Programs

Another option for dealing with unpaid medical bills without one’s credit taking a hit is to take advantage of assistance programs, especially when it comes to unpaid hospital bills. Examples of these programs include the following:

• Affordable Care Act (ACA)
• Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
• Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
• Medicaid
• Medicare
• The Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP)

It is important to note that most of these assistance programs have eligibility requirements. Therefore, it’s best to contact the assistance program you’re interested in to confirm you meet their specific eligibility requirements.

When Filing for Bankruptcy Is the Only Option Left

Although it is far from ideal, filing for bankruptcy is a viable way to resolve unpaid medical bills if you’ve already tried other options that don’t involve destroying your credit, like assistance programs and negotiating with creditors. Bearing that in mind, individuals who file for bankruptcy in Milwaukee Wisconsin, much like other parts of the country, have two options to consider when using this legal remedy to resolve their outstanding medical bills: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Low-income households and those with assets that have very little or no equity might want to consider filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to take care of unpaid medical bills. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a court to discharge your outstanding debt, effectively giving you a clean slate. Most people choose this option when a creditor threatens to garnish their wages, put a levy on their bank account, or have a lien placed on their home.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Generally speaking, high-income households and those with assets with substantial equity do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, they usually qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which doesn’t necessarily wipe out their debt. Instead, it allows individuals to pay all or part of what they owe via a repayment plan. Most repayment plans allow debtors 3 to 5 years to resolve their outstanding debt.

In summary, there are several ways to resolve medical debt that doesn’t involve filing for bankruptcy. However, if those options are unavailable or have already been exhausted, bankruptcy, Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, is a last resort worth considering.

Is Bankruptcy a good option to avoid home foreclosure?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows individuals and businesses to eliminate or restructure their debts. It involves petitioning the court for protection from creditors, allowing them to wipe away certain types of debt or reorganize payment plans on outstanding debt. When filing for bankruptcy, an individual can choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

For individuals facing home foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy may be a good option because it can provide temporary relief from creditors while they attempt to restructure their finances. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put in place, preventing creditors from initiating legal action against you. This includes stopping pending foreclosure proceedings as long as the automatic stay is in effect. It also allows time for the debtor to make arrangements with the lender, such as modifying loan terms or negotiating lower payments, so they can continue living in their home.

Types of Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of personal bankruptcy that can help you avoid foreclosure. It involves the liquidation of non-exempt assets and dischargeable debt. Any remaining balance on these debts will be eliminated, allowing individuals to start fresh with their finances. However, filing for Chapter 7 does not necessarily halt foreclosure in process. If you own your home and have equity in it, the trustee may be able to sell your property and use the proceeds to repay creditors.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another option for individuals facing a home foreclosure. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 does not involve liquidating assets; instead, it allows debtors to restructure their payments so they can pay off their debts over three to five years. This allows individuals to keep their homes and make payments that are more affordable for them. For instance, they can reduce their monthly payments, reduce the interest rate on their loan or even have part of the principal balance forgiven.

When Can Bankruptcy May Be a Viable Option?

Bankruptcy may be a viable option for individuals facing home foreclosure if they can prove to the court that their financial hardships are preventing them from making payments on their mortgage. This could include job loss, medical bills, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted because of its long-term implications, such as a damaged credit report, higher interest rates and difficulty obtaining loans. Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision that should not be taken lightly. Consult widely with financial advisors and attorneys to understand the implications of this process before moving forward.

Steps Involved in Filing for Bankruptcy

1. Gather All Necessary Documents

You must submit various financial documents, including personal income statements, bank account information and a list of creditors and assets. Ensure that all documents are current and accurate.

2. Complete the Required Forms

The court requires several forms to be completed accurately and thoroughly before your case can be considered. These forms include the bankruptcy petition, assets and liabilities schedules and a financial affairs statement.

3. File the Forms with the Bankruptcy Court

You’ll need to file your forms with the court in your local district and submit all necessary documents along with a filing fee.

4. Attend the Creditors Meeting

This meeting is held to review your case and allow creditors to ask questions. You’ll need to have all of your documents ready and a list of any debts you plan to discharge in the bankruptcy process.

5. Receive Your Discharge

Once all steps in the process have been completed and creditors have received payment, you’ll receive your discharge from bankruptcy. This document will indicate that your debts have been eliminated and you are no longer responsible.

Bankruptcy and Financial Effects

Filing for bankruptcy can have a dramatic impact on your personal finances and credit score. It will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, making it difficult to obtain loans or credit cards in the future. Credit scores will also drop significantly, which can further delay any future attempts to borrow money. For instance, if your credit score was 700 before filing for bankruptcy, it could drop to as low as 500 afterward.

Furthermore, due to the lower credit score, you may be required to pay higher interest rates on future loans and credit cards. High interest rates can make it challenging to pay off debt. Additionally, creditors may require a co-signer or collateral for you to obtain financing. Getting a co-signer or collateral may be difficult when you’ve filed for bankruptcy.

A good credit score is still achievable after bankruptcy, but rebuilding your credit will take time and dedication. This can be done by making timely payments on existing debts, establishing new lines of credit and avoiding taking out more debt than you can afford. You can eventually recover your credit score and financial health with patience and diligence.

Alternatives to Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy isn’t the only option when faced with overwhelming debt. Consider other alternatives such as credit refinancing, loan modification or debt consolidation. These options allow you to reduce your monthly payments and sometimes lower interest rates, helping make the debt more manageable.

Credit refinancing involves working with lenders to replace existing debts with smaller loans at a lower interest rate. The reduced payments can make it easier to pay off debt. Similarly, loan modification involves negotiating with creditors to lower interest rates or extend the length of repayment plans.

Debt consolidation involves a new loan to pay off debt at a lower interest rate. While this can make it easier to manage debt, it is crucial to understand the terms and conditions of the loan before agreeing. Some agreements may include hidden fees or other charges.

Under the loan modification option, you work with your creditors to restructure the terms of your debt such as the loan amount or repayment schedule to make it more affordable. The process usually includes providing financial documents such as pay stubs and expenses to demonstrate your current financial situation.

Conclusion

Filing for bankruptcy can be difficult, but if you understand the process and weigh the potential financial effects, it may be the right choice. Alternatives such as credit refinancing, loan modification or debt consolidation are also available if you need help managing your debt. Whatever option you choose, staying informed and taking proactive steps to rebuild your financial health is crucial.

Divorce Debt & Bankruptcy

A divorce’s financial and emotional strain can take its toll on anyone. One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with a newly single life is navigating the world of finances, specifically credit card debt, taxes, and banking. The interplay between divorce, debt, and bankruptcy can be complex in the context of divorce. The timing of divorce and bankruptcy filings and the specific details of your financial situation can significantly impact the outcome. It’s essential to consult with both a divorce and bankruptcy attorney to explore your options and determine the best course of action based on your circumstances.

Divorce, debt, and marriage are interwoven aspects of our personal and financial lives that can profoundly impact individuals and families. The decision to enter into marriage involves a commitment to share love and companionship and the responsibilities and obligations of merging finances and assets. However, when marriages end in divorce, the division of debts and assets can become complex and contentious, requiring careful consideration and legal guidance.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

It is meant to help individuals clear their outstanding debt. It allows the debtor to liquidate all property, real or personal, and discharge the debt in one fell swoop. No repayment plans or repayment plans are assigned, meaning that unsecured creditors are paid in full from any money available at the time of filing.

How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

The process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is straightforward. The debtor must file an initial petition with their local bankruptcy court, which then notifies the major credit reporting agencies and sends a notice to the debtor’s creditors. All creditors have 20 days to object to the bankruptcy; if they do so, they are given additional time to respond. The debtor then has 30 days in which to respond to these objections.

Who is eligible to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Anyone who has unpaid debt may be eligible. This includes credit cards, medical bills, tuition/educational loans, child support, alimony, etc. Many people in these situations mistakenly believe they are not eligible because of previous bankruptcy or because they owe too little money. This is only sometimes the case, and if there are any questions about whether a person is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they should contact a lawyer immediately. For eligibility, you need to qualify in the following:

Means Test

You must pass the means test, which compares your income to the median income in your state for a household of a similar size. If your income is below the median, you generally qualify for Chapter 7. If your income exceeds the median, you may still qualify after deducting specific expenses and demonstrating an inability to repay your debts.

Previous Bankruptcy Discharge

If you have received a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within the past eight years, you are generally ineligible for another Chapter 7 discharge. However, you may be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Here, debtors handle their debt slightly differently. Instead of liquidating all property and essentially starting over, in this process, the debtor pays back a portion of their outstanding debt over an extended period while still maintaining the majority of their assets. This allows them to retain some stability and income during a stressful time in life.

How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?

The process of filing such a bankruptcy is similar to how Chapter 7 works, with the debtor setting up a repayment plan over three to five years. The debtor has one year after their Chapter 13 filing is completed to make all payments to their creditors. After this time, they are discharged from their bankruptcy and can begin seeking an unsecured loan or credit card.

Who is eligible to file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

To be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the United States, you must meet specific requirements:

Regular Income

You must have a regular source of income, such as employment, self-employment, or steady income from other sources. This is to ensure that you have the means to make the monthly payments required under the Chapter 13 repayment plan.

Debt Limits

There are specific limits on the amount of debt you can have to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These limits may vary depending on the current bankruptcy laws in your jurisdiction.

Previous Bankruptcy Discharge

If you have received a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within the past four years or a Chapter 13 case within the past two years, you may have limitations on your eligibility for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Filing History

There are restrictions on how frequently you can file for bankruptcy. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is an eight-year waiting period between discharges, while for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the waiting period between previous Chapter 13 cases is two years.

Credit Counseling

Both require credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days of filing.

Conclusion

The process of filing for bankruptcy is a challenging one. It requires the knowledge and expertise of a qualified lawyer to prepare the paperwork correctly, review all pertinent information, and provide thorough assistance throughout the process. It’s important to note that bankruptcy laws and eligibility requirements can vary, and the specific criteria may differ based on your jurisdiction. Consulting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney familiar with your area’s laws is crucial to determining your eligibility and understanding the specific requirements you need to meet.

Navigating the complexities of divorce debt, and marriage requires a thorough understanding of legal and financial implications. It is essential to approach these matters with clear communication and open-mindedness. By seeking informed advice and making well-informed decisions, individuals can work towards resolving debt issues and ensuring a fair distribution of assets, ultimately moving forward into a new chapter of their lives with more excellent financial stability and emotional well-being.

Eliminating Tax Debt

Regarding financial well-being, no one wants the burden of tax debt to weigh them down. Whether you’re a small business owner coping with IRS liens or an individual overwhelmed by the amount they owe in back taxes, eliminating your tax bill can be daunting and confusing. This blog post provides an overview of what you need to know about getting rid of your tax debt to move forward confidently toward financial freedom.

Understanding Tax Debt

Tax arrears occurs when taxpayers owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) money in back taxes. Generally, this is caused by an individual needing to pay all their tax liabilities due for a certain period, either through late or nonpayment payments. Once this happens, penalties and fees can accumulate on your debts. Depending on the circumstances, a taxpayer may be able to negotiate with the IRS to reduce their debt or enter into an installment agreement.

Options for Eliminating Tax Debt

Several options are available when it comes to getting rid of tax-debt. These include:

• Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy is another option for discharging tax bill. Tax bill is often considered unsecured, meaning it can be eliminated or discharged in bankruptcy. However, depending on their circumstances, this option may only be ideal for some. Individuals who file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can have their tax debt reduced, but it’s important to remember that some taxes are not dischargeable.
• Payment Plans: The IRS offers payment plans for taxpayers who are unable to pay their full tax liability at once. These plans allow taxpayers to spread their payments over a set period, usually up to 72 months (6 years). While this option may be the best for some, it can come with hefty interest and penalties.
• Offer in Compromise: If you are unable to pay your taxes in full or via an installment agreement, the IRS may accept what is known as an “offer in compromise” (OIC). With this option, taxpayers can offer to pay less than what they owe, often in a lump sum. To be eligible for an OIC, the taxpayer must prove that paying the full amount would create undue financial hardship.
• Federal Tax Lien: In some cases, the IRS may file a federal tax lien against a taxpayer. This official claim gives the IRS the right to take property or assets to pay off a tax arrears. A tax lien can severely damage an individual’s credit score and make accessing loans or other financial products more difficult. It can also make it difficult for them to sell or transfer property. Taxpayers who have had a federal tax lien filed against them may be able to get it removed if they pay off the full debt amount or enter into an acceptable repayment plan with the IRS.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Tax

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal process in which debtors can discharge most unsecured debts, including tax bill. This type of bankruptcy is designed to relieve people struggling with overwhelming debt. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, individuals must pass the means test. This test determines whether or not their income is below a certain level. If it is, then they can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have their tax debt discharged.

A means test entails comparing an individual’s income to the median income for their state. If their income is lower than the median, they can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have their tax arrears wiped out. Taxpayers who don’t pass the means test might still be able to qualify if certain other circumstances are present, such as a high amount of medical expenses.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Tax

The other type of consumer bankruptcy is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which involves repaying some or all of your creditors through a court-approved repayment plan. With Chapter 13, taxpayers can agree with the IRS to pay back their tax bill over time. This option can be more advantageous than Chapter 7 for those who can afford to pay off some of their debt and wish to avoid having it fully discharged.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, creditors are paid back through a set repayment plan lasting up to five years. During this period, the IRS will cease any collection activities, and interest charges will not accrue on your debt. The court will discharge any remaining tax debt when the repayment plan is complete.

Taxpayers should understand that the IRS has the right to object to a repayment plan or any part of it, so it is important to consult a qualified attorney before attempting to negotiate or settle a tax arrears through bankruptcy.

What Happens If You Fail to File Returns Before the Creditors’ Meeting?

If you fail to file your tax returns before the creditors’ meeting, the court may grant a motion for a substitute return. This means the IRS will prepare an estimate of your taxes owed based on their available information. The court can then use this return to determine how much of your debt needs to be paid to creditors through the repayment plan.

It is important to remember that a substitute return can only be used if you have yet to file your taxes. If you can provide your tax returns before the meeting, the court will use those instead to determine how much your debt needs to be repaid.

Unfortunately, substitute returns often result in more tax bill than if you had filed your returns. This is because the IRS may only have access to some of the deductions and credits available to taxpayers. Therefore, filing your returns before the meeting is important for ensuring that only accurate information is used to determine how much your debt needs to be repaid.

Winding Up

Filing for bankruptcy can be difficult, but it is important if you struggle with overwhelming tax arrears. Understanding how Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy affect your taxes can help you decide the best way to address your financial situation. Additionally, it is important to work with a qualified attorney and tax professional when considering bankruptcy to address your tax bill.

Experienced attorneys can help you understand the process and make sure you are making the best decisions for your financial future. By following these tips, you can ensure that you take the necessary steps to address your tax debt and move on with your life. With the right strategy, filing for bankruptcy can be an excellent way to get relief from overwhelming tax arrears.

What Debts are Exempt from Filing For Bankruptcy?

In times of financial distress, bankruptcy can help people regain control of their finances. However, you should know that not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. This guide examines the debts exempt from bankruptcy under Chapters 7 and 13, shedding light on the limitations and nuances of each chapter.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start through Liquidation

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal process that allows people to rebuild their lives by liquidating non-exempt assets to repay creditors. Also known as “liquidation bankruptcy” because the debtor’s non-exempt assets are sold, and the proceeds are divided among the creditors. This chapter of bankruptcy benefits many debtors by allowing them to eliminate their overwhelming debts and regain financial stability.

However, it is important to note that not all debts are discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Certain debts are typically exempted from discharge, meaning that the debtor remains responsible for repaying them even after the bankruptcy process is completed. These non-dischargeable debts are carefully defined by bankruptcy laws to protect creditors’ rights and maintain fairness in the overall process.

Student Loans

A student loan is one of the debts, generally non-dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Student loans are often substantial and can create a significant financial burden for individuals. Unfortunately, discharging student loans through bankruptcy is challenging and requires proving an “undue hardship.” This standard is very stringent and typically requires demonstrating that repaying student loans would cause extreme financial hardship that persists over an extended period.

Child Support and Alimony

Debts related to child support and alimony obligations are also non-dischargeable. These debts hold priority status, ensuring that children and former spouses receive the necessary financial support.

Taxes

Most tax debts are not dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes income taxes, property taxes, and certain other tax-related obligations. The rationale behind this exemption is to maintain the tax system’s integrity and prevent individuals from using bankruptcy to avoid their tax responsibilities. However, there are exceptions to this rule based on specific circumstances, such as the age of the tax debt and compliance with tax filing requirements.

Debts Incurred through Fraud or Misrepresentation

Debts that result from fraudulent activities, embezzlement, or pretences are generally non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. This provision ensures that individuals cannot abuse the bankruptcy process to avoid debts obtained through dishonest or deceptive practices. Bankruptcy laws aim to uphold the principles of fairness and prevent the misuse of the system.

A Repayment Plan for Financial Rehabilitation

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a “repayment plan” or “wage earner’s plan,” offers people a structured path to financial recovery. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves liquidating assets, this chapter allows debtors to create a realistic repayment plan over three to five years to pay off their debts.

This form of bankruptcy is often suitable for individuals who have a steady income and want to retain their assets while repaying their debts in an organized manner. It provides more flexibility compared to Chapter 7, allowing debtors to keep their homes and other valuable possessions while addressing their financial obligations responsibly.

However, it is important to note that certain debts are still considered non-dischargeable under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This means that even with the repayment plan, the debtor remains responsible for these obligations. Let’s explore these non-dischargeable debts to gain a deeper understanding:

Debts from Willful and Malicious Injury

Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debts resulting from intentional acts of harm or property damage. This provision ensures that individuals who have caused harm to others through willful and malicious actions remain accountable for their actions. Victims have the right to seek compensation for their injuries or damages.

Certain Tax Debts

While Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows for the inclusion of certain tax debts in the repayment plan, not all tax obligations can be discharged. Recent income taxes, for instance, typically must be paid in full. However, older tax debts or tax penalties may be eligible for inclusion in the repayment plan, allowing debtors to gradually catch up on these obligations.

Debts Not Listed in the Bankruptcy Filing

Debtors must list all their debts in the bankruptcy filing accurately. Failure to disclose a debt can result in it being excluded from the discharge. It is essential to be diligent and thorough in providing a comprehensive account of all debts to ensure a fair resolution for the debtor and the creditors.

Debts Arising After Filing

Debts incurred after the bankruptcy petition has been filed are generally not dischargeable. Debtors must be responsible for managing any new debts or financial obligations that arise during the bankruptcy process. This underscores the importance of prudent financial management and avoiding new debts while undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

Individuals filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can gradually reorganize their finances and repay their debts. Debtors can demonstrate their commitment to financial responsibility and work toward a fresh start by following the structured repayment plan. Seeking the advice of a qualified bankruptcy attorney is critical to successfully navigating the complexities of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Conclusion

Understanding which debts are exempt from filing for bankruptcy is crucial for individuals considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can relieve certain debts, consulting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney is important to navigate the complex legal requirements.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers a fresh start by liquidating non-exempt assets, but student loans, child support, alimony, taxes, and debts resulting from fraud or misrepresentation remain non-dischargeable. In contrast, Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a repayment plan over a period. Still, debts from willful injury, certain tax, unlisted, and post-petition debts are not dischargeable.

Navigating the bankruptcy process requires careful consideration of individual circumstances and a thorough understanding of the applicable laws. Seeking professional legal advice is advisable to assess the specific situation and make informed decisions accurately.

Bankruptcy laws may vary across jurisdictions, so you must be familiar with the regulations in your area. By obtaining the necessary knowledge and guidance, individuals can work towards financial rehabilitation and establish a solid foundation for their future.

Stopping Wage Garnishment

If you fail to make debt payments, your creditor may take legal action by suing you and seeking a court judgment. Once this occurs, the creditor can ask the court to garnish your bank account or wages to reimburse the debt.

However, a wage garnishment can worsen an already difficult situation if you’re already struggling to meet your financial obligations. The good news is that there are measures you can take to prevent garnishment from causing havoc in your financial circumstances.

What is Wage Garnishment?

Debt collectors may resort to garnishment if you’re unable to repay a debt. Upon court approval, the creditor can ask for a portion of your wages or bank account funds to settle the debt. These enforced payments can worsen your financial difficulties and make it challenging to meet essential expenses.

Therefore, it’s crucial to engage with your creditor before they initiate a lawsuit to prevent the garnishment. If you’ve already reached that point, however, there are potential alternatives you can explore to eliminate the garnishment.

Understanding Garnishment Process

Wage garnishment regulations differ across states, allowing a limited timeframe for you to raise objections. The duration varies based on your state and the debt’s nature, with the window sometimes as brief as five days.

Nevertheless, the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) safeguards all consumers. This legislation prevents unfair practices by third-party debt collectors in their debt collection efforts. It shields you against harassment, unsolicited calls during odd hours, and disclosing your debt to anybody other than your spouse.

How Wage Garnishment Works

As said earlier, creditors resort to garnishment as a final measure to recover their owed funds. Before this, they usually explore alternative options such as negotiations, engaging collection agencies, or structured loan repayment plans. If these attempts prove unsuccessful, the creditor may seek court approval to proceed with garnishment.

After the creditor initiates the garnishment request, the court must approve it and forward it to your employer for implementation and compliance. Subsequently, your employer must subtract the specified amount from your paycheck and send it to the creditor. Failure to comply with a garnishment order can hold your employer liable for the debt’s repayment.

It is worth noting that once the garnishment process commences, it will persist until the debt is wholly settled or until legal measures are undertaken to stop it.

5 Ways for Stopping Wage Garnishment

When faced with a garnishment order, taking immediate action is crucial. Assessing potential legal or financial alternatives to halt the garnishment process is valuable. Here is how you can stop the garnishment:

Reimburse the Debt Fully

Paying off the debt is a widely used approach to end garnishment. By doing so, you can instantly halt the garnishment and find reassurance that your employer will no longer deduct your paycheck. However, before pursuing this option, knowing the repayment terms and assessing any potential financial consequences is advisable.

Thus, look closely at your expenses to determine if you can afford to make a single payment to settle the debt. Paying off the debt may be the optimal resolution to cease garnishment.
Challenge the Judgment in a Court

Suppose the garnishment is the result of a judgment. In that case, it might be possible to dispute that judgment in a court. Depending on the available evidence and the circumstances, engaging a garnishment attorney could assist you in this matter. Challenging the judgment can be intricate and time-consuming, but it could be your most viable option if you possess a valid legal argument.

A court hearing will be essential to present your case. If your challenge is successful, the court may modify or completely overturn the judgment. In such a scenario, it can potentially cease the garnishment process. However, it is vital to remember that you must establish your case’s merit per the laws of your state of residence.

File for Bankruptcy

Although filing for bankruptcy carries a social stigma, it can be a powerful strategy for halting garnishment and reclaiming financial control. Once you initiate bankruptcy proceedings, the court will issue an order that immediately stops all garnishments and other debt collection activities. The personal bankruptcy that you can apply for includes:

Chapter 7 Fresh Start: Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers a straightforward approach to eliminate debts swiftly and provide complete relief. This plan eliminates unsecured debts, such as credit card bills, medical expenses, judgments, personal loans, garnishments, and other similar obligations.

Chapter 13 Reorganization Plan: Chapter 13 bankruptcy aims to halt creditor actions and establish manageable repayment terms to help you regain financial stability. Here is where working with a garnishment lawyer comes into play, as they will help you develop a balanced budget based on your unique income and debt obligations.

Agree on a Good Payment Plan

If your present financial circumstances make it challenging to repay the debt completely, negotiating a more feasible reimbursement plan with your creditor is possible. This negotiation process may involve discussions regarding decreased monthly payments, reduced interest rates, extended loan terms, or even a lump-sum settlement. Successful negotiation can halt the garnishment and lessen the debt burden.

Having a well-defined plan can prevent further collections or legal actions while decreasing the overall interest you need to pay. It’s important to remember that creditors may be open to working with you if they perceive it as beneficial to them, so don’t hesitate to engage in negotiations.

File an Exemption Claim

If you believe that a portion of your wages should be protected against garnishment, it is crucial to submit an exemption claim. This claim allows you to assert your eligibility for exemption based on specific factors, such as being the head of a household, having dependents, or maintaining a low income. Moreover, if another creditor is currently garnishing your wages, you can file a claim to limit the amount deducted.

Is Hiring a Wage Garnishment Attorney Worth It?

Hiring a wage garnishment attorney can be a wise decision when facing the possibility of wage garnishment. With their expertise in this area of law, attorneys can provide valuable guidance, protect your rights, and navigate the legal procedures involved. They can alleviate stress, advocate, and help you explore options to challenge or negotiate the garnishment.

Bankruptcy and Credit Card Debt

Bankruptcy has become an increasingly popular option for debtors in the past decade, with experts crediting this rise to the increasing instability of the economy and low-income families. While bankruptcy has traditionally been pursued by those who have lost their job and fallen into overwhelming debt, recent statistics show that it is now an option for those struggling with accumulated credit card debt. It’s important for you, as a consumer, on this issue to be informed before making any decisions that could have serious repercussions. This is why you should try to avoid accumulating too much debt in the first place by making conscious decisions about how you spend money.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows debtors to withdraw from their debts by declaring bankruptcy. The filing typically occurs before the defendants’ assets are liquidated to pay the creditors. Borrowers retain property ownership and see their income, salary, or Social Security payments garnished. Jurisdictions of law broadly vary relative to the types of debts that can be included in bankruptcy. In the United States, each of the fifty states has laws regarding what debts can be discharged through this process. It allows individuals earning some income to create a repayment plan that gives them up to five years to repay their debts.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy case is a liquidation bankruptcy case that typically takes four to five months to complete. Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions are filed under federal law and are governed by the federal Bankruptcy Code. The court in which you file your petition will determine whether you qualify for this type of bankruptcy and if it is approved, it is usually effective within four months. There are two types of chapter 7 bankruptcies, a straight chapter 7 bankruptcy and a chapter 13 reorganization. Those who qualify file under a straight chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin because it requires no repayment plan. To file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, the steps are as follows:

1. Credit Counseling

Complete pre-file bankruptcy counseling sessions before filing. This is a mandatory step that happens before filing for bankruptcy. It will help you to better decide on what type of bankruptcy you need, determine your liabilities, and understand how debt consolidation, debt settlement, and personal finance can work for you. The class is designed to provide an overview of various options and strategies and help you determine what type of bankruptcy would work best for you. Both federal and state law requires credit counseling as a means to educate individuals about their options before filing for bankruptcy and as a way to avoid defaulting on debts.

2. Find an Attorney

If you are a high-class professional, you must find an attorney specializing in bankruptcy who can help you navigate the process. A qualified bankruptcy attorney will use their knowledge and experience to guide the client through the process and ensure they can successfully file and be protected under the laws in place. An attorney can help you understand the process, help you make a plan, and negotiate with your creditors to file a bankruptcy petition on your behalf. Finding an attorney who can counsel you on all your options is important. If filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact legal aid or pro-bono attorneys who can help with fees or payments.

3. File Paperwork

Once you have found an attorney and decided on what type of bankruptcy you will file, you can begin filling out paperwork. The paperwork needed varies by state, but the forms required to start the case usually include a petition, schedules, and the codebtor information. You will also need to complete credit counseling. The chapter 13 bankruptcy wisconsin petition is the most difficult to file, and certain steps must be followed to file a schedule of assets and liabilities. If you decide to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy wisconsin, it will stay in effect for three to five years and keep you from having your debts discharged.

4. Trustee Takes Over

Once forms have been submitted to start the case, the debtor will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee, who will act on behalf of the debtor. They are responsible for ensuring that creditors receive payments and that all court orders are followed. This means paying all debts and fulfilling any other official duties as they are required.

5. Meeting of Creditors

After completing the education course, a meeting of creditors must be conducted. The meeting is mandatory and will allow you to meet with your creditors before filing for bankruptcy to prepare for this next step. This is when all of the creditors are made aware of your intentions and will also be able to tell you about their rights and those of their respective attorneys. Your lawyer will represent them at the meeting and help make any questions or concerns known.

6. Education Course

The second step is to take an education course. This will help prepare you for the next step, filing for bankruptcy. The course covers what to expect from a bankruptcy case and information about credit counseling and budgeting options. The education course is an important step in the pre-filing process. This is when you hear about opportunities and strategies to help you through your difficult financial situation. The class will also help you determine what will be best for you in the long term by explaining the basics of debt management and personal finance.

7. Your Eligibility is Determined

If you have completed the requirements for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, your petition will be filed by the bankruptcy trustee, and your eligibility will be determined. You may have to appear in court if your case needs to be reviewed. Your attorney will help you prepare the required documents and ensure everything is complete, correct, and up-to-date. This meeting aims to determine what type of bankruptcy you qualify for. This is how the court system becomes aware of your intention to file for bankruptcy, informing them of what kind of bankruptcy you will be filing. This also begins the necessary credit counseling sessions before you can start the case.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin allows individuals to begin again after financial troubles have become too much to handle. The basic process starts with finding an honest and reputable attorney to help you work through the case. Once that is determined, the next step is completing the credit counseling class and filing paperwork with the court system. During this time, it’s important to learn as much as possible about your options and what type of bankruptcy would suit you.