When Does Bankruptcy Clear From Your Credit Report?

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin, you probably have a lot of bankruptcy questions. It’s important for you to have all the information you need in order to make a truly sound decision, and in this post, we will look at one of the most commonly asked bankruptcy questions: When does bankruptcy clear from your credit report?

Credit reports are simply a fact of contemporary existence, and they are consulted every time you apply for a new credit card, or an automobile loan, or any type of financial undertaking. You may not be aware that in Wisconsin credit reports are also considered by landlords, and by some employers. So concern about your credit report is absolutely reasonable when making the decision to file for bankruptcy.

Filing for bankruptcy becomes part of the public record, so if anyone is truly interested in the bankruptcy filing itself, they can access that information.

Generally speaking, bankruptcy stays on your credit report in Wisconsin for about 10 years. Remember, though, that even if you don’t file bankruptcy, your creditors can obtain a judgment against you for your debt, and that judgment would appear on your credit report. A judgment can remain on your credit report for seven years or until the statute of limitations expires, whichever is longer. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations on a judgment can be up to 20 years! So a bankruptcy may well fall off of your credit report before a particular judgment.

Bankruptcy will mean a drop in your credit score immediately after filing, but about 12 to 18 months after you receive your bankruptcy discharge your credit score should go up because your debtor to income ratio becomes much better than when you filed the bankruptcy. However, you may already have a poor credit score due to your debt-to-asset ratio (your debt is high compared to your available credit) and delinquent accounts; in that case, the decrease in your credit score may be less than you suppose. If your credit score was good before filing bankruptcy, the drop may be more pronounced.

The type of bankruptcy that you file may also affect how its presence on your credit report is viewed by prospective lenders. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy completely wipes out your debt by selling whatever eligible assets you have; Chapter 13 Bankruptcy sets up a three to five year plan to repay a portion of your debt. Obviously, prospective lenders would consider a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in a more favorable light than a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. When applying for credit after bankruptcy, you should be straightforward about the bankruptcy and your reasons for choosing that option.

Attorney Michael Burr and the Burr Law Offices can answer all of your bankruptcy questions. You concern about your credit report is certainly warranted, and we can help you understand all the implications of a decision to file bankruptcy. Consult the experts in Wisconsin bankruptcy law at the Burr Law Offices, and bring all your bankruptcy questions with you.

Bankruptcy Pros and Cons

When you’re in financial distress, it can sometimes seem like there is no way out. There are all different kinds of reasons people find themselves flailing in a sea of debt. Whatever the reason, when creditors are circling sharks, bankruptcy may be the lifeboat you need. Over 12,000 Wisconsinites have filed bankruptcy so far this year (January 1 through September 30, 2019). In the Eastern District of Wisconsin (including Milwaukee and its surrounding areas), 9,466 bankruptcy cases have been recorded
(www.wiwb.ucourts.gov, www.wieb.uscourts.gov). So bankruptcy is neither shameful nor unusual.

Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision, though. You want to have all the information and understand all the implications before proceeding. Let’s take a look at some of the bankruptcy pros and cons.

PRO: Bankruptcy Stops All Collection Activities By Any And All Creditors. When your debt is crippling, it comes with collection agents working relentlessly to extract money you don’t have. Letters that threaten dire consequences, phone calls that badger you at all times of day or night, these tactics can make you feel hunted, haunted, or both. The moment you file bankruptcy, all collection activities must stop, including any garnishment, foreclosure or repossession.

PRO: Bankruptcy Eliminates or Decreases Debt. With bankruptcy, all your unsecured debt is either eliminated or reduced. Most people file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and with that type, you don’t need to worry about any sort of repayment. “The entire process takes from 3-6 months, after which your debt is cleared” (David Chandler, https://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/bankruptcy_02.html). Some people choose Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and with that type, you do repay a portion of your debts, determined with the court. This process lasts from 3 to 5 years. In both cases, your debts are cleared, once and for all.

PRO: Bankruptcy Avoids Draining Resources. The bill collectors don’t care where you get the money to pay them, and you may be tempted to take it from your retirement funds, social security or other protected assets. When you declare bankruptcy, not all your assets are liable for your debt repayment. Social security and retirement funds are protected. Filing bankruptcy allows you to retain those protected assets while getting rid of the debt.

CON: Bankruptcy Means No Credit Cards Until You Receive Your Bankruptcy Discharge. While bankruptcy rids you of your debt, it also rids you of your credit cards. Not having credit cards makes some things more difficult. For instance, car rental agencies usually require credit cards; hotels often do too. It also means that unexpected large expenses cannot be paid with a credit card; car repairs may need to wait. Once you receive your bankruptcy discharge you can apply for credit, including credit cards and you should receive that credit or credit card.

CON: Bankruptcy Complicates Credit/Loan Prospects. Bankruptcy remains on your credit record for 10 years, and it can make getting an auto loan or other kind of loan more difficult, but not impossible. And while you may receive credit card offers shortly after declaring bankruptcy, they often come with high interest rates. Naturally, your credit rating will drop, but will improve and be back to normal about 1 year after bankruptcy discharge. Professional advice can assist in charting a positive strategy and ways to improve your credit score.

CON: Bankruptcy Becomes Public Record. When you file for bankruptcy, it becomes a matter of public record, and anyone can request those records. Except it will not appear on the State of Wisconsin, CCAP website, which list case filed in Wisconsin.

A Wisconsin legal team that specializes in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings can help you make the right decision for you and your family. If you need help with dealing with debt in Wisconsin, Burr Law Office can provide you with practical solutions that suit your needs. We can help you make the best possible decisions for yourself, your family and your future. Call us today at (262) 827-0375 to schedule a free bankruptcy evaluation. At Burr Law Office, we are here to help.

erasing debt with a green eraser

Bankruptcy and Debt Consolidation in Wisconsin

Bankruptcy can have long-term effects on the financial prospects of individuals and families in our area. In many cases, working with a knowledgeable law firm to negotiate debt consolidation in Wisconsin can allow consumers to manage their debts more effectively.

Debt is a huge problem in our country. According to credit bureau Experian, consumer debt soared to $13 trillion in the last quarter of 2018. This represents a serious burden on residents of Wisconsin as well as those throughout the United States. While the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in January 2019 that bankruptcy filings declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2018, farm bankruptcies are on the rise. About 49 farm families filed for bankruptcy in Wisconsin in 2018. That figure is more than double the number of farm bankruptcies in 2009. This increase in bankruptcies corresponds with a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report that U.S. farm debt amounted to more than $309 million in 2018.

The Basics of Bankruptcy

All bankruptcy cases must be filed in federal courts and are governed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Depending on where you live in Wisconsin, these cases go through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District or the Western District of Wisconsin. Individuals can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for the discharge of debts while paying creditors through the sale of assets held by the debtor. For those who have some ability to repay their creditors, Chapter 13 allows the retention of most property while allowing more time to make payments.

Recent Changes to Federal Law

One case that established an important precedent for future bankruptcy cases was Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 4, 2018. The high court found that a false statement by a debtor about a single asset could make a debt nondischargeable. This is only true, however, if the false statement was made in writing.

Rule 3002(a) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code was amended in 2017 to require secured creditors to file a proof of claim with the court before their claims can be allowed. A recent adjustment to Rule 3015 makes the determination of the amount and the priority of secured debts a binding determination. Finally, means testing will be used to determine whether debtors are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or whether they will be required to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans instead.

Avoiding Bankruptcy

A Wisconsin legal team that specializes in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings and debt consolidation can act as a partner in managing debts and reaching settlements with creditors. This can reduce the need for bankruptcy in some cases.

If you need help with managing debt consolidation in Wisconsin, Burr Law Office can provide you with practical solutions that suit your needs. We can negotiate with bill collectors and creditors to help you even the playing field and to achieve the best results for your situation. We can help you make the best possible decisions for yourself, your family and your future. Call us today at (262) 827-0375 to schedule a free bankruptcy evaluation. At Burr Law Office, we are here to help.

woman man arguing bw

How Will Your Divorce (and Your Ex’s Debt) Affect Your Future?

Getting divorced in Wisconsin means accepting a lot of significant changes. Most people understand this and look forward to making lifestyle transitions, such as starting new relationships, pursuing career advancement and escaping abusive situations. Sadly, few are prepared for how their divorces might impact their debts.

What will happen to your debts after you split? Can seeking bankruptcy protection help you manage your obligations more effectively? Keep reading for the essential facts on shared liabilities, bankruptcy and divorce debt consolidation.

Divorce and Debt

When people get divorced, they naturally consider their assets. They also need to think about their liabilities because they may be held responsible for their spouses’ actions even after parting ways.

Key Marriage Debt Concepts in Wisconsin

The notion of community property, or assets acquired during a marriage and deemed to belong to both spouses equally, also applies to certain debts. Important concepts to understand include

  • The doctrine of necessaries, a law permitting creditors to collect certain kinds of debts from an indebted person’s spouse, and
  • The determination date, or the earliest date that falls after when you got married and both took up in-state residency.

Why Your Determination Date Matters

When judging debt matters, courts may take distinct approaches depending on when specific debts were incurred relative to the determination date. For instance, pre-determination-date obligations frequently result in creditors collecting separate property from an indebted spouse. They can also take marital property that would have belonged solely to one spouse if they’d never tied the knot.

Normal creditors can’t collect community property to resolve pre-determination-date debts. The IRS has no such limitations, however, so tread carefully.

What about creditor claims that you acquired after getting married and moving to Wisconsin with your spouse? These liabilities may include debts that you took on in your family’s interest as well as those you incurred for personal reasons:

  • When debts relate to family purposes, creditors can collect from the indebted spouse’s separate property and any marital property they share.
  • With non-family purpose debts, creditors can take a debtor’s personal property as well as half of their marital assets.

Exploring Your Divorce Debt Consolidation Options

Getting divorced is all about moving on with your life, but dealing with your ex’s debt can make cutting the tether much harder. Although some couples avoid issues by entering into matrimonial property agreements before getting married, this option only works in certain situations. You also have to supply creditors with a copy of your agreement in advance for it to have any impact.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s complex communal property laws catch many couples off guard. For instance, imagine that your spouse didn’t tell you that they took out a loan during your marriage. You might find yourself liable for a significant debt without even knowing it existed. These unpleasant surprises make it extremely difficult to get a fresh start.

Pursuing divorce debt consolidation through bankruptcy may be an option. Since the system doesn’t give people preferential treatment just because their spouses got them in over their heads, bankruptcy may be a viable backup plan. By halting collections and giving you time to figure things out, bankruptcy can help you take the unexpected consequences of getting divorced in stride.

Call the Burr Law Office at (262) 827-0375 to find out how to unshackle yourself from the burden of debt due to a divorce.