What Happens If You Become Bankrupt?

“Bankrupt” can have lots of scary connotations. You might imagine that you will be forced out of your home, have your car repossessed, and lose all your valuables. You might believe that you will never again be able to acquire a credit card or any type of loan after bankruptcy. Those fears arise from a lack of information. In this post, we will look at what bankruptcy is and its effects.

Two Types of Bankruptcy

The two primary forms of bankruptcy that individuals (and couples) file are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. They each have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consult with an expert to determine which one is the best for you. Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes about 3 to 6 months from time of filing; Chapter 13 has a plan that lasts between 3 to 5 years.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also called Liquidation Bankruptcy, but don’t let that name scare you off. While it is designed to repay a portion of your debts through the sale of your assets, there are exemptions, and the experts at Burr Law can make sure your car and your home remain yours. The truth is that using exemptions to their fullest, you can derive the benefit of eliminating consumer credit debt while retaining your most valuable possessions. There is no minimum or maximum amount of debt needed to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is an income status requirement, though. Your income needs to be equal to or below Wisconsin’s median income, which in 2019 (the last official figure) was $67,355.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy functions more like a reorganization. A trustee assigned by the bankruptcy court draws up a plan whereby you repay a portion of your debts over the course of 3 to 5 years. Your creditors then need to agree to the plan, and the bankruptcy court approves it. With this type of bankruptcy you will retain your car and your house as well. There is no income status requirement, though there is a maximum debt level. To be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have no more than $394,725 in consumer credit debt and you also can have no more than $1,184,200 in secured debts, which includes mortgages and car loans.

Bankruptcy And Your Credit Report

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 And Your Credit Score

Bankruptcy will mean a drop in your credit score immediately after filing. 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.

Bankruptcy And Obtaining Credit Cards

When you file for bankruptcy, whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you usually lose access to your credit cards. That doesn’t mean that you will never again have a credit card. There are credit cards specifically designed for those with poor credit and the experts at Burr Law can advise you on how best to reclaim your creditworthiness through measured use of particular credit cards.

The professionals at Burr Law can answer all of your bankruptcy questions. With all of the information, you can make an informed decision about bankruptcy.