Are you being harassed by creditors? Are they threatening to file lawsuits against you for unpaid debts? Are you worried about losing your car or home? Have they already begun garnishing your wages?
The reality of modern Americans is that financial troubles can happen at any time to anyone. It is not a character problem or a personal failing. It is a result of an unstable job market, impossibly high medical bills, divorce, or serious injury.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, bankruptcy provides one way to stabilize your finances. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the options, how they work, and how they can benefit you.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. Essentially, your debts are discharged and, if you have any valuable assets, they could be liquidated to repay your creditors. In most cases, creditors find nothing to liquidate. Those filing for Chapter 7 can also protect some of their assets up to a certain amount.
At the end of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all unsecured debts like medical debt or credit card debt can be discharged entirely, and you can begin again without that debt hanging over your head. The trade-off is that your credit may take a hit and the bankruptcy will show up your credit report for the next ten years. But you can rebuild your credit after bankruptcy and your credit was likely not in a good place prior to filing for bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as reorganization bankruptcy. You and your bankruptcy attorney organize all of your debts and propose a repayment plan to the court. Secured debts, back taxes, and child or spousal support arrearages get the highest priority. Unsecured debts are the lowest priority. At least part of these debts can be discharged at the end of your bankruptcy.
The payments are made monthly over a three- or five-year period and at the end of the bankruptcy, your debts will be considered resolved. Chapter 13 bankruptcy incurs less of a hit to your credit score more of your debts are being paid off, and the bankruptcy only stays on your credit report for 7 years as opposed to 10.
If a creditor successfully sues you and gains a judgment against you in court, they can begin taking more aggressive means to collect the debt. One of the tactics they can use is the garnishment of your wages. In this case, they notify your employer that you have an outstanding debt and that you owe a specific amount of money to them. Your employer must comply with a request for garnishment. They’ll withhold some of your wages to repay your creditor until the debt is paid in full.
For obvious reasons, this is not ideal. Not only do want the full value of your wages, but you don’t want your employer to know about your financial problems. The best course of action is usually to file for bankruptcy before the creditor has a chance to get a judgment against you.
Creditors can also place liens on your real estate or levy your bank account in the amount of the unpaid debt.
If you’ve gotten behind on your mortgage, your lender may be trying to push you out of your own home. But once you file for bankruptcy, all creditor actions against you must cease immediately. This is known as the automatic stay. While this may buy you some time, it’s not enough to stop a foreclosure. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can, however.
Chapter 13 allows you to pay back the arrearages while keeping up with your monthly mortgage payments. Other debts may be rolled into your repayment plan, but you may not have to repay all your debts in full.
If there is a second mortgage on your home (a Home Equity Line of Credit), you may be able to strip the HELOC entirely or roll the payments into your Chapter 13.
The Tom Butcher Law Office, LLC can help you save your home from foreclosure.
If you’re behind on your car payments and the dealer is has sent notice that they intend to repossess the vehicle, you can prevent a repossession by filing for bankruptcy. However, only a Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers the option of saving your car from repossession. The automatic stay will delay the repossession, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will give you the option of repaying the arrearages and allowing you to keep your car.
If you’re worried about a car repossession, call Butcher Law Office, LLC today and ask how Tom can help.
If you’re being harassed by debt collectors, there are ways of dealing with that. While some collections agencies only make annoying phone calls, others have lawyers on hand who can file lawsuits against you.
The first thing you want to do is to make sure that the debt is still valid. Chances are, if the debt is not showing up on your credit report, that’s because the statute of limitations has lapsed on the debt. If that’s the case, do not make any payment (even a small one) as that will revive the debt and cause the statute of limitations to begin ticking down again.
If the debt is still valid, there’s a chance that the creditor can file a lawsuit against you. If that’s the case, then you want to move quicker than they do. Once they gain a judgment, they can place a lien on your home, garnish your wages, or levy your bank account.
If you’re worried about creditor harassment, call Butcher Law Office, LLC today and talk to Tom. We can help determine how you should respond to the debt.
If you’re wondering how bankruptcy can help you, Butcher Law Office offers a free hour-long consultation to determine if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. Call us today and schedule your free consultation.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.