Experienced Bankruptcy LawyersBankruptcy is a complex topic, and there is no one solution for everyone. Declaring bankruptcy can offer debt relief and is something to consider if you are in severe financial distress.
Chapter 7 BankruptcyThe most common type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7, is available to individuals, married couples, corporations and partnerships. It seeks to discharge unsecured debts, which means that creditors can no longer take action to collect those debts and you will not have to repay them. Chapter 7 is a liquidation proceeding, meaning any nonexempt assets are sold or liquidated by the trustee and distributed to creditors according to the federal Bankruptcy Code.
Chapter 13 BankruptcyChapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan available only to individuals. It is often used by people with higher incomes or more assets such as a home. There are income and debt restrictions on filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and our personal bankruptcy lawyers can help navigate the rules to decide if this is the right option for you.
Some Debts Cannot Be DischargedNo matter what type of bankruptcy you choose, certain debts cannot be discharged. These debts include:
- Fraudulently obtained debts
- Alimony, maintenance and child support
- Debts for willful or malicious injury to another person or property
- Government educational loans
- Debts from death or personal injury caused by drunk driving
- Debts incurred post-bankruptcy
Will My Creditors Stop Harassing me When I File?Yes, they will! By law, all actions against a debtor must cease once the bankruptcy documents are filed. Creditors cannot initiate or continue any lawsuits, wage garnishees, or even telephone calls demanding payments. Secured creditors such as banks holding a lien on a car, will get the stay lifted if you cannot make payments.
If I File Bankruptcy Will My Friends and Family Find out?This is a common question, because obviously a decision to file bankruptcy is difficult. Bankruptcy filings are public documents, but in order to access a person must have a pacer account, which would be uncommon for a non-lawyer. Many people are familiar with the Community Newspapers running police reports, criminal and civil court cases. This is not the case in bankruptcy. If you are in Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant, Pendleton, Bracken or Gallatin Counties and want to learn how bankruptcy may help you, please call Brandon N. Voelker at (859) 781-9100 or (859) 824-3361, for a free consultation.
How Difficult Will It be to File Chapter 7 Under the New Bankruptcy Laws?There has been much doom and gloom written about the bankruptcy means test under the new laws and how much more difficult it’s going to be to file Chapter 7. It’s true that there are more hoops to jump through under the new laws, and it’s true that the bankruptcy test will result in some people having to file chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7. However, for the vast majority of filers, Chapter 7 is still available with very little extra effort!
When Will I Be Discharged from Bankruptcy?One of the major purposes of bankruptcy legislation is to afford the opportunity to a person hopelessly burdened with debt to erase his or her debt and thereby get a fresh financial start. A bankrupt’s debt is erased when he or she is discharged. The debtor is discharged 3 – 5 months after bankruptcy is filed. At that time all debts (with some exceptions) are written off.
Can I Lower My House Payment in Bankruptcy?Sometimes. In the event you have a second mortgage that exceeds the fair market value of your home, you may be able to strip off the lien in a Chapter 13. For example, if you have a $100,000 home, with a $100,000 first mortgage and $50,000 second mortgage, the second mortgage may be able to be stripped off.
Home Loan ModificationI get calls daily from people who are seeking a home loan modification. Unfortunately, most lenders are not properly administering Federal and/or State programs for which they were given money by the government during the bank bailout. I always joke, there is no way that everyone who calls my office made up the same story, the facts are that the banks are telling their customers inaccurate information. If you are told that you must be late on payments to get a loan modification, you are being told inaccurate information. Many times though, people are told this and feel they must miss payments to begin the process of seeking a loan modification. The problem is that everyone that contacts my office seems to get the same runaround, i.e. not enough information was sent in, we need to update your information, etc… What happens is that a person falls so far behind and their home is in foreclosure. I have seen countless letters advising the modification cannot be given and/or there is simply not enough time to process, while your home is ready to be sold at the courthouse steps. Unfortunately, the only way to ensure you will not lose your home is to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but you will have to pay all back payments on your home during the Chapter 13 plan period. It is paid back interest-free. Waiting too long, while being told your loan is in review, many times places a homeowner in such a large hole the cannot financially afford to make both the Chapter 13 plan payment to catch up loan and maintain current payments. There is nothing that prohibits a person from continuing to seek a loan modification while in bankruptcy, your personal bankruptcy lawyer will advise the Court and seek approval if you are granted a modification. The issue is too not get too far behind to wear financially the problem cannot be fixed.
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Jack Gatlin does an amazing job of helping his clients navigate through difficult legal/litigation situations. He understands that people need not only legal advice, but often times emotional support as well. It was my first experience with the legal system, and he has been a great counselor and guide. I recommend his services without reservation!
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