Many responsible, hardworking citizens find themselves in a financial hole, overwhelmed with debt and being harassed by creditors after being hit with unexpected medical bills, job loss, or other expensive financial setbacks. Debts keep mounting, and they may be faced with foreclosure of their house, repossession of their car, having their wages garnished and their utilities shut off.
If you are in a situation where your debts have become overwhelming, the good news is that there are choices available. Bankruptcy, a legal way to have many debts forgiven, can put you on the road to financial recovery and help you regain control of your life. If you are a good candidate for bankruptcy, filing can keep creditors from harassing you and seizing your possessions, allow debts to be forgiven, and provide a way for you to keep your assets and begin to rebuild your life.
Filing for bankruptcy can be daunting, and making mistakes can be costly, but with Jerry E. Smith as your Anderson bankruptcy attorney, your can be assured that everything will be done properly and your burdens will be relieved. When you contact our firm, we will review your case by looking at your income, your debts and your goals. We will explain your options, answer your questions, and come up with a plan that’s best for you.
We offer free initial consultations of up to one hour to discuss your individual situation and determine the best way to help, and we offer weekend and evening appointments as well.
Bankruptcy is defined as a legal process that the federal government administers. The purpose is to provide debt relief to people who are in real financial trouble, typically resulting from factors like health problems, divorce, credit card debt or unemployment.
The United States Bankruptcy Code provides several ways for individuals to file bankruptcy under federal law. In addition, there are Indiana state laws that come into play. The Bankruptcy Code and state law exemptions are both available in some states, but our area requires that you use its rules when filing for bankruptcy and determining which property you will be allowed to keep.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges (eliminates) all unsecured debts, allowing you to start over financially, as these debts no longer have to be paid. This may be your best option if your income is too low to pay credit card bills, medical bills, utilities, payday loans or personal loans. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is over in a few months, so you can begin rebuilding credit quickly. There are Indiana exemptions for property that cannot be sold, so if you do not own a great deal of property, your possessions may be all be exempt, qualifying you for a “no asset” case.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to repay some or all of your debt affordably over a three- to five-year period and consolidate your payments to avoid fees and fines. This plan is best for people who don’t qualify for Chapter 7 and who have a steady income, temporary financial problems and a desire to repay some of the debt in order to keep an asset such as a car or a house. If you successfully complete the court-approved payment plan, the debts covered by the plan are discharged.
In addition, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy that provides creditor relief for people with very high income.
When you successfully complete your bankruptcy, medical bills and credit card debt can often be discharged, along with some back taxes or judgments. Generally speaking, you can’t discharge debts that are secured by collateral, such as child support or alimony, student loans, criminal fines, recent taxes or personal injury judgments.
Be aware that there are a few criteria you must meet in order to qualify. Some income criteria that can affect your ability to file include your mortgage, whether you earn too much money or if you have non-exempt assets to protect. Our bankruptcy lawyers in Anderson, IN, can help you figure out what type of bankruptcy to file for and whether you are qualified.
As bankruptcy lawyers in Anderson, IN, we understand the difficulties that can arise when deciding to file bankruptcy and ascertaining whether it’s the right choice for you. There are typically many questions when it comes to bankruptcy, and the answers below will be a good starting point to help you gather the information you need to ease your mind.
Absolutely not! When you choose to utilize property exemptions when filing for bankruptcy, you will likely not lose any assets. In many cases, you can keep your home, your car, your retirement savings, valuables and personal property. If you have non-exempt assets, you might have to opt for a different chapter for filing or explore alternatives. Ask your Anderson bankruptcy attorney for more information on those alternatives.
Yes, your house can be saved. Any foreclosure proceedings will cease once you file for bankruptcy, at least for a period of time. You must be current with your mortgage to discharge other debts. Mortgage arrears can be included in a repayment plan if you are currently behind on payments.
Once your bankruptcy petition is filed through your Anderson, IN, bankruptcy lawyer, all creditors will be subject to an automatic stay. All debt collection and legal actions must cease, including repossession, foreclosure, wage garnishment and lawsuits. Creditors can no longer contact you or harass you about your debts.
You have to declare all of your debts, and you are not allowed to repay friends, family or any other favors in the months leading up to the filing of your bankruptcy. The court will recover any preference payments.
The only case for which you and your spouse would both need to file together would be if your debts are jointly held. If the debts are in one spouse’s name, that person should file for bankruptcy separately in order to protect the credit and assets of the other spouse.
You can file for bankruptcy more than once, but keep in mind that there is a waiting period. The amount of time that must pass depends on which chapter you’ve previously filed under and what you’re seeking now.
While bankruptcy is a part of public record and there is no method to keep your filing a secret, consumer bankruptcies aren’t published in newspapers; therefore, it’s unlikely that people you know will find out inadvertently.
Despite the negative consequences, bankruptcy is an excellent opportunity to rebuild your credit if you learn to pay bills on time and live within your means. There are many people who receive new offers for credit cards within several months of filing for bankruptcy. It does, however, stay on your record for seven to ten years, but the impact lessens more and more over time.
Technically, you don’t need a lawyer, but the issue can get incredibly complicated. An Anderson bankruptcy attorney can help maximize the assets you get to keep, hasten your debt relief and anticipate any issues that could derail or delay your petition to file. It’s best to do your research to find trusted, affordable bankruptcy lawyers in Anderson, IN.
People who choose to file for bankruptcy on their own tend to have their cases dismissed once it gets over their heads.
Facing bankruptcy can be an incredibly overwhelming and difficult process to go through on your own. From dealing with complicated documentation to ensuring you are maintaining all your legal rights, you need the right representation from a qualified bankruptcy lawyer at your side.
With experience as a CPA and tax audit lawyer, Jerry E. Smith can walk you through the bankruptcy process from beginning to end. Our firm offers weekend/evening appointments as well as same day filings if possible. If you’re searching for affordable bankruptcy lawyers in Anderson, IN, schedule a free one-hour consultation by contacting us at (317) 917-8680.