Financial stress can be relieved by declaring bankruptcy to regain control of your life. With Jerry E. Smith as your Brownsville bankruptcy attorney, you can ensure that the bankruptcy process is accessible to you. In addition to offering free initial consultations of up to one hour, we offer weekend and evening appointments to help you regain your peace of mind.
Federal bankruptcy courts are governed by federal law. State laws are allowed to be established regarding property that residents are allowed to keep when they file with a Brownsville bankruptcy attorney under the United States Bankruptcy Code. These items are called “exempt property.” 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 with a Brownsville bankruptcy attorney.
As bankruptcy lawyers in Brownsville, 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.
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.
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. Bankruptcy lawyers in Brownsville, IN, can help you figure out if you’re qualified or not.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges all unsecured debts, allowing you to start over financially. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to repay a portion of your debts over a period of three to five years. If you have a very high income, Chapter 11 bankruptcy may provide you with creditor relief.
You don’t technically need a lawyer, but the issue can get incredibly complicated. A Brownsville 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 Brownsville, IN.
People who choose to file for bankruptcy on their own tend to have their cases dismissed once it gets over their heads.
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 Brownsville 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 in most situations. 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.
Medical bills and credit card debt can often be discharged, along with some back taxes or judgments. Some unsecured debts, such as child support or alimony, student loans, criminal fines, recent taxes, and personal injury judgments, are only dischargeable in some cases.
Once your bankruptcy petition is filed through your Brownsville, 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 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.
Bankruptcy is meant to be a one-time fresh start. However, sometimes lightning does strike twice in the same place. Financial storms, like divorce, serious illness, and job loss, often affect families more than once. Multiple filings could affect the Automatic Stay, which stops creditor adverse actions, as well as debt discharge provisions.
The Automatic Stay rules vary in different jurisdictions. Usually, if the debtor has filed once in the past six months, Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code takes full effect, if a Brownsville, IN, bankruptcy lawyer files the correct paperwork. Multiple prior filings within that six-month window usually have a more profound effect on the Automatic Stay. Your attorney can fill you in on the details.
As for debt discharge, a waiting period applies. The length depends on the type of bankruptcy filed previously as well as the current type of bankruptcy. Usually, this waiting period is between three and seven years. However, even if a repeat filer is ineligible for a discharge, the other benefits of bankruptcy, such as the Automatic Stay, usually apply.
Bankruptcy filings are public record. So, everyone has access to such information, if they know where to look and they have the inclination to look. But most people don’t know how to search bankruptcy filing records. Moreover, quite frankly, most people don’t care about bankruptcy filings, unless the debtor is a millionaire or a public figure.
People who look at your credit history report, such as lenders and creditors, will know that you filed bankruptcy. The filing usually remains on a report for seven years. Being upfront is usually the best way to deal with these situations. Before a bank, landlord, or other person runs your credit history, tell the person about your prior bankruptcy filing. If you have a reasonable explanation for your filing, most people are satisfied. If they refuse to do business with you because of the filing, don’t take it personally, and remember that there are other banks in town.
Incidentally, it is illegal to discriminate against people simply because they filed bankruptcy. Indiana has very strong laws in this area.
A persistent myth is that filing bankruptcy “ruins” your credit. These filings lower your credit score. But the effect is usually not that bad, especially since most people who file bankruptcy already have very poor credit.
On a related note, a bankruptcy filing, especially a Chapter 13 filing, looks better on a credit report than information like repossession and foreclosure. Such entries usually mean the debtor quit. If you file bankruptcy, at least you did something.
More to the point, a Brownsville, IN, bankruptcy lawyer helps you rebuild your credit score. Attorneys usually refer former debtors to banks that work with people who have damaged credit. Responsibly using credit, like obtaining a secured credit card and paying off the balance every month, is an excellent strategy.
Additionally, simply paying bills on time, especially secured debts, raises your credit score. We normally recommend that former debtors build a financial reserve on house payments, car payments, and other secured debts by making thirteen payments a year instead of twelve. Most people don’t miss the extra $50 or $100 per month, and these additional payments add up quickly.
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. If you’re searching for affordable bankruptcy lawyers in Brownsville, IN, schedule a free one-hour consultation by contacting us at (317) 917-8680.