Financial stress can be relieved by declaring bankruptcy to regain control of your life. With Jerry E. Smith as your Claremont 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 Claremont 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 Claremont bankruptcy attorney.
As bankruptcy lawyers in Claremont, 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 Claremont, 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 Claremont 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 Claremont, 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 Claremont 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.
Generally, unsecured debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. This category includes obligations like:
Some unsecured debts are priority unsecured debts that are only dischargeable in some situations. Student loans are one example. Usually, student loan forgiveness is available if the debtor has an undue hardship that prevents repayment. Different courts define an “undue hardship” in different ways. Other priority unsecured debts include back taxes and FSOs (family support obligations).
Most people who have high unsecured debts file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As a rule of thumb, if your unsecured debts exceed 10 percent of your annual income, it’s almost impossible to repay them outside of bankruptcy.
Absolutely not. As soon as debtors file their voluntary petitions, the Automatic Stay takes effect, at least in most cases. Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code bars creditor adverse actions against debtors, such as:
The Automatic Stay has only a limited effect if the debtor filed bankruptcy within the previous six months. This limit could apply even if the debtor filed as a corporate entity or under another name.
In fact, the Automatic Stay technically forbids creditors from contacting debtors. Therefore, this section of the Bankruptcy Code could have some unintended effects. For example, many creditors suspend ACH payment arrangements and stop sending monthly statements. Additionally, if the debtor is involved in a divorce or other legal action which has financial effects, the Automatic Stay could suspend that legal action.
Fundamentally, most people file bankruptcy to reclaim control over their own finances. People who owe more than they can pay often feel like they are caught in a downward spiral with no end. The benefits of bankruptcy, such as the aforementioned Automatic Stay and debt discharge, put individuals and families back into the financial driver’s seat.
Reaffirmation agreements are part of this control. Claremont, IN, bankruptcy lawyers prepare these agreements for people who want to keep paying certain debts, such as a car note or monthly internet service provider contract. This process also gives your lawyer a chance to negotiate more favorable terms, such as a lower interest rate. Creditors know that if they don’t make a good deal, the debtor could walk away from the obligation, leaving the creditor with practically nothing.
Once again, filing bankruptcy is about regaining personal control. As a result, there are few rules regarding who must file, as long as the individual meets minimum legal qualifications.
Frequently, unsecured debts are only in one spouse’s name. If that’s the case, there is little or no reason for both spouses to file bankruptcy. Many Claremont, IN, bankruptcy lawyers recommend individual filings for strategic purposes. This approach could maximize the home equity exemption in many cases.
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.
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 Claremont, IN, schedule a free one-hour consultation by contacting us at (317) 917-8680.