It is a common misconception that filing for bankruptcy leads to the eventual loss of everything you own and a gradual decline into total financial ruin. On television and in movies we see bankruptcy depicted as the absolute rock bottom of businesses and individuals; the dramatic end to profit and success. Overall, bankruptcy has been depicted as a synonym for the worst possible outcome. Many popular myths surround bankruptcy, but few of them are true. The result of these misconceptions is that many people are deterred from pursuing bankruptcy when their situations might otherwise have been dramatically improved.
In reality, bankruptcy allows a person to take the first step toward moving forward with a clean slate, unencumbered by the pressure of pre-existing debt. Filing for bankruptcy allows the debtor to come up with a precise plan for repaying debt. Individuals, businesses, and even couples can all file for bankruptcy by filing a petition with the bankruptcy court which is then passed on to the federal courts and determined using the rules outlined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
There are many types of bankruptcies, which are usually referred to by their chapter in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Cities, towns, and school districts looking to file for a reorganization might file under Chapter 9, while corporate entities looking to file would do so under Chapter 11. The Law Offices of Joseph G. Pleva specialize in Chapters 7 and 13.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to develop a plan to repay your debts in installments over three to five years. Those who are at risk of losing their homes or vehicles due to foreclosure or repossession, those who have equity in a home or other property that wish to protect that equity, those with income tax or student loan debt, and anyone owing criminal fines, traffic tickets, or past-due child support might benefit from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 filing is most often used by those looking to eliminate credit card bills, personal loans, medical bills, and certain tax debts. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy has more specific criteria regarding income. In order to be eligible, their income minus reasonable expenses must result in nothing left to pay creditors. Those not eligible for Chapter 7 relief may qualify under Chapter 13 instead by proposing a bankruptcy plan to pay back only what they can afford.
In short, the inner workings of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code are varied and complex, making professional help a crucial component of navigating the process. Experience shows that those who choose to retain an attorney specializing in consumer bankruptcy are more likely to have successful cases. Seeking the advice of a qualified lawyer such as Huntsville bankruptcy attorney Joseph Pleva is the first step to recovering your financial freedom.
By investing in a trained professional, the long-term financial and legal consequences of bankruptcy can be mitigated. The short-term financial implications are what most often hinder clients from getting started. If you are already struggling to stay afloat, the added expense of an attorney might seem like a big challenge to overcome. What you might not realize is that getting started is free and easy. At the Law Offices of Joseph G. Pleva, we offer a free initial consultation to anyone who’s interested. During your free consultation, we determine what your situation is, how we can best help you, and what your fee will be based on the complexity of your case.
Additionally, we offer our clients the option of utilizing an affordable payment plan for paying the attorney fees over time. Clients filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Huntsville are traditionally charged a one-time flat fee for representation and the fee is determined by the complexity of the case. In addition to the fees for our services, clients are expected to pay the Bankruptcy Court a filing fee of $335 for Chapter 7. Though this fee is often expected up front, we can request the court allow you to pay in installments over 3-4 months after filing. In some cases, the fee can be waived all together.
In Huntsville, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is slightly more complicated and the Bankruptcy Court determines the flat fee for representation. However, the court allows the vast majority of the fees, including the court filing fee, to be paid as part of the repayment plan. At the Law Offices of Joseph G. Pleva, we only ask for a small deposit at the time of filing. As we navigate the specifics of your case and its associated fees, we will remain in constant communication with you about your options for paying in manageable installments. We believe cost should never deter you from receiving the help you need.
In addition to the financial implications, it is important to understand and recognize the benefits and side effects of filing for bankruptcy and how they might impact you. As mentioned previously, it isn’t always true that you will lose everything when you file for bankruptcy. As long as you don’t have too much equity in your home and your mortgage is current, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to keep your home. If you do have a significant amount of equity in your home or are facing foreclosure, you might consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which will allow you additional options.
Bankruptcy is also a great way to keep bad credit from getting worse. Individuals filing for bankruptcy often already have high debt to income ratios and are therefore perceived as high risk and not creditworthy. While it may take six months to a year to start to see improvement, credit scores often greatly increase after bankruptcy. Credit score improvement will give you the freedom to incur necessary debts, such as financing for cars, homes, and emergencies. While it is wise to tread carefully when beginning to incur debt again, there are some debts that are simply necessary to modern life. Freeing yourself of the burden of pre-existing debt will allow you to move forward comfortably and responsibly.
You should also take into consideration how your filing will impact others. If you have cosigners that helped you get credit for your bankruptcy debt, they may or may not be protected depending on the type of bankruptcy. If you would like more information about how your cosigners might be impacted in your situation, please contact us.
Having an experienced attorney who specializes in Consumer Bankruptcy on your side can help you feel safe, secure, and prepared while traversing the huge step of filing for bankruptcy. A practiced attorney is familiar with the trustees and judge appointed to your case, can make predictions about how creditors will respond to your filing, and can help you traverse the unknown as your case continues. Bankruptcy can be a complicated and overwhelming system to navigate, making it important that you start the process with expert representation. With years of experience and thousands of bankruptcy cases to draw experience from, Joseph G. Pleva can be your local bankruptcy lawyer in north Alabama.
Finally, it’s important to understand that filing for bankruptcy is not a bad thing. The process was established as a valid and responsible option for people who—usually through circumstances outside of their control—find themselves unable to repay debts. The court refers to these people as “honest and unfortunate” debtors because many good, honest, and hardworking people will find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to take this step at some point in their lives. With the right counsel, bankruptcy can be extremely manageable and open the door to a fresh start. Joseph G. Pleva is an experienced Huntsville bankruptcy filing attorney who can help you reclaim your credit, your financial independence, and your future.