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Useful Links and Interesting Information About Filing For Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Frequently Asked Questions About Filing For Bankruptcy

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is relief provided by the federal government that allows people and businesses to get a fresh
start financially. Bankruptcy provided for the discharge of unsecured debts and the restructuring of
secured debts. Bankruptcy stops collection procedures such as garnishments, foreclosures,
repossessions, tax forfeitures, lawsuits, judgments, and any other collection activities.

What should I do when I can no longer pay my debts?

Consult an attorney for legal direction. We are available and can be reached by phone at 256-617-7115
or by email at plevalaw@gmail.com. If your attorney suggests you need to file bankruptcy, stop using
your credit cards. DO NOT transfer any assets to anyone. Do not try to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul”
– that eventually leads you to the situation where they are both broke and both want to come after you.

Do I have to stop using ALL credit cards?

There are some cases that you may be able to keep some credit cards, but only if the creditor agrees.

Does my husband/wife have to file?

NO. If the debts remain in only one name, then there will be no need for the other to file. If a debt is
joint, a creditor can, however, collect on the non-filing spouse after the case is over.
Who will find out about my bankruptcy? Can I keep this confidential from my landlord and employer?
While bankruptcy petitions are public records, usually employers or landlords will not find out you filed.

How do I get started?

Give us a call at 256-617-7115 or email us at plevalaw@gmail.com to schedule an appointment to come
and meet with us. We offer appointment times convenient to your schedule either at our office or we
can meet over your computer using video conference services such as Skype, Google Talk, or iMessage.
We try to make the process as easy and convenient as possible. Please feel free to give us a call and we
can let you know how to get started.

What information should I bring to my first appointment?

We have a Client Questionnaire which we like for you to fill out at the initial meeting. We will need your
recent pay stubs along with income tax returns from the past two years, as well as a copy of your
driver’s license/social security card. While it is not essential for you to bring all of these things to the first
appointment, the more information you bring, the better advice I can give you.
Before the case can be filed, there may be some other documents I will need to see, such things include:
All of the bills you owe, even the ones you wish to pay (including student loans). We will often need the
following items:

  • Mailing address, account number and the amount you owe for each of your creditors
  • Copies of recent paystubs or other income information
  • Copies of the last two years of income tax returns, including w2s
  • Six months of recent bank statements
  • Copy of all vehicle/mobile home titles
  • Copy of all judgments/lawsuits pending or closed in the past year
  • Copy of recorded mortgage
  • Declaration page of insurance on house and vehicle

What are the advantages of bankruptcy?

Information on filing for bankruptcy can be very misleading and the advantages outweigh the risks in
most cases. First and foremost, all of your debts will be discharged. This means that your creditors will
not be able to continue to collect on the debts you are claiming. They will not be able to call you about
past due payments, garnish your wages or continue a lawsuit. Quite simply, they will never be able to
get any money from you regarding the debts which you owed them.
Also, if you have a secured debt such as a car loan or furniture loan with a high-interest rate, we may be
able to restructure that debt and lower your interest rate and monthly payments. In some instances, we
may be able to lower the amount that you owe them. If you have a mortgage that you are behind on
and facing foreclosure or property tax forfeiture, filing for Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 can restructure
those debts and prevent you from losing your home.

What are the disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy? I have heard that it will prevent me from getting
credit for 7 to 10 years. Is this true?

Filing Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7-10 years. However, anything that is reported on
your credit stays on there for that long. The important thing is that the bankruptcy discharge will
eliminate all of the debts from your credit report. This makes creditors more likely to approve you for
loans in the future. Most people are able to get financing for loans, car loans, and even mortgages
within 1-2 years of filing for bankruptcy. This will make your credit better immediately. This also makes
creditors more likely to approve you for loans in the future.

Will I have to appear in court?

In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, you will have to attend a hearing approximately four to six weeks
after filing. While this hearing is called the First Meeting of Creditors, it is conducted by a Bankruptcy
Trustee and it is most common for most of the creditors to not show up. This hearing is for the trustee
and your creditors to discuss and ask questions any questions they may have regarding your income,
expenses, assets, and other matters.

Can I still file if I’ve received a Notice of Foreclosure?

As long as the bankruptcy case is filed before the foreclosure sale, the foreclosure can be stopped and
you can save your home. In Chapter 13, we can prepare a plan which allows you time to bring the
payments current.

Are all debts discharged?

Almost all debts are dischargeable, typically the main categories of debts that are usually not discharged
are:

  • Child support
  • Student loans

Some tax debts (Most personal income taxes can be discharged and all restructured through Chapter 13)
Debts occurred from fraud debts for personal injury or death that was caused by driving under the
influence.

I have more questions about bankruptcy or want to get the bankruptcy process started.
Please call us at 256-617-7115, or e-mail us at plevalaw@gmail.com. We are more than happy to answer
any questions you may have and provide you with all the bankruptcy filing information you
need.

Disclaimer
The information enclosed on this page is not to be assembled as legal advice and does not create an
attorney-client relationship. Bankruptcy law is very complex, and you must always consult an attorney
before taking any action.

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