Are homestead houses protected in bankruptcy?

Your homesteaded house is an exempt asset under the bankruptcy code. Therefore, it's protected so long as you pay your mortgage and your property taxes.

Are there debts that I cannot discharge through bankruptcy?

There are various debts that are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. For example, most taxes are non-dischargeable, but some taxes can be discharged depending on the circumstances. Student loans are generally non-dischargeable absent hardship and criminal penalties are non-dischargeable as well.

Can a bankruptcy filing help me get back my suspended license?

In certain circumstances a bankruptcy filing can help you get back a suspended license. For instance, where you've been in a car accident that's your fault and you don't have the proper insurance, and your license is suspended as a result. If you file a bankruptcy you can get your license reinstated.

Can I discharge medical bills in bankruptcy?

The good news is medical bills are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Unfortunately, medical bills are a major reason that drive people into bankruptcy attorneys' offices nationwide.

Can I get bankruptcy relief from my student loans?

Generally student loans are non-dischargeable, which means absent a hardship your student loans survive a bankruptcy and you must repay them. A hardship is very difficult to prove so if you have facts and circumstances that you think amount to a hardship, it's important that you discuss these facts with your attorney.

Can I get credit after bankruptcy?

Yes, you can get credit after filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy actually helps repair your credit because all the old bad debt is discharged and you have a new life before you so your lenders should be looking at your income to debt ratio and how you've handled your debt since filing the bankruptcy.

Can I keep my car if I file for bankruptcy?

If you're making payments on your car and wish to continue to do so you'll be able to keep your car in a bankruptcy. If you own your car outright, and you have significant equity, talk to your lawyer about the various options you have when filing bankruptcy.

Can I lose my IRA, 401k, or other retirement accounts in bankruptcy?

IRA, 401ks and other retirement accounts are exempt assets in bankruptcy. Therefore, you get to keep those when you file a bankruptcy. If you're thinking about liquidating those accounts in an attempt to pay your debt and prevent filing bankruptcy, please consult with an attorney before doing so.

Can I repay debts owed to relatives before filing for bankruptcy?

Generally, you should not repay debts to relatives before filing a bankruptcy. However, there are certain limited circumstances where repaying a relative is appropriate. You should discuss your particular circumstances with your lawyer.

Does a previous bankruptcy prevent me from filing for bankruptcy again?

A previous bankruptcy may not prevent you from filing a bankruptcy again. Usually if you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must wait eight years before filing another Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, during those eight years you may be able to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, so discuss this matter with an attorney if you feel that you need to file bankruptcy again.

Does my spouse have to file bankruptcy with me?

Your spouse does not have to file bankruptcy with you. However, if the debts are joint debts, your spouse should certainly speak with your attorney as well to determine if it's appropriate for them to file at the same time.

How does my divorce affect my bankruptcy?

Generally that would depend on whether you're in the process of getting a divorce or you're already divorced. If you're in the process of getting divorced, you should discuss with your soon to be ex-spouse whether the two of you should file together, which would address the issue of marital debt in the bankruptcy. You'd be killing two birds with one stone. However, if your divorce is already finalized, the bankruptcy should have no effect on support obligations or equitable distribution of marital property and marital debt in most circumstances.

How do I choose a bankruptcy attorney?

When choosing a bankruptcy attorney, you should first look at the attorney's qualifications and experience. You should also make sure that you get along with that attorney so that your personalities don't clash. Another important thing to consider is can you get that lawyer on the phone. The biggest complaint clients have nationwide year after year about their attorney is that they never return their phone messages, so communication between an attorney and their client is important as well.

How do I determine if I should file for bankruptcy?

That's a difficult question, but usually I ask my clients, if you would stop using your credit cards today, would you be able to payoff all of your debt in a reasonable amount of time, without ...

I am thinking of filing for bankruptcy. Should I file before or after I file for divorce?

In determining whether you should file for bankruptcy before or after you file your divorce, you should discuss unique circumstances of your situation with your attorney. Then you probably should have a conversation with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to determine whether you should file bankruptcy together before the divorce is final. This way, joint marital debt may be discharged and that would be one less issue to deal with in the divorce.

I declared bankruptcy before. When can I file again?

Usually, when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eight years must pass before you can file another one. However, during those eight years, you may be able to qualify for a Chapter 13 filing. You need to talk to your lawyer about your particular circumstances in order to determine what is appropriate for you.

I do not have much money. Why should I hire a bankruptcy attorney instead of filing myself?

The main reason to hire an attorney when filing bankruptcy is convenience. A lawyer has the education, training, and experience to walk you through the bankruptcy process and can also identify and discuss with you the various issues that may arise in your bankruptcy. If you don't have a lot of money to hire an attorney, it's a good idea to speak to several attorneys and see if one or more of them will work with you to make the bankruptcy more affordable to you.

Is there any advantage to paying some of my creditors?

Depending on the circumstances, there may be an advantage to paying some of your creditors. For instance, if you want to keep your car and have car payments to be made, make those car payments. If you owe the government taxes, discuss the issue with your attorney to determine if those taxes are dischargeable or non-dischargeable. If they're non-dischargeable, it's a good idea to go ahead and pay the government.

What do I have to disclose about my finances in a bankruptcy filing?

Short answer is you have to disclose everything about your finances in a bankruptcy. You have to list all of your assets and all of your debts. You have to list your income and your monthly expenses as well.

What if I cannot afford a bankruptcy attorney?

If you can't afford a bankruptcy attorney you're certainly free to file a bankruptcy on your own. However, that may prove difficult to you. You can also contact various attorneys to see if an attorney will work with you in order to make the bankruptcy more affordable.

What if I want to pay some of my creditors?

You can pay some of your creditors while filing a bankruptcy, but the question is: Why would you want to pay those creditors? If it's a situation such as a car loan, you would want to reaffirm your debt, meaning you sign an agreement to continue paying on that car loan, so that you're able to keep the car. However, any debt that can go away in bankruptcy you should let go away in bankruptcy.

What is a 341 hearing?

The 341 hearing is also referred to as the meeting of creditors. The meeting of creditors usually happens around 30 days after you file your bankruptcy. The meeting of creditors is nothing to be nervous about, nothing to stress over and certainly nothing to sleep over. You're in and out in about 5 minutes and you're answering questions that you should know the answers to because they're about you.

What other assets are protected in bankruptcy?

There's a variety of assets that are protected in bankruptcy. These are referred to as exempt assets. Exemptions include your homestead, so if you're current with your payments and you want to stay there, just continue to make your payments, and you should be able to keep your home. You have a certain amount of personal property that's exempt as well. Personal property is your money and your stuff. Your 401-K, IRAs and most retirement plans are exempt as well, and you have a certain amount of equity in a vehicle. There are other exemptions that apply under the bankruptcy code, so you should talk to your lawyer about everything you own, to determine whether those assets are exempt.

What should I wear to the 341 hearing?

You should wear comfortable clothes to your 341 hearing. It's important not to look like you've just rolled out of bed, but anything that's comfortable. It can be casual. You don't have to wear a tie. You don't have to wear a dress. You can just dress comfortably.

Will bankruptcy remove a lien?

There are certain situations where bankruptcy will remove a lien. For instance, if there is a judgment lien against your homestead, a motion to avoid judgment lien can be filed in your bankruptcy case, stripping that lien from your house. However, if you have a lien on your vehicle and want to keep the vehicle, the lien will not be stripped and you'll have to pay for the vehicle. If you cannot pay for the vehicle, you can surrender it to the creditor and the lien will be removed because the debt will be discharged.

Will bankruptcy stop a judgement?

Generally, bankruptcies do stop judgements. They stop a creditor from obtaining a judgement. If a judgement has already been entered, it provides relief, meaning the judgement goes away.

Will bankruptcy stop wage garnishments?

Bankruptcy will absolutely stop wage garnishments. Once your bankruptcy is filed, the wage garnishment must stop immediately. However, any payments that have already been garnished from your paycheck prior to the filing of your bankruptcy, you will lose. Any payments garnished from your paycheck after you file your bankruptcy should be refunded to you.

Will I lose my assets if I file for chapter 7?

Certain assets are exempt under the bankruptcy code and you won't lose those assets. Assets such as your homestead, a certain amount of personal property (personal property's your money and your stuff), your retirement plans (401Ks, IRAs, pensions, other retirement plans), and a certain amount of equity in your vehicle are exempt from creditors. There are other assets that are exempt as well. If you have more assets than the ones that I have listed, please discuss them with your attorney so you can determine what you're able to keep.

Will I lose my house in a bankruptcy?

Generally, you will not lose your house in a bankruptcy. Your home is protected as an exception when you file bankruptcy. As long as you're current with your mortgage payments and continue to make those payments, you should be able to keep your home.

Will my creditors stop harassing me if I file for bankruptcy?

The good news is yes, your creditors will stop harassing you once you file bankruptcy. An automatic bankruptcy state goes into effect the moment your bankruptcy is filled, which prevents creditors from continuing to try to collect on debts.