Answer: Filing bankruptcy may be the best choice for you, because in bankruptcy, you can seek to discharge (forever make unenforceable against you personally) credit card debts, medical debts, many kinds of contract debts, and tort debts for negligence. Phone or email The Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC, for a free first consult, and ask our law firm whether bankruptcy is right to deal with your financial problems.
I can't make even my minimum monthly payments on my credit cards, personal loans, and medical debts, and all these creditors, and their bill collection companies, are phoning me all the time, and writing me threatening letters, saying they are going to sue me, unless I pay them, and I don't have money to pay them, what can I do?
Answer: Filing bankruptcy may be the best choice for you, to seek to discharge (forever make unenforceable against you personally) credit card debts, medical debts, many kinds of contract debts, and tort debts for negligence. Phone or email The Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC, for a free first consult, and ask our law firm whether bankruptcy is right to deal with your financial problems.
I just got sued on debts I haven't been able to pay, and I can't afford to defend the lawsuit(s), what can I do?
Answer: Filing bankruptcy may be the best choice for you. Phone or email The Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC, for a free first consult, and ask our law firm whether bankruptcy is right to deal with your financial problems. Filing bankruptcy will give you the protection of the bankruptcy automatic stay, which stays (stops) law suits to collect pre-petition debts from proceeding to judgment.
Answer: If you file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you will not lose your home unless you have more equity than the law allows you to protect. You must maintain your mortgage payments. You should first ascertain the fair market value of your home and then find out how much you owe your mortgage company. The difference between the fair market value and the mortgage balance is your equity. The homestead exemption is currently $22,975.00. If you own your house jointly with your spouse, this figures are doubled. Please call for a free consultation to determine your options regarding your home. There are various ways to save your home.
If you run the risk of losing your home, you may want to consider Chapter 13, where you do not ordinarily lose any property.
I was unemployed for a while, and got behind on my car payments, and the car lender is going to repossess my car before I can get caught up on my car payments, what can I do?
Answer: Filing bankruptcy will give you the immediate protection of the bankruptcy automatic stay, which will stay (stop) the car lender from repossessing your car, so long as the bankruptcy automatic stay is in effect; Creditors can move the Bankruptcy Judge for relief from stay, under certain circumstances. Phone or e-mail The Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC for a free first consult, so we can tell you whether filing bankruptcy may be right for you.
Answer: Yes. However, most individuals are able to rebuild their credit within a few years. If you are currently contemplating bankruptcy, then it is likely that your current credit rating has already been affected. A discharge of your current debt may provide the opportunity to rebuild your credit with steady, regular payments on a new account.
Answer: The Fair Credit Report Act, 6 U.S.C. Section 605, is the law that controls credit reporting agencies. The law states that credit reporting agencies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person’s credit report after ten years from the date the bankruptcy case is filed. Other bad credit information is removed after seven years. The larger credit reporting agencies belong to an organization called the Associated Credit Bureaus. The policy of the Associated Credit Bureaus is to remove Chapter 13 cases from the credit report after seven years to encourage debtors to file under these chapters.
Answer: By filing bankruptcy, you may be able to discharge credit card debt, medical debts, many kinds of contract debts, personal guarantees, and some kinds of tort debt (negligent torts, not intentional torts).
Answer: ‘Discharge of debt’ means that the person or business you owe the debt to can never collect the debt from you personally. Where a debt is discharged in bankruptcy, the creditor you owed the debt to is prohibited (enjoined) by the bankruptcy discharge from thereafter phoning you, writing you, suing you, or taking any other step to collect the discharged debt from you.
My car lender has a lien on my car, and my mortgage lender has a lien on my house. If I get a bankruptcy discharge, does the discharge get rid of these liens?
Answer: No, the bankruptcy discharge only gets rid of your personal liability for the debt, so the creditor can never take any step to collect the debt from you personally, including forbidding the creditor from phoning you, writing you, suing you, or taking any other step to collect the discharged debt from you. However, property does NOT get a discharge, so if the creditor has a lien on your house, your car, or some other property, the bankruptcy discharge will NOT get rid of that lien, and if you don’t pay your monthly payments on the item(s) the creditor has the lien on, the creditor will eventually be able to proceed as allowed by non-bankruptcy law to foreclose or repossess the property.
Answer: The Bankruptcy Court issues the discharge to the Chapter 7 debtor approximately 75 days after the debtor’s 341a examination date, unless within 60 days after the debtor’s first 341a meeting date, a creditor, Trustee or US Trustee has filed an adversary proceeding against the debtor, asking the Bankruptcy Court to deny the debtor a discharge.
What are the grounds for the Bankruptcy Court denying the debtor a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case?
Answer: The grounds for denying a discharge of listed in 11 USC §727. The most common grounds for denying a Chapter 7 debtor a discharge are (1) that the debtor lied on his/her Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, schedules or other pleadings filed in the bankruptcy case; or (2) that the debtor lied in the debtor’s 341a meeting, where the debtor is examined under oath by the debtor’s Chapter 7 Trustee (creditors can also ask the debtor questions under oath at the 341a meeting); or (3) that the debtor fraudulently transferred property within 1 year before filing bankruptcy; or (4) the debtor fails to supply information or documents that the Trustee requests the debtor to supply, or fails to turn over non-exempt property that the Trustee wants to sell to the Trustee, upon request of the Trustee; or (5) the debtor has already received a Chapter 7 discharge within the time period specified in Section 727, or (6) the debtor is a corporation or partnership and so is absolutely ineligible to receive any discharge in Chapter 7.
What are the grounds for a creditor asking the Court to NOT allow a particular debt(s) to be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case?
Answer: Debts for fraud, conversion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, willful and malicious acts will be held “nondischargeable” in Chapter 7 by the Bankruptcy Court if the creditor files a timely “nondischargeablitiy” adversary proceeding (law suit) against the debtor in the debtor’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, asking the Court to hold that particular debt owed to that creditor “nondischargeable” and if the creditor sustains the creditor’s burden of proving that the debt in question is a debt due to debtor having committed fraud, conversion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, or other willful and malicious act; or proves that the debt in question is a property division debt from a divorce.
Answer: Answer: Yes some kinds of debts cannot be discharged in ANY chapter (kind) of bankruptcy. The United States Congress, when it enacted the present US Bankruptcy Laws (which are the Bankruptcy Code, 11 USC §101 et seq; the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure; and case law interpreting what the Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure mean), made a policy decision that some types of debts are so important to the creditor, that those particular kinds of debts cannot be discharged in any kind (chapter) of bankruptcy. The debts which cannot be discharged in any kind of bankruptcy include alimony and child support, debts for killing or injuring a person(s) while driving drunk or drugged, certain kinds of tax debts (but there are certain other kinds of tax debts that can be discharged in one or another Chapter of bankruptcy).
Answer: “Dischargeability” of federally insured student loans (almost all student loans are federally insured) is governed by 11 USC §523(a)(8). Student loans can only be discharged in bankruptcy if it would be undue hardship on the debtor to pay those loans back over the rest of the debtor’s life. This is a very tough standard for a debtor to meet.
Answer: In Chapter 13, the debtor only receives a Chapter 13 discharge if the debtor proposes a Chapter 13 plan, the Bankruptcy Judge confirms (approves) that Chapter 13 plan, and the debtor fully performs the Chapter 13 plan, by making all the payments (usually a minimum of 36 months of payments; and a maximum of 60 months of payments. The Chapter 13 discharge, however, discharges kinds of debts-debts for fraud, conversion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, willful and malicious acts, and divorce property division debts-which are NOT dischargeable in Chapter 7, if the creditor timely complains that the debt should NOT be discharged.
What if a Chapter 13 debtor confirms a Chapter 13 plan, but then can't complete making his/her Chapter 13 plan payments, because he/she gets sick, laid off, etc.?
Answer: A debtor who cannot complete making Chapter 13 plan payments may be able to move the Court for some relief, or may be able to convert the Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7. The Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC knows the various kinds of Motions to bring in Bankruptcy Court to seek relief from the Bankruptcy Court in this situation.
Answer: A ‘petition preparer’ is a person who is NOT a lawyer, but who pretends to be qualified to fill out debtors’ bankruptcy petition documents. A very high percent of bankruptcy cases filed by ‘petition preparers’ have serious errors, which can result in the cases being dismissed, or the debtors being denied discharges, or property being sold by Chapter 7 Trustees due to errors in claiming exemptions. ‘Petition preparers’ can charge almost as much as attorneys. They are NOT allowed to appear to represent debtors at the ‘341a meeting’ (meeting with Trustee where Trustee examines the debtor under oath) or in Bankruptcy Court hearings. Only an attorney can appear with a debtor at the ‘341a meetings’ or at Bankruptcy Court hearings. Beware of using a petition preparer.
Are there additional benefits of filing bankruptcy, in addition to discharge of certain kinds of debts?
Answer: Yes, as soon as a bankruptcy is filed, the debtor in that bankruptcy gets the protection of the bankruptcy automatic stay, 11 USC §362.
Answer: So long as the bankruptcy automatic stay is in effect, the Bankruptcy automatic stay stops (prohibits) creditors from taking most actions creditors would like to take to try to enforce/collect debts the debtor owed the creditors before the debtor filed bankruptcy (called ‘pre-petition’ debts).
If the creditor is phoning and writing, the bankruptcy automatic stay stops the creditor from continuing to do so.
If the creditor has filed a law suit against you, to collect a pre-petition debt, the bankruptcy automatic stay stops the law suit from proceeding any further, even if it’s already during trial. If the creditor has gotten a judgement against you for an unpaid debt, and is garnishing your wages to collect the judgement, the bankruptcy automatic stay stops the creditor from continuing to garnish your wages.
Answer: Yes, there are 5 different kinds of bankruptcy, but 2 of the 5 kinds are very specialized. The three main kinds of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The other two kinds of bankruptcy are Chapter 12 bankruptcy, where only family farmers can be the debtor, and Chapter 9 bankruptcy, where only cities, counties or municipalities can be the debtor. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy are described below.
Answer: Chapter 7 is the simplest, fastest and least expensive for the debtor kind (Chapter) of bankruptcy, and is the only kind (Chapter) of bankruptcy where debtors do NOT have to have the Bankruptcy Judge confirm a plan of repayment (which debtors must do in Chapter 13 bankruptcy and in Chapter 11 bankruptcy), and then spend 3 or more years making monthly Chapter 13 or 11 plan payments to repay debts.
One of the most important things in a person’s Chapter 7 case is to have a competent attorney do your ‘claims of exemptions’ (Schedule C) because in Chapter 7 the Chapter 7 Trustee has a right to sell any property which is not properly claimed exempt, to get money to pay your creditors. The property that you may be allowed to exempt includes a homestead exemption on a home you own and reside in, household furniture and furnishings, some jewelry, clothing, a certain amount on an automobile or other vehicle, a ‘wild card’ exemption if you do not claim a homestead exemption. There are also detailed rules regarding pensions, IRAs and other retirement plans, which only a competent attorney will handle correctly in your bankruptcy case. Corporations can file Chapter 7 to wind up their affairs if they can’t afford to keep operating, but are NOT eligible to receive a discharge of debt in Chapter 7.
Chapter 7 is called the ‘liquidation chapter’, because if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Chapter 7 Trustee will sell (‘liquidate’) all of your non-exempt real and personal property, to try to get money to pay to the debtor’s creditors. However, the Chapter 7 Trustee does not always ‘liquidate’ (sell) the debtor’s property. If you are an individual, or a married couple, and Chapter 7 is appropriate for you, and if you hire The Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC to do your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, we will likely be able to claim all your property exempt, so the Chapter 7 Trustee will not get to sell any of your property, and you will still be eligible to seek a discharge.
If you are an individual with financial problems, or a married couple with financial problems, or have a corporation, partnership, or other business with financial problems, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best choice to deal with those financial problems. Individuals, including married couples, who file Chapter 7 to seek to discharge credit card debt, medical debt, unsecured loans, various other kinds of contract debt, deficiencies owed on repossessed vehicles and equipment, and some kinds of tort debt (negligence, not intentional torts).
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debt adjustment procedure for INDIVIDUALS ONLY, INCLUDING JOINT CASES BY HUSBANDS AND WIVES.
If you are behind (in arrears) on your mortgage payments on your home or other real property, you may be able to use Chapter 13 to keep the property from being sold in foreclosure, and be able to spread payments to pay off your mortgage arrearage over the whole life of your Chapter 13 plan of repayment, which can be 3 years, or even as long as 5 years.
If you are behind on your car payments, you may be able to use Chapter 13 to pay off the default on your car loan over the life of your Chapter 13 plan.
In addition, if you have debts for fraud, conversion, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty (those kinds of debts can be held to be ‘non dischargeable’ in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy) you can seek to discharge those kinds of debts in Chapter 13, if the Bankruptcy Judge confirms your proposed Chapter 13 plan of repayment, and you fully perform that repayment plan, in which you must make your “best efforts” to pay back a portion of those “problem” debts.
To be eligible to file Chapter 13, you must be within certain specified debt limits, and have sufficient regular income to make monthly Chapter 13 plan payments for the life of your Chapter 13 plan.
In Chapter 13, you must propose, and get the Bankruptcy Judge to approve your Chapter 13 plan, and once the plan is confirmed by the Judge, then you have to perform the plan, by making all the payments specified in the plan for the life of the plan, which is may be a minimum of 36 months (3 years) and a maximum of 60 months (5 years) depending on your income.
In Chapter 13, you only get your discharge (forgiveness of debt), if you confirm and perform your Chapter 13 plan, except under some very limited circumstances, your attorney may be able to move for and get the court to grant a so called ‘hardship discharge’, with is the same scope as a Chapter 7 discharge, if you try your best to make all your plan payments, but something happens (illness, unemployment) and you can’t finish making your plan payments after your plan is confirmed by the Bankruptcy Judge.
I'm married, and I want to file bankruptcy, but my spouse (husband/wife) refuses to file bankruptcy. Can I file bankruptcy alone, without my spouse filing bankruptcy along with me?
Answer: Yes, a husband can file bankruptcy alone, without the wife filing bankruptcy, or a wife can file bankruptcy alone, without the husband filing bankruptcy, or both spouses can file a single bankruptcy case together, which is called a joint bankruptcy case. The Law Offices of Thomas B. Baynton charges only a minimal extra fee for a joint bankruptcy case, so you basically get ‘two for the price of one.’
My Chapter 7 case was filed less than 8 years ago, and I have so many debts I can't wait until it has been more than 8 years after my first Chapter 7 case was filed to file bankruptcy again, what can I do?
Answer: You can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and seek a Chapter 13 discharge in that Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even though it has been fewer than 8 years from the date you filed Chapter 7. But you only receive a discharge in Chapter 13 if you propose a Chapter 13 plan, the Court confirms that Chapter 13 plan, and you fully perform that Chapter 13 plan.
Answer: Phone or email the Law Office of Thomas Baynton PLLC, where attorney Thomas Baynton can be your personal bankruptcy lawyer, and we will give you a FREE first consult to tell you whether or not filing bankruptcy is a valid choice for you, and what we will charge you for your basic Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy legal services at our firm.
Answer: Bankruptcy is a complicated area of the law, and requires the services of an experienced bankruptcy attorney to provide you with the most in-depth representation, legal advice, and counseling. Attorney Thomas Baynton has more than 13 years experience in bankruptcy law. He works personally on every bankruptcy done, so you can be confident that your bankruptcy will be handled competently, at a fair price, when you hire us.