Bankruptcy is rarely an easy situation. If you have questions concerning your bankruptcy and the process of filing, one of our Charlotte bankruptcy attorneys can help. We can answer your questions and provide you with the answers relevant to your specific case.
At the Law Office of Jack G. Lezman, PLLC, we are prepared to fight for your rights. The first step to any bankruptcy case is to obtain substantial information. Following, we have listed a series of commonly asked questions about bankruptcy. If your question is not found below, feel free to contact one of our attorneys to get your question answered.
For What Type of Bankruptcy Can I File?
As an individual, you can file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a complete discharge of most unsecured debts such as credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, repossessions, judgments, broken leases and even various back taxes. A Chapter 13 involves a reorganization of your debts into a repayment plan that will then be paid through the bankruptcy court. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be used to stop foreclosures, repossessions, and wage garnishments.
How Much Does It Cost to File Bankruptcy?
Although you may have legal fees, which vary between attorneys, you will also have to pay a court filing fee in order to initiate your bankruptcy. The current federal court filing fee for a Chapter 7 is $306 and the fee for a Chapter 13 is $281. Some courts have additional administrative fees that they also charge.
If you are unable to pay the bankruptcy filing fee, then you may be able to have it waived. Your Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer can help you reduce your filing fee, if you qualify.
How Does a Chapter 13 Work?
All of your debts are combined into a 3 to 5 year repayment plan through the court. These debts would include back mortgage payments, vehicle payments, credit cards, medical bills, personal loans and any other type of debts. Long-term debts such as mortgages and student loans are usually paid outside of the Chapter 13 plan. The plan payments are based on your debts and disposable income. The payment amounts are based on what you can afford to pay each month.
What If I’m Unable to Make Chapter 13 Payments?
When your payment plan was put into place, you should have considered your budget and ability to make those payments. However, things change. If you become unable to make your payments, then you should immediately contact your Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer to find out your options. You may be able to amend your Chapter 13 payment plan due to changed circumstances.
Will I Lose My House or Car if I File a Chapter 7?
When you file for bankruptcy, you are allowed to keep certain amounts of equity in certain types of property. In most cases, this means that the equity in your house and car will be protected. As your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, we will be able to examine your assets and determine whether a Chapter 7 would work best for you.
Who Can File a Chapter 7?
You must qualify to file a Chapter 7 based on your income and / or disposable income. If you cannot afford to repay your debts through a Chapter 13 plan, you will most likely qualify for a Chapter 7. Most of our clients that have wanted to file a Chapter 7 have been able to qualify to file.
What Should I Do Before I File Bankruptcy?
This Bankruptcy FAQ can help you determine what you should do before, during, and after bankruptcy. There are things that you can do before you file bankruptcy. For example, you should avoid charging anything new on your credit cards. Companies may think that you did so intentionally to have it discharged. You will also be required to take a credit counseling course within the 180 days of filing bankruptcy. You should also collect all of your necessary documents and prepare them to take to your Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer.
What If Creditors Contact Me During Bankruptcy?
A creditor may attempt to contact you during your bankruptcy while the automatic stay is in place. However, they should not be calling, emailing, or otherwise harassing you. If a creditor knowingly contacts you, thereby violating the automatic stay, then they may be liable for any harm caused. A Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer can help handle creditors during the bankruptcy process.
How Do I Know Bankruptcy Is the Best Option for Me?
Filing for bankruptcy is a personal decision and is not right for everyone. Bankruptcy law, however, was created to give those with financial difficulties a fresh start. It can help stop creditors from harassing collection efforts, stop repossessions, and stop foreclosures immediately that other options cannot, such as credit counseling.
How Will Filing Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?
Filing for bankruptcy can be reported on your credit report for up to ten years. You will still be able to qualify for most purchases after your bankruptcy such as being able to buy a house or a car. It will, however, most likely affect the interest rate you will be charged. Credit counseling repayment programs have a similar negative affect on your credit also.
Will All of My Debts Be Discharged?
Whether or not your debts are all discharged depends on the status and type of debts you have as well as your income and resources. However, there are certain types of debt that are considered “nondischargeable.” These debts can not be discharged, with few exceptions. Nondischargeable debts include
- Tax debt
- Debts not listed in your bankruptcy
- Domestic court obligations, such as child support and alimony
- Government fines or tickets
- Criminal penalties, fines, and restitution
- Student loans
Other debts, such as credit cards and medical debt, can usually be discharged. A Charlotte bankruptcy can help you determine which of your debts is dischargeable.
When Will My Debt Be Discharged?
Your eligible debt will be discharged at the end of your bankruptcy. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that means within four to six months and at the conclusion of the case. However, for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it could mean three to five years, or as long as the payment plan lasts.
What If a Creditor Says I Still Owe a Debt After Bankruptcy?
If you are contacted by a creditor after your bankruptcy has been finalized, then you should contact your attorney right away. Give the attorney the creditor’s name and telephone number as well as any other relevant information. If you do not have representation by an attorney, then you should give the creditor your bankruptcy case number and filing date. If the creditor continues to call or further contact you, call a Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer to help with the harassment.
Can My Employer Fire Me If I File Bankruptcy?
When considering bankruptcy FAQ, you may be concerned about your job. It can be embarrassing to file bankruptcy. However, you should not have to worry about your employment. The Federal Bankruptcy Code prohibits employers from firing employees solely because they filed bankruptcy. They also may not fire a person for failing to pay a debt that was discharged through bankruptcy.
Will I Ever Be Able to Get a Loan Again After Bankruptcy?
Yes. In fact you may be able to obtain car and home loans before your bankruptcy is off your credit report. Your bankruptcy will be off your report within 10 years for a Chapter 7 and within seven years if you filed Chapter 13.
Caring Counsel From a Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you would like to file for bankruptcy in Charlotte, North Carolina, it is important to get the help that you need to effectively complete the process. No matter what type of bankruptcy you qualify for, one of our Charlotte bankruptcy attorneys can help you through the process. We can answer the questions that arise throughout the course of your case.
Contact a Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer from Law the Office of Jack G. Lezman, PLLC at your earliest convenience!