Understanding the Bankruptcy Process
If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy, you’ve come to the right place.
Bankruptcy is a powerful tool designed to help people get out of debt. It’s a simple process that comes with a lot of advantages.
But understandably, a lot of people have questions about bankruptcy, especially as they decide on whether or not to file. You may wonder whether you qualify, what will be required of you, how much it costs, and whether it’s worth it in the end.
Our Memphis bankruptcy attorneys have helped thousands of people get out of debt through bankruptcy. For over 30 years, we’ve prided ourselves on being available to answer any question. With our team at your side, you can always feel confident and empowered in your journey to get out of debt.
The decision to file for bankruptcy isn’t always easy, but the process certainly can be. And it can make a huge impact on your life. We know, because we see it happen every day for our clients.
The Basics of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
There are two main types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both have the power of the courts behind them. And as a result, they both stop creditor harassment, wage garnishment, and any lawsuits against you.
Choosing a bankruptcy chapter will depend on your financial situation, the type of debt you have, and your goals.
In Chapter 13, you set up a payment plan with the courts that’s designed totally around your financial situation. You pay off this payment plan over time, which allows you to keep certain assets. With Chapter 7, you can clear all of your unsecured debts, like credit card bills, medical debt, and more. It moves more quickly, and often allows you to keep your assets as well.
In addition, we offer a free consultation to discuss each of these options with you and let you know which chapter of bankruptcy is the best fit for your situation.
Filing Bankruptcy: How to Get Started
If you’re wondering whether bankruptcy might be right for you, your next step is to consult with an attorney.
Our Memphis bankruptcy lawyers offer a free consultation, no strings attached. At that meeting, we cover some of the most important things you need to know about bankruptcy. For example:
- Do you qualify for bankruptcy at this point?
- What bankruptcy chapter is best for you and your situation?
- How much does is cost in terms of time and money?
- And so much more
This free appointment is the best opportunity to ask all of your questions. We pride ourselves in communicating well with our clients from the very beginning. It’s how we’ve won multiple awards for client satisfaction.
Some of the questions that we get a lot relate to life after bankruptcy. You might be worried about getting a new car, improving your credit, getting a job, and more. To help with those questions, we’ve published a free report called “Life After Bankruptcy.”
No matter what your concern, we’re here to help. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team can give you all the information you need to feel confident in your decision.
Get Answers to Your Questions About Filing for Bankruptcy
If you have questions or are considering bankruptcy, our Memphis bankruptcy attorneys would love to talk with you.
We consider it a privilege to make filing for bankruptcy a smooth and simple process. And we make sure to communicate with you every step of the way.
That’s how we’ve become known across Memphis for our high-quality care at no additional cost.
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Frequently Asked Questions | Filing for Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy can seem at first like a complex and overwhelming process, but it offers a path to financial freedom.
As you consider this important decision, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about how bankruptcy works. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about filing for bankruptcy. As always, you can contact us with your questions as well.
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to provide individuals and businesses with relief from overwhelming debt. Because it’s written into the law, it means you’re protected by the legal system. So unlike other forms of debt relief, like negotiating or refinancing, bankruptcy can’t be reversed if the creditor changes their mind.
While it may sound complicated, bankruptcy is simply a tool to keep people from living their entire lives in debt. It was enacted by Congress and continues to be overseen by federal and state governments. It’s an extremely common solution to an extremely common problem.
Is filing for bankruptcy morally wrong?
Many people don’t know that bankruptcy as a concept was actually developed based on the laws of Jubilee in the Old Testament. In fact, for nearly all of human history, societies have created different ways to help people in debt. So bankruptcy is not only morally acceptable, but it’s built on the ethos of almost every major world religion. It’s one of the only ways for people to get a fresh start if they want to build a more responsible financial life.
I feel so strongly about this topic that I’ve studied it for years. My research resulted in my writing a paper called “What Does the Bible Say About Debt?” In this free report, which is our most popular across our whole site, I discuss common fears around the moral question of bankruptcy using a Biblical perspective.
What type of bankruptcy do I need?
The answer to this question is, like so many legal questions, that it depends on your situation.
The most common types of bankruptcy for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of assets to pay off debts, while Chapter 13 creates a repayment plan to manage debts over a specific period.
It’s easy to make certain assumptions about these bankruptcy chapters. For example, a lot of people assume that Chapter 7 will require them to give up their home or car. This isn’t always the case. Other people assume they qualify for both kinds of bankruptcy when they might not for a number of reasons.
That’s why it’s best to consult with an attorney before making any major decisions about what kind of bankruptcy you want or need.
Will bankruptcy erase all my debts?
Bankruptcy can eliminate many types of unsecured debts, like credit card debt and medical bills. It stops wage garnishment, creditor harassment, and debt-related lawsuits. Chapter 13 in particular stops repossession and foreclosure.
Certain debts like student loans, child support, and recent taxes may not be dischargeable. However, if you have significant debts of different kinds, you may find that getting out of most other debt gives you the financial freedom to pay these remaining ones.
Will bankruptcy stop creditor calls and collection efforts?
Yes, once you file for bankruptcy, something called an “automatic stay” goes into effect. This is a court order that halts creditor collection efforts, including phone calls, letters, and lawsuits.
And in fact, if a creditor contacts you after the automatic stay is in place, you are free to tell them to speak to your lawyer. They should not be contacting you over any debt moving forward.
Can I keep my house and car if I file for bankruptcy?
Generally speaking, if someone desperately wants or needs to keep their home or car, there is often a way to do so through bankruptcy. That said, it often isn’t the best thing for your future goals. It all depends so much on your individual situation.
When you come in to speak with us for the first time at your free consultation, we’ll talk about your assets. This includes what kind of bankruptcy you want to file, the equity you have in your assets, your goals moving into the future, and your ability to continue making payments.
Using this information, will let you know all of your options and help you make a decision you feel good about.
How does bankruptcy affect my credit score?
Many people worry about bankruptcy hurting their credit score. It’s one of the most common reasons people avoid bankruptcy longer than they should.
Bankruptcy does impact your credit score, and it will stay on your credit report for several years. However, if you’re already to the point where you’re considering bankruptcy, you likely are dealing with problems in your credit already. If you already have low credit, one of the best things you can do is get out of debt. This gives you a clean slate from which you can start rebuilding your credit again.
We’ve actually helped some clients get back to an excellent credit rating in one year, even after a bankruptcy. It takes some planning and effort, but you can rebuild your credit without the anchor of debt that you have right now.
So based on our experience of over 30 years helping people in Memphis file bankruptcy, we recommend not letting fears over your credit score determine whether or not you need bankruptcy in the first place.
Can I file for bankruptcy more than once?
Yes, you can file for bankruptcy more than once. You’ve probably heard stories of celebrities and business owners doing so.
While no one wants to file bankruptcy over and over again, sometimes it’s unavoidable. With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, and without significant savings, even the slightest emergency can send people back into debt. Some repeat filers have had multiple medical emergencies. Many have faced job loss or other employment changes they weren’t expecting. Others have experienced unforeseen family difficulties, like divorce or death. And others simply needed longer to learn and practice their financial planning skills.
Whatever the reason, our attorneys approach every single case with the same compassion and respect. Just be aware, there are usually waiting periods before you can file again.
Will I lose all my possessions if I file for bankruptcy?
This is a common misconception about bankruptcy. Some people are terrified that by filing for bankruptcy, they might lose all of their personal belongings and even their pets.
Bankruptcy offers exemptions for all of this. You won’t need to give up your cell phone or houseplants if you file for bankruptcy. No one will come to your home to record what kind of pots and pans you use. And no one is coming for your beloved family dog.
Just be aware that really high-expense assets, like a prized racehorse or fine art for example, might be considered a different kind of asset than a normal personal belonging. And items on loan or payment plans, like cars or expensive furniture, fall under a different category because you don’t technically own them yet.
Do I need an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
It’s technically possible to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, but you won’t find many people recommending you do so. That’s because it can be a complicated process, especially in terms of paperwork.
Most people looking to file bankruptcy need it for very good reason. They’re trying to keep their home or car, stop creditor harassment, or put an end to wage garnishment. These are high stakes, and a simple error could mean you lose something precious.
What’s more, if you miss a deadline or fill out the paperwork incorrectly, the courts may dismiss your case entirely. This can set some people back months or even years. And on top of all of that, you’ve had to put in countless hours of work.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can ensure you meet all the requirements, navigate the legal complexities, and help you make informed decisions. Our attorneys have helped the people of Memphis to file bankruptcy for over 30 years. And we can help you, too.
How do I start the bankruptcy process?
To get started with a bankruptcy, you’ll first want to talk with an attorney. We offer a free consultation where we can help you figure out your options.
Once you’ve made the decision to move forward, we can take it from there. We’ll gather your financial information from you, complete the required forms, and file a bankruptcy petition with the court.
Filing for bankruptcy is a significant decision that can reshape your financial future. It would be our privilege to help you get a fresh start and rebuild your life free of debt.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you still have questions about filing for bankruptcy, or if you’d like to get started, schedule a free consultation with us today.
We’re here to help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family as you figure out a better financial future.
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