Getting Out of Debt Through Chapter 7
If you’re overwhelmed with debt you can’t pay, you may be tempted to feel like there’s no hope. As a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer Memphis TN has trusted for decades, I can tell you nothing is further from the truth.
Chapter 7 offers a way to get out of debt completely and get a fresh start. It’s a freeing, empowering way to take your life back.
What Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Do for You
Chapter 7 bankruptcy comes with special advantages. It allows you to get rid of debts like credit card bills and medical debt completely. And you can usually even keep property like your home and car, depending on the exemptions available in your state.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy stops:
- creditor harassment
- wage garnishment
- debt collection lawsuits against you
And if you can no longer make your house payments, but your home is impossible to sell because you owe more than its value, Chapter 7 can help you get rid of the mortgage debt.
Perhaps most important, Chapter 7 has the power of the courts behind it. Most other debt plans don’t, which means your creditors can go back on their word and leave you right back where you started. It gives you certainty and a real path out of debt that you can trust.
If you’re curious about Chapter 7, we offer a totally free consultation to answer your questions and give you an idea of what it’s all about. Just contact us today for more information.
Our Memphis Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers Are Different
As a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer Memphis TN has trusted for over thirty years, there’s a lot of things that set our firm apart.
From the minute you step into our office, you can tell we’re different. We’re deeply invested in your success, so we offer:
- award-winning client care
- free resources on life after bankruptcy
- unlimited phone calls and support, at no extra cost
- a payment plan make filing affordable
In addition to all of that, we offer our respect and unwavering encouragement. You always know you’re in good hands with us and won’t get charged extra or have trouble reaching us.
That’s how we’ve won multiple Martindale-Hubbell awards for client satisfaction. It’s how we’ve gotten a 5-star rating on Avvo and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
And, for decades, it’s how we’ve built such a great reputation in Memphis.
Life After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
At Darrell Castle & Associates, we believe bankruptcy can be the first step to a healthy financial future. We want our clients to succeed, and we know how powerful a tool bankruptcy can be to make that happen.
So to help, we offer a free report about Life After Bankruptcy. This report answers FAQs about how bankruptcy might affect your life, including how to:
- rebuild your credit to an excellent rating
- get a house or car
- deal with employers’ or landlords’ questions about bankruptcy
- and more.
In addition, we’re available to answer any questions as you navigate your financial future. It’s a big part of why we do what we do.
Contact a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Memphis TN Trusts
As a Memphis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, I’ve helped thousands of people get out of debt. And I can help you too.
Maybe you don’t know if you need bankruptcy or if Chapter 7 is right for you. Or maybe you’re worried how it will affect your credit or who has to know if you filed.
Fortunately, we have the answers. We’re happy to sit down with you for a free consultation and talk with you about the process and how it works.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you’re struggling with debt and don’t see any way out, filing for bankruptcy may be the best choice for you.
But it can also seem very scary at first, and a lot of people have big questions before they feel ready to file. We’re here to answer any of those questions and help you feel more confident in your choice, no matter what you decide to do.
You can always contact us to discuss your questions anytime. But for easy reference, here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Will I Lose My Home in a Chapter 7?
One of the biggest concerns people have about bankruptcy is whether or not they’ll lose their home. The answer is usually no, but the details depend on your particular situation. If you’re current on your mortgage and continue to make payments, Chapter 7 shouldn’t affect your ability to keep your home.
You also have other options, like Chapter 13, that can help stop foreclosure and keep you in your home. We always work with our clients’ biggest goals in mind first. That means if a certain bankruptcy chapter doesn’t work for you, we may help you look at other types of bankruptcy or other ways to prioritize your assets.
If I File Chapter 7, Can I Keep My Car?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn’t automatically require you to give up your car. That’s a common myth. Many people who file are able to keep their cars and all other assets. But how and what you might give up during bankruptcy depends a lot on your specific debt situation.
If you’re current on your payments and the value of your car is less than the amount of your exemption, you should be able to keep your car. If you’re behind on your payments or your car is worth more than the exemption, you may still be able to keep your car by reaffirming the debt. This means you remain responsible for the debt under a new contract.
That said, sometimes those options don’t work. In that case, our attorneys might talk with you about Chapter 13, or we might look at other options for cars that are more affordable for you. There’s usually a way to make sure all of your needs get met.
How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process is relatively short. In most cases, you can expect to have your bankruptcy case resolved within six months.
If it takes longer than this, you should know well in advance why that happened. A good Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will communicate with you throughout the process so you’re never surprised by a delay.
But in our experience, with a good attorney, such delays are uncommon. Generally speaking, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a faster way of getting rid of debt than other forms of bankruptcy.
Is Chapter 7 Better Than Chapter 13?
The difference in bankruptcy chapters doesn’t mean one is better than another. It just means one might be better suited for your situation and goals.
There are a few key reasons why you might want to choose Chapter 7 bankruptcy over Chapter 13:
Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes less time than Chapter 13. It doesn’t require you to set up a payment plan or continue payments to creditors afterward. And the costs are calculated differently than a Chapter 13, so for some people it can be a cheaper option.
However, Chapter 13 comes with its own advantages. For example, it immediately stops foreclosure and repossession in their tracks.
Both types of bankruptcy stop wage garnishment, creditor harassment, and debt-related lawsuits. And both offer a fresh start to the people who need them.
Do I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
To qualify for Chapter 7, you need to meet certain income criteria known as the “means test.” This test compares your income to the median income in your state to determine your eligibility. If your income is below the median, you generally qualify.
We discuss all of this and more at your first meeting, which is a totally free consultation to answer your questions and let you know your options.
Will Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Score?
People are often very concerned the bankruptcy will hurt their credit score. And indeed, a Chapter 7 will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years.
However, if you’re at the point of filing bankruptcy, your credit has already been taking a hit to begin with. The best thing you can do for your credit is get out of debt and start rebuilding it with a plan in mind. There’s a lot you can do to rebuild your credit quickly, even after a bankruptcy. We talk about this some in our free report called Life After Bankruptcy.
Can I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy More Than Once?
You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy multiple times, but there are waiting periods between filings. Generally, you need to wait 8 years from the date of a previous Chapter 7 discharge before filing again.
No one wants to get to that point again, but there’s all sorts of reasons it can happen. Sometimes it takes a while to rebuild financial security or develop habits to stay out of debt. Sometimes medical conditions cause people to go into serious debt more than once. And sometimes emergencies or mistakes outside of our control throw us for a financial loop.
Whatever the reason, repeat filings do happen, and you can trust that our firm will never shame anyone for their debt problems. We believe in the power of bankruptcy to help people get out of debt, and we will help you do that.
If you ever want to discuss your own financial plan so that you’re less likely to go into debt in the future, that’s something we can help you with at no charge.
Do I Have to Hire An Attorney for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
While it’s technically possible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own, you really need to seek professional legal guidance. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can navigate the complexities of the process, ensure all requirements are met, and help you make informed decisions.
If you try to go out on your own, the consequences can be devastating. Not only might the case take longer because you miss important deadlines or make small mistakes on the vast amount of paperwork required, but you could also lose your assets or face other severe penalties over mistakes you didn’t even know you were making. And often, your case may be dismissed or thrown out entirely.
We’ve seen this happen time and again, and we strongly recommend you come to see us first instead.
Common Myths About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you’re considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have heard certain myths that make you reluctant to get started. Here are a few of the common misconceptions we often hear about Chapter 7:
Filing for Chapter 7 takes a long time.
Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which typically takes three to five years to complete, Chapter 7 usually takes just four to six months to finalize. Once you fill out the paperwork, complete credit counseling, and receive your discharge, you’re all done.
Sometimes in more complicated cases, the trustee may need more information than usual. But with the right attorney on your side, it shouldn’t take a long time to complete your case.
You will lose your home.
One of the reasons why some people are reluctant to file for Chapter 7 is because they assume they will lose their house. However, it is not a given that you will lose your home. In fact, as long as you are not behind on your mortgage payments and you do not have excess equity in your home, there is a good chance you’ll be able to keep your home.
If this is your biggest fear in filing, the best thing to do is talk with one of our attorneys. You may have options you didn’t even realize were there.
Chapter 7 will ruin your credit forever.
It is true that your credit rating will take a hit initially after declaring Chapter 7. However, you can start the process of rebuilding your credit right away.
In fact, over time, it’s far better for you to file bankruptcy and deal with the debt now than to keep growing your debt for years. As soon as you’re out of debt, you can start rebuilding and get your credit back to a higher rating quickly.
We’ve helped clients get back to an A rating credit score within a year of filing. It takes some work, but it can be done – and with some effort, you’ll find your credit is far better off than before.
Everyone will have to know.
Bankruptcy is actually a pretty private event. Technically, it will be listed in a market newspaper. This is usually a small print section of a relatively small local paper that no one ever looks at. Because it’s public record, it might also show up on a background check.
But that’s it. Unless someone is specifically looking in the bankruptcy section of that paper for your name, no one really has to know except you and your attorney and the court. We protect our clients’ privacy, and you can generally rest assured this won’t be big public knowledge unless you choose to tell everyone.
You’ll have to go to court frequently.
Bankruptcy is actually a pretty simple and common process, and you won’t need to be in and out of court to make it happen. Most of the time, your bankruptcy attorney will handle everything for you. But eventually, you’ll have to go to court to discuss your case. We keep this process as stress-free as possible, and we do most of the work even then.
If you have any serious concerns about what the case will require of you, we can discuss it at your free consultation so you don’t have any surprises.
Get Answers From a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Memphis TN Trusts
If you have any further questions or want to know more about any of the above, you can always reach out to our Memphis bankruptcy attorneys. We’re happy to answer your call and give you an idea of what to expect in the process of filing Chapter 7.
“The Castle firm and the entire staff are just wonderful. I really needed help, and they took the time to listen to me and help me with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. They are very knowledgeable. Mr. Castle, Ms. Connie, Amanda, and Mr. Prentiss are just wonderful. Service is A1 all the way, and can not be beat. They make you feel welcome and comfortable on every visit. I appreciate everything, and thanks to them, I am off to a fresh start, and free of all the stress.”