Bankruptcy: Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQs Page

Filing bankruptcy starts with deciding which type of bankruptcy makes the most sense for your financial situation, but that's only the first in a long line of choices you'll have to make during your bankruptcy filing.

Working with a bankruptcy lawyer allows you to focus on improving your finances and rebuilding your credit rather than worrying about meeting the legal requirements of the bankruptcy court.

A bankruptcy lawyer can also help make sure you don't engage in any behavior that would cause the court to dismiss your case and eliminate your chance at a fresh financial start.

What is an Automatic Stay?

When you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court issues an order called an "automatic stay."

The automatic stay prohibits most creditors from taking any collection actions-that means creditors can't call you or flood you mailbox with collection letters anymore!

The bankruptcy automatic stay also stops foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishments and lawsuits.

Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer today to find out how the bankruptcy automatic stay may be able to work for you.

What Debts Aren't Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Debts such as child support, spousal maintenance, and most tax debts are not discharged.

Student loans are not discharged unless you can prove that repaying the debt would be an undue burden.

Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer today to find out whether any of your debts are considered nondischargeable.

What Property Can I Keep if I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court has the option to sell your non-exempt property to repay your creditors.

But don't worry-this doesn't happen that often. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers are allowed to keep all of their property.

State bankruptcy exemption laws vary from state to state, but generally, there are exemptions for a homestead, personal property, a portion of your wages, a vehicle and your tools of trade.

Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer today to find out which of your items can't be sold by the bankruptcy court.

Will I have to Repay Debts After Bankruptcy?

If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most unsecured debts are discharged and you won't ever have to repay them.

If you file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, your debts are restructured into a repayment plan and you will repay all or some of your debt over an agreed-upon time.

Talk us today about which bankruptcy filing may be right for you.

What's the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debt?

Secured debts are secured by a lien of some type on your property, either by an agreement or involuntarily with a court judgment or taxes.

Unsecured debts are not connected to any type of property. A car loans and mortgages are examples of secured debts, while credit cards and signature loans are unsecured debts.

A bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine which of your debts are considered unsecured or secured.

How Long Does a Bankruptcy Stay on My Credit Report?

A bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Keep in mind: in many cases, filing bankruptcy winds up improving a person's credit.

Read more about credit and filing bankruptcy.

Can I Remove a Bankruptcy from my Credit Report?

No. However, you can file an explanation with the credit bureaus briefly describing the cause of your bankruptcy.

Read more about credit and filing bankruptcy.

When Can I Apply for New Credit?

You can apply for credit any time after filing bankruptcy, but the decision of whether to grant you credit varies from creditor to creditor.

How Do My Creditors Find Out That I Filed Bankruptcy?

The bankruptcy court notifies all of your creditors by mail.

This notification includes the bankruptcy case number, the automatic stay, the name of any trustees assigned to the case, the date of the meeting of creditors and information about filing claims and/or objections.

A bankruptcy lawyer can help further explain the legal logistics of filing bankruptcy.

How Do I Begin the Bankruptcy Process?

You'll need to make a complete list of your debts and assets.

These lists will help your bankruptcy lawyer complete your bankruptcy petition and appropriate schedules that will be filed with the bankruptcy court.