As with family law cases, people who are filing bankruptcy also require understanding, support, and ongoing attention to them and to their case. I will provide as much time as is needed during your initial consultation to assure that all your questions are answered and the process is thoroughly explained.
There are several different kinds of bankruptcy cases. Most people usually file either a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When a Chapter 7 case is filed and completed, the result is that your unsecured debt is discharged. “Unsecured” means that there is no property securing that debt and includes credit cards, medical expenses, and signature loans. “Secured” debt includes loans on homes, vehicles, appliances and other property which can be taken back by a creditor if you do not make the payments. If you want to keep your secured property, a reaffirmation agreement can be filed. This renews the loan so that you will not lose the property. The time from filing to the time of the discharge is usually about five or six months.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 13 case is different. It is informally known as the Installment Payback Plan. In order to qualify for a Chapter 13 case, you must have enough money to make monthly payments for at least 36 months but not more than 60 months. The payments are made to the Chapter 13 Trustee. who then distributes the payments to your creditors. You must file a Plan which includes how much the monthly payment will be and for how long, and the Plan must be approved by the Trustee. At the end of the specified number of months/payments, the person then receives a discharge.
Most people will probably prefer to file Chapter 7 and finish the process in a few months without having to pay back most or all debt over a period of years.
To qualify to file for either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 case, you must meet certain income guidelines. These guidelines are based on the number of persons in your household and your household income.