Frequently Asked Questions
Before stepping into a commitment like filing for bankruptcy, it is vital that you understand the process and if it is a good fit for your situation. While we believe that it is a positive way to dismiss a good portion of debt, we want to be sure that there are no other alternatives will serve you better such as debt negotiation.
Having handled over 10,000 cases, Attorney Alan J. Fisher has the knowledge and acuity to understand your case and create a plan that can work to benefit your financial circumstance. Below we have listed out some of the most common questions we get regarding bankruptcy and debt settlement. Please contact our firm if you have further concerns or inquiries.
Am I eligible for bankruptcy?
Every individual, business or corporation that seeks to file for bankruptcy may pursue the necessary steps and seek to receive help with their debt. You must first take a "means test" to determine if you can pursue a Chapter 7 or
Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The results of the test are derived from looking at your income, assets and debts. It determines if it is probable that you will have the financial capacity to pay you're your debts.
In order to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, it must have been 180 days since the last time you petitioned for bankruptcy. Additionally, there are certain factors that must be met when filing for Chapter 13. When you file, you must have a regular income and have property, live, own a business or have a domicile within the United States. The money that you have must no more than $290,525 in unsecured, non-contingent, liquidated debts and less than $871,550 in secured, non-contingent, liquidated debts. Just because you might be eligible may not always mean that bankruptcy is the best option for you.
To find out if bankruptcy is right for you, click here.
Which type of bankruptcy should I file?
Every individual seeking to file for bankruptcy must first complete a means test which looks at your income to determine whether or not you have the capacity to pay back your debts. If your income is over the median amount for you state, meaning that you earn more than the average individual, you will most likely qualify for a Chapter 13. Those that are below the median are seen as unable to begin making payments towards their debt and it may be discharged entirely depending on the severity of the amount owed. Your assets are much more protected under a Chapter 13, but you will also be expected to pay back your debts by following a more affordable payment plan.
Does bankruptcy discharge all of my debts?
Under Chapter 7, most of your debts will be dismissed; however, bankruptcy does not clear everything contrary to popular belief. The following include some of the debts that must still be paid regardless of filing for bankruptcy:
- Alimony/spousal support
- Child support
- Student loans (unless there is reasonable proof that they cannot be paid back due to certain hardship)
- Money owed to the government for state, federal or local taxes
- Any financial obligation that was not originally mentioned when filing
- Debts that were obtained after filing for bankruptcy
- Penalty fines for committing a criminal action
- Money owed to another party for a personal injury claim as declared by a court order
Always speak with an attorney before assuming that your debts fall under one of these categories. They can work with you to create a plan of action to clear as much of your debt as possible.
Will I lose my home if file bankruptcy?
If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have nothing to worry about because you are merely rearranging your debt into more manageable payments. Your assets will not be pulled in order to pay off loans and your home will be safe. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as long as your mortgage payments are current your place of residence should be safe. Certain circumstances may result in losing your home only if there is substantial equity that can be used to appease unsecured creditors. At the same time, Chapter 7 may also be able to delay home foreclosure if you are feeling stuck and unsure of your next step.
Will my credit be ruined by bankruptcy?
Initially it can cause damage to your credit score, but within 6 months or so you may find that you are already receiving credit card offers. It is best for you to obtain a secured credit card, where collateral is placed with the creditor and the maximum limit on the card is equal to the collateral. This will help keep you from falling back into debt, as long as you make your payments regularly and on time each month.
Contact Our Firm
Providing compassionate and understanding legal services, Alan J. Fisher, PA is dedicated to pursuing progressive financial solutions for our clients. Offering a
free case evaluation, it is our goal to create as little expense for you as possible during an already stressful time in your life. We aim to answer each of your questions before entering into bankruptcy so that you feel completely comfortable with such a monumental decision.
Allow us to ease your mind and walk with you through this process, offering our years of experience along the way. Helping you weather the storms of life during a time of economic hurricanes, we strive to create a safe haven for you and your family. Do not live under the weight another day, but get the legal assistance you deserve!
Contact Alan J. Fisher, PA today for your free evaluation and to be rid of your debt so you can move forward!