If you find your finances overwhelming, it’s time to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Turn to the Law Offices of Michael Riley in Framingham, MA for the counsel and guidance you require. We will take a look at your financial situation and see if filing for bankruptcy will help you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy remains an option for most, if not all, honest individuals and couples who are facing overwhelming debt or foreclosure. However, bankruptcy laws are complex, and an in-depth knowledge of the rules is required to navigate them. This is why it’s important to speak with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
What is bankruptcy?
It is a legal proceeding under the federal law wherein a person is released from paying his/her debts by declaring bankruptcy and turning all of his/her non-exempt property over to the court’s trustee. For more information, read about the bankruptcy filing process.
Who can file for bankruptcy?
Any person who lives in, does business in, or has property in this country can file for bankruptcy.
Once I decide to file for bankruptcy, should I stop paying creditors?
Yes. Once you have made an informed decision to file a Chapter 7 petition, you do not have to pay debts that can be discharged in bankruptcy, such as credit card debts and medical obligations. However, you must still pay monthly bills such as rent, mortgage, utilities, and telephone payments.
Will filing for bankruptcy stop bill collectors from making harassing phone calls to me?
When you file either kind of bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay stops virtually all creditors from doing anything to collect the debts you owe them. Only when the bankruptcy court lifts the stay can creditors proceed with collections.
How long does a bankruptcy remain on my credit report?
Under provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the fact that an individual filed bankruptcy can remain on his/her credit report for no longer than 10 years.
How much does it cost to file?
In MA, the filing fee is $299.00 for individual, joint, and business petitions under Chapter 7. For Chapter 13, the filing fee is $274.00. This does not include legal fees.
What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
In Chapter 13, the debtor pays a portion of the non-secured debt as well as settles all the secured and priority debt over a period of 3 to 5 years. The debtor is permitted to keep both non-exempt and exempt property. In Chapter 7, the debtor does not have to pay any dischargeable debt and is not permitted to keep any non-exempt property.
Read the basics of bankruptcy to learn more about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. To know whether you should file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, discuss your situation with our attorney.
Where do I file for bankruptcy?
File a bankruptcy petition at the United States District Court in the district where you reside or do business.
How long does it take?
Filing for Chapter 7 is generally very fast. The court will schedule a creditors’ meeting in approximately 30 days after the bankruptcy petition has been filed.
At the meeting, you will be asked by the trustee about the information contained in your bankruptcy schedules. This meeting may last only for a few minutes, and it is generally the only court appearance you will have to make. You will receive your discharge in approximately 120 days, and the final decree will follow a few weeks later.
The procedures for Chapter 13 and 11 take longer. Speak with our attorney and he can give you a rough estimate of the time involved.
What do I need for the initial meeting with my attorney?
Please bring in the following:
- A list of assets and liabilities
- A list of creditors showing the amount due to each creditor
- A list of income and expenses
- Tax returns for the last 2 years
- Evidence of income for the last 6 months
During our meeting, we will talk about your financial situation and assess if bankruptcy is appropriate. If it looks like filing for bankruptcy is suitable to your situation, our attorney will provide you with the forms you must fill out. The petition and schedules will be prepared and filed after you complete the forms.
I am in debt because I have been irresponsible in using credit. Since I do not have a good excuse for my behavior, will I be denied a debt discharge?
No. The bankruptcy system does not ask if your debt is due to unforeseen circumstances that were no fault of your own, or if you were living over your head.
To learn more, read the information about discharge in bankruptcy that the United States Courts have provided.
What does the term “fresh start” mean in relation to bankruptcy?
Regain financial control. You can receive a “fresh start” after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges your debts. This means you can move on to rebuild your personal and life financial without the worry of being overwhelmed by an unbearable load of debt.
Is my primary residence protected?
You must know and understand the 1,215-day rule. In MA, if you possess your own home and it serves as your principal residence, you may be able to safeguard it against the claims of creditors and/or a forced sale. You can do this by filing a Declaration of Homestead. Speak with our qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine what would be the status of your Homestead Exemption should you file for bankruptcy.
Will I lose my job?
No. Discrimination based on a debtor filing bankruptcy for protection is prohibited by bankruptcy laws.
Will I go to jail if I file for bankruptcy?
No. In the United States, there are no debtor’s prisons.
Will bankruptcy stop a wage attachment?
To learn more if filing for bankruptcy is right for you, call our office today at 508-405-0831 and schedule an appointment with our attorney.
DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this website does not constitute legal advice or counsel.