Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The most important things to know about a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy are:
- You immediately get protection from creditor actions, including lawsuits, wage garnishments, foreclosure sales, and collection calls;
- Ohio law provides substantial protection of your car, house, retirement plans, wages and your cash;
- You never have to file for bankruptcy because you come in for a free consultation. When meeting, we’ll get to understand your situation and what we can do about it.
Chapter 7 is a “liquidating” bankruptcy. Most people in a Chapter 7 do not give up assets. And importantly, nothing happens that you do not know about in advance. Fortunately, the Bankruptcy Code is a clear set of rules. In most cases, I can tell you the first day we talk whether you qualify for a discharge, and the extent your assets are protected. Almost daily I’m able to say, “Nothing about filing for Bankruptcy will cause you to lose your house or your car.”
This highlights the purpose of the free initial and confidential meeting with me so that I can understand your financial facts and your primary concerns. Then I can tell you exactly what will happen in your case. And if there’s an uncertain issue, I can let you know the worst and best potential outcomes.
Below are some frequently asked questions about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Chapter 7, sometimes called a liquidation bankruptcy, is a type of bankruptcy that can provide much-needed debt relief, giving you a fresh financial start, and allowing you breathing room to analyze your financial situation and get your debts under control.
Bankruptcy is a complex and difficult legal specialty, with numerous rules, regulations, and requirements that must be met and strict deadlines that must be followed. An experienced attorney who knows bankruptcy law is clearly an advantage for you.
Unlike a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, frequently called a wage-earner bankruptcy, you don't have to have a regular income to qualify for a Chapter 7 case. Secured debts, such as auto loans and mortgages, can be handled by turning over the property that acts as security for the debt. Any remaining balance owed after the asset is sold can be discharged at the end of the Chapter 7 case.
Unsecured debt, including credit cards, medical bills and certain loans without security, will also be discharged at the end of your case. Assets that are not exempt are turned over to the Bankruptcy Trustee to be liquidated and the proceeds are used to pay off creditors.
One concern of consumers who file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that they'll lose their home or their vehicle. You need somewhere to live, and it's often difficult to work without a car. The good news is that the Bankruptcy Trustee can only use non-exempt property for liquidation.
The bankruptcy law allows certain exemptions for specific property types and equity amounts. There's more than one way to determine how much property can be protected, and bankruptcy laws also allow for various other exemptions. We'll work with you and advocate to protect the maximum amount of property and equity possible.
Many who file for Chapter 7 protection do not lose property at all!
While credit cards and medical debt are both dischargeable within a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing in Akron, Ohio, some debt types cannot be discharged using bankruptcy. These typically include but are not limited to:
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Almost all student loan debt
- Most personal injury debt
The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy includes a very powerful tool called the automatic stay, which forces all of your creditors to halt any collection activities until the Bankruptcy Court can review all of your debts and financial factors. The automatic stay will stop:
- Wage garnishments
- Bank levies
- Lawsuits to collect judgments
Even a small oversight, a simple mistake or a missed deadline can be devastating to any Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy code is complex and its process is extensive and complicated. A mistake can cost you the chance at a fresh financial start, with your case being dismissed or even banned from filing again for a period of time.
You're better off with an experienced and knowledgeable, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer on your side to get the best possible results. A bankruptcy attorney will also help enforce any discharge you're granted, if your creditors try to get around it.
The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is designed for people with little or no income, who cannot possibly repay most or all of the debt they owe. This is why it is often called a liquidation bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is intended for a wage earner who can pay back a significant portion of their debt over an extended period of time, and who need to reorganize their finances.
A Chapter 7 may or may not be the best choice, depending on your specific income, debts, goals and financial situation. To determine if it's best, you should consult with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer with years of experience, who is extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of the Bankruptcy Code and process... attorney Susan M. Gray can help you make the best choice for you.