BANKRUPTCY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS*
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What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13? If you qualify, a Chapter 7 would wipe out all general unsecured debts such as credit cards debts, unsecured personal loans, pay day loans, and the like. Based on income and other criteria, a Chapter 13 is a type of consolidation plan where the debtor would pay the Bankruptcy Trustee a monthly payment over a period of 3 or 5 years. This payment would be distributed to creditors by the Bankruptcy Trustee.
Can I stop foreclosure, wage garnishment, lawsuits, repossession, harassing collection calls, bank account auto debits, and other debt collection efforts? YES. Upon filing for bankruptcy, eligible individuals may benefit from a federal protection called “the automatic stay.” This means that any collection attempts or legal actions by creditors must stop and dealt with in the bankruptcy system.
Can I get rid of all debts? NO. You can get rid of most debts. However, there are some debts you must keep paying, such as mortgages (in general), car payment, child support, student loans (in general), etc.
Can I stop a tax sale on my property?Yes, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will help you achieve this goal.
Can I keep my home, car, and other assets? YES, if you meet the requirements. In most cases, you may be able to keep your home, car, furniture, and other assets.
Can I get rid of old federal and state tax debts? YES, if you meet the requirements. An experienced bankruptcy attorney should assess your case and determine whether you qualify to take advantage of this powerful benefit provided by the Bankruptcy Code.
Can I cancel judgment liens against my property? YES, if you meet the requirements.
Can I cancel a second or third mortgage in Bankruptcy? YES, if you meet the requirements. This is commonly called “strip away.” There is a provision in the bankruptcy code which allows eligible debtors to “strip away” the second, third, or more junior mortgages on their “underwater” homes.
Can you assist me deal with my mortgage company for loan modifications under the HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program)? YES, if you qualify for mortgage modification. Sometimes, during the modification process, mortgage companies give the “runaround” to debtors in Bankruptcy or attempt to foreclose on debtor’s home while a loan modification is pending. An experienced bankruptcy attorney should carefully assess the matter and advise the debtor accordingly.
Will bankruptcy remain indefinitely on my credit reports? Bankruptcy will only be recorded on your credit reports for a limited period of time up to 10 years. However, once you get a bankruptcy discharge, you may reestablish your credit.
Can I reduce the balance on my vehicle? YES, if you meet the requirements. You may be eligible for the “cram down" provision of the Bankruptcy Code. This would allow you to pay the present value of the vehicle rather than the higher balance owed.
a. *This does not constitute legal advice