If you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy or are currently in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, you need a bankruptcy attorney on your side every step of the way. Arkansas bankruptcy attorney at Niblock & Associates can discuss all of your financial circumstances and legal options with you. We can also help you decide whether a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the most appropriate method to address your individual financial needs.
If you decide to file for bankruptcy, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can assist you throughout the bankruptcy process and notify all of your creditors. We can then help bring your case to a favorable conclusion.
MEETING OF CREDITORS AND DISCHARGE OF DEBT
Approximately one month after you file your bankruptcy petition with the court, a meeting of creditors will take place. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, debt discharge typically occurs within 75 to 90 days after this meeting. In a Chapter 13 proceeding, debt discharge will usually commence within 36 to 60 months after a meeting with the Chapter 13 plan trustee.
DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY
Deciding whether or not to file for bankruptcy is a very personal decision. In making this decision, you should ask yourself:
- Are any of your credit card payments more than 30 days past due?
- Are you only able to pay the minimum balances due on your credit cards?
- Have you reached your credit limits on any of your credit cards?
If the answers to any or all of these questions is “yes,” you may be able to obtain financial relief by filing for bankruptcy. A Searcy, Arkansas bankruptcy attorney at Niblock & Associates will be able to review your financial circumstances and help you determine whether filing for bankruptcy may be your best option.
If you do decide to file, there are two main types of bankruptcy to consider – Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCIES
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for the elimination of all of the petitioner’s dischargeable debt. However, in order for a petitioner to be able to keep a home, car, or other property, he or she must continue to pay off secured creditors, such as banks which hold a secured interest in a home mortgage or car loan.
In order to be eligible to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your monthly income must fall under the median income level for your state – or you must pass the Chapter 7 “means test.” The means test calculation for your state must show that your monthly income over a five-year period (minus expenses) comes to $6,000 or less, and must include 25 percent or less of unsecured debt (e.g. credit card debt).
Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Act, you will be required to meet with a credit counselor at some point during the six months before you apply for bankruptcy. You may also be required to attend money management classes prior to having your debts discharged in bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney from our firm can help you decide whether a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, given your unique circumstances.
CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCIES
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be available to you if you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As part of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, a five-year plan is created. This plan allows you to pay back both secured and unsecured creditors part of the total debt which they are owed. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding will also give you the time to catch up on any past due mortgage and vehicle payments over the length of the plan.
Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Act, a debtor cannot obtain a bankruptcy discharge in a Chapter 13 proceeding if he or she obtained a bankruptcy discharge as part of a Chapter 7 proceeding within the past 4 years – or via a prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding within the past two years. A bankruptcy attorney can help you decide whether a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you, given your unique financial circumstances.
CONTACT A SEARCY, ARKANSAS BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE
The bankruptcy laws surrounding Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are extremely complex, and the changes codified in the Bankruptcy Abuse and Prevention Act have added to the confusion. As such, you need an experienced bankruptcy attorney on your side representing you at every stage of the bankruptcy proceedings.