Bankruptcy FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy
What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is the process where individuals can repay some or all of their debt or eliminate their debt under the protection of the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Bankruptcies are basically divided into two types – reorganization and liquidation.

What is the cost of bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy costs typically include filing fees that are paid to the court and attorney’s fees. The total cost will largely depend on your financial situation, the complexity of your case, and whether you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. What we always encourage our potential clients to do is set up a free appointment to come in and meet with one of our bankruptcy attorneys so they can go over your specific situation in detail with you and layout all of your options. During this free appointment, you will be under zero obligation to move forward in any way and at a minimum, you can get a better understanding of what choices you may have to take back control of your financial life. Learn more about the Cost of Bankruptcy.

Can my wages be garnished?

If a judgment has been obtained against you, and you have not filed bankruptcy, your wages can be garnished. A judgment can be issued after you have been served with a lawsuit and you failed to defend your case or a judge ruled against you after trial. However, judgments can never be obtained against you or your wages can never be garnished once you file bankruptcy as long as those debts are listed in your bankruptcy petition.

How do I stop creditors from harassing me?

By law, all collection actions against a debtor must cease once bankruptcy is filed. Creditors cannot garnish your wages, make collection phone calls, or continue or initiate any lawsuits.

Are there benefits to filing bankruptcy?

Yes. Bankruptcy stops all creditor harassment, lawsuits, and garnishments. After filing for bankruptcy, most people no longer have the worry, stress, or anxiety that is caused by creditors harassing you and the debt you can no longer afford.

Can I finance a car after filing for bankruptcy?

Yes. Essentially, it can be easier to qualify for a car loan after you file for bankruptcy because your debt to income ratio has decreased and you have more income to pay for the new car loan.

Do you have to be unemployed to file for bankruptcy?

No. You can be gainfully employed and file for bankruptcy.

If I am married, do both my spouse and I have to file for bankruptcy?

No. There is no requirement that married couples file jointly. If one spouse has manageable debt and a decent credit record, and the other is responsible for most of the debt it may be in your best interest for only one to file. Filing bankruptcy by one spouse should have no effect on the other spouse’s assets or credit rating as long as there or no joint assets or debts.

Will I lose my vehicle if I file bankruptcy?

No. You may be able to use bankruptcy laws to keep your vehicle in your possession if you are behind on payments. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to pay your vehicle loan through the bankruptcy plan. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies address this issue. An automatic stay in bankruptcy will stop repossession, and this goes into effect as soon as your case is filed. Exemptions can also protect your vehicle.

Is there a minimum amount of debt required to file for bankruptcy?

No. There is no minimum debt amount to be eligible to file for bankruptcy

Does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy require full repayment of debt?

No. In most cases, you will only be repaying cents on the dollar. The remaining balances owed to creditors will be wiped out as long as the plan is paid in full.

Will I lose my retirement savings?

No. Usually you can claim them exempt due to the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code if they have not yet become part of your estate.

Will everyone know that I filed for bankruptcy?

Under normal circumstances, no one will know that you filed for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy filings are public record.

How long will bankruptcy remain on my credit report?

Bankruptcy will remain visible on your credit report for up to ten years.

Will I lose all of my assets if I file for bankruptcy?

No. A debtor filing for bankruptcy is allowed to keep certain assets by exempting property for the bankruptcy estate, as stated in the Bankruptcy Code.

Can I get credit after filing for bankruptcy?

Yes. You can regain credit after you file for bankruptcy. Many people have improved credit after filing because they were able to start fresh.

Can you include tax debt in your bankruptcy plan?

Yes. Certain tax obligations may be dischargeable or managed in your bankruptcy plan.

Will I be able to rent an apartment or house after bankruptcy?

Yes. Landlords are mostly interested in your past rental history and your present income than whether or not you have filed for bankruptcy.

Can payday loans be included in bankruptcy even though I wrote a check?

Yes. Payday loans are not treated any differently than any other unsecured loan, and can be included in your bankruptcy.

Can I keep my rental property if I file for bankruptcy?

Yes. It is possible to retain your rental property. You may also be able to reduce the principle owed, which will allow you to pay less than originally owed.

What is a discharge in bankruptcy?

Under the bankruptcy statute, a discharge releases you from ever being liable for those debts discharged.

Can I change from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 after I have already filed?

Yes. It is called a “Motion to Convert” and it can be done after you have filed either chapter of bankruptcy.

Can I get fired from my job if I file for bankruptcy?

No. Federal law 11 U.S.C 525 (a) and (b) prohibits an employer to discriminate against you for filing bankruptcy.

How do I know which type of bankruptcy I should file?

Your bankruptcy attorney will evaluate your situation based on your assets and the amount of debt you owe and advise you as to which type of bankruptcy is right for you.

Who is allowed to file for bankruptcy?

Anyone who owes money to creditors can file for bankruptcy, with only a few exceptions.

Will I lose my Social Security benefits if I file for bankruptcy?

No, there should be no issues concerning your Social Security benefits.

What happens if I discover additional debt after I have already filed for bankruptcy?

Generally, your attorney can amend your case to include the additional debt.

Who should consider filing for bankruptcy?

Anyone who feels they are overwhelmed with financial problems should consider filing for bankruptcy.

Can creditors arrest me for not making payments?

No, creditors cannot arrest you – and bankruptcy can protect you.

Am I allowed to have a bank account if I file for bankruptcy?

Yes, you are allowed to have a bank account.

Will bankruptcy affect my child’s education?

No, bankruptcy has no affect on your child’s education.

Do I need to list all of my creditors?

Yes, if you do not list all of your creditors, you are taking a risk of not having the debt discharged.

Do I need to hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy?

An individual can file a bankruptcy petition without an attorney. However, the obligations imposed on you and the ramifications associated with the bankruptcy are extremely complex. It is difficult to have a successful bankruptcy case without legal counsel. Therefore, hiring a competent bankruptcy attorney is strongly encouraged.