(Free initial consultation for everyone in every case)
Chapter 7 Fresh Start –
Court costs/filing fee is $335.00. This fee can often be paid in installments to the court directly and may not be required up front. Credit counseling fees. There are two required credit counseling sessions, one taken prior to filing and the additional course taken after filing. The price for these credit counseling sessions vary by agency but range in price from $30.00 to $50.00 for the pre-filing course and $15.00 to $50.00 per person for the post-filing course. These sessions can be taken online or by telephone and a list of recommended agencies is available. The first counseling session must be paid by you directly to this agency and the certificate for this session provided to us in order to file your bankruptcy. Attorney fees vary depending on case and the attorney's time involved. These fees range from $1,000 to $3,000 with most cases averaging around $1,500 to $2,000. Our clients usually make payments to us for these fees. If a Chapter 7 is the right solution for you, you may be able to retain our law firm for as little as $100.00 down.
Chapter 13 Debt consolidation –
Court costs/filing fee is $310.00. This fee can be paid in installments. Credit counseling fees. There are two required credit counseling sessions, one taken prior to filing and the additional course taken after filing. The price for these credit counseling sessions vary by agency but range in price from $30.00 to $50.00 for the pre-filing course and $15.00 to $50.00 per person for the post-filing course. These sessions can be taken online or by telephone and a list of recommended agencies is available. The first counseling session must be paid by you directly to this agency and the certificate for this session provided to us in order to file your bankruptcy. The court sets all attorney fees in Chapter 13 cases and allows these fees to be paid as a part of your Chapter 13 payments into the plan. We can usually start a Chapter 13 plan with no money down depending upon the circumstances of your case. Sometimes however, we do insist on some portion of the attorney fees being paid prior to filing. This is especially true if you are self-employed, in foreclosure, or have had prior unsuccessful Chapter 13 cases. We can explain this further when you meet with us during a free initial consultation.
How can I re-establish my credit and get a house after bankruptcy?
We have filed bankruptcies for many people who later went on to buy homes and vehicles. The important thing is to start making payments on time after you file bankruptcy. Future lenders want to see that you can pay your bills on time. That is how you re-establish your credit. Perhaps start with a debit card at your bank or with a car loan.
What about taxes and student loans?
Some taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy, if they are income taxes, you filed the returns on time, and they were filed more than three years plus eight months prior. If you filed late, they must have been filed more than two years ago. Student loans are NEVER dischargeable in bankruptcy.
What about criminal fines and traffic fines?
Criminal and traffic fines are never discharged in Chapter 7. However, if your license is suspended due to court fines we may be able to help you get your license released if you file a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
Will I have to go to court?
In every case there is at least one required court appearance conducted by the trustee appointed to administer each bankruptcy case. This hearing is called a 341 meeting and your attorney will be present with you during this hearing. The attorney will have prepared you for this hearing and will have personally reviewed your file.
Are any debts not covered by bankruptcy?
There are a few debts that cannot be wiped out with bankruptcy. This includes child support, alimony, student loans, income taxes for recent years, criminal and traffic fines, fraudulently acquired credit or judgments arising from accidents involving a DUI. These debts must be paid back using Chapter 13.
How do I know if bankruptcy is right for me?
You should take advantage of our fee initial consultation to review your financial affairs in detail, without obligation. Obtaining information will help you decide. Read, investigate and learn all you can. The pressure put on you by your creditors will help you decide. Are you robbing Peter to pay Paul? Not sleeping well at night? Are the creditors calling you at all hours, even at work? Are you using credit cards to pay other credit cards? These are the warning signs that your finances are getting out of control and you must pay attention. No one wants to file bankruptcy. Is there another solution, realistically? How long can you work two jobs? How long will it take you to get out of debt paying as you are now? Do you have health insurance? What are your priorities?
How are the fees paid?
In Chapter 7 cases, you can retain our law firm with as little as $100.00 down. This, and any fee paid to me, is a non-refundable retainer or deposit. In most cases we do insist on the entire fee and costs being paid in full prior to filing your case and getting you the protection of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
In Chapter 13 cases, generally, in many cases, we can file your case with no money down and stop your creditors as soon as you have completed and obtained your pre-filing credit counseling certificate of completion.
What are these credit counseling sessions?
You must complete two credit counseling sessions. The first session is done prior to filing your case with the Court. It does not take much time, perhaps 45 minutes and you can complete this session online or in some cases by telephone. You must complete this session and provide us with the certificate of completion before we can file your case. This is not a difficult course but one of Congress' new requirements under the new bankruptcy laws.
Shortly after we file your case you must complete a second credit counseling session. Failure to complete the second session will result in your case being closed without receiving a discharge of your debts! These courses are no more than $50.00 for each session which you pay to the agency directly by debit card.
You must use a credit counseling agency that has been approved by the Office of the U.S. Trustee.
Do I have to lose any of my property?
Our job is to help you save your home and vehicle, not lose them! We will do all that we can to help you keep your home, car and all of your other property. You do not need to lose anything when you file for bankruptcy!
What about my future credit?
There is no doubt that filing any type of bankruptcy will affect your credit negatively. Filing bankruptcy can be reported on your credit for 10 years. This means that anyone looking at your credit will see that you filed for bankruptcy. It does not mean that you will not get credit for 10 years but you must be very careful to protect yourself and your family from predatory lending practices that exist to take advantage of working people after filing a bankruptcy. You must use certain time honored methods to find the best deals for credit: shop around to compare prices and interest rates, do your homework and know how much you should pay for the particular item you want to purse. It is very important that you purchase wisely.
Can I keep my car and a credit card?
Yes, you can keep your car, so long as you can continue to maintain the payment, reaffirm the debt and keep it insured. Keeping a credit card is another matter. This is up to the creditor. With credit cards even if you have a zero balance, and the creditor is not listed in the bankruptcy and suffers no loss many credit card companies will usually revoke your account. Luckily it is easy for most people to get a credit card after filing a bankruptcy. The way the credit card companies look at it is you cannot file a Chapter 7 again for eight years there is no longer a risk that you might file since you can't.
We can refer you to a reputable credit counseling agency if you would like to discuss your options with them before you decide. You must be aware that they are often prejudiced in favor of you paying your credit cards rather than your mortgages and car loans because they receive their funding from the credit card companies. Only you can set your priorities. Keep in mind as you make your decisions.