In general, you are “fair game” for a creditor until a bankruptcy petition is actually filed with the court. As a practical matter, however, most creditors cease collection efforts once informed of the attorney’s name and telephone number.
If I've already been sued, can bankruptcy help me?
A bankruptcy filing will automatically stop all collection efforts. If you have been sued, and the bankruptcy is filed before a judgment is entered, no judgment can be entered. If a judgment has been entered before the filing of the bankruptcy, collection of the judgment is stopped. Note that until a bankruptcy petition is signed and filed with the court, lawsuits can still proceed, including the execution of judgment (levy on bank accounts).
Can a creditor repossess my property?
Yes, in some cases. When you borrow money to buy a car, the creditor can repossess it if you do not make your payments. Secured property is not repossessed if payments are kept current. If household goods are put up as collateral for loans from finance companies, the goods can be repossessed unless the lien is avoided in bankruptcy.
What property can I keep?
In general, you can keep your homestead, retirement accounts, personal and family household goods, and apparel. Most people are able to keep property such as motor vehicles or tools of your trade.
Will I get rid of all my debts in bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy will not discharge debts for child support, criminal restitution, income taxes due within three years of filing bankruptcy, property taxes, debts incurred by using false financial statements, pretenses or other fraud, and willful and malicious torts. Student loans are rarely discharged, and only if the bankruptcy court determines that payment would create a substantial financial hardship.
How does collateral work?
The collateral of a secured loan can be taken as collateral of all loans, secured or unsecured, at the same institution. This cross-collateralization of loans is standard practice at credit unions and usually at banks. Lenders stack the unsecured debt, such as a credit card, onto the collateral of the secured debt. If you have two automobiles financed at the same lender, both automobiles can be secured to each loan.
When may I discharge income taxes?
Income taxes can be discharged if more than three years have passed between the date the return was due and the bankruptcy filing unless an income tax return was not filed.
We will need to know if you 1) filed your return, 2) filed it on time, and 3) have received notice of levy or tax lien. We have a form you may sign that allows the IRS to provide a transcript of your tax record.
Will I ever get credit again after bankruptcy?
It is much easier to rebuild credit after a bankruptcy than in the past. After bankruptcy, make sure that your payments on continuing obligations, such as utilities, rent/mortgage payments, and car payments, are received before the due date. There will be no “grace” period. Not all creditors continue to send payment booklets after bankruptcy, so do not wait for a new booklet.
Realtors can assist in purchasing a home through non-qualifying assumable, contract for deed, HUD, VA, or FHA. Home mortgage loans are generally available after two years have elapsed (assuming you otherwise qualify for the loan).
Many major car dealerships advertise for customers who have bad credit, repossessions, foreclosures, or bankruptcy. Another way to help rebuild credit is through the judicious use of a secured credit card.
After bankruptcy, you will likely receive credit card offers (you may receive credit card offers during the bankruptcy), fresh start automobile financing offers, and checks in the mail from finance companies. Lenders, especially credit card companies, target people who have been discharged in bankruptcy.
Many clients use a debit card with fraud protection from MasterCard or VISA and draw against your checking account. If you want a credit card after the bankruptcy for emergencies, we recommend getting just one regular MasterCard or VISA, and then, don’t carry it.
How can I remove bankruptcy from my credit report?
No one can legally remove accurately reported information from your credit report. A bankruptcy notation will appear for 10 years.
After completing your bankruptcy, we will offer to review your credit reports to ensure that creditors and their agents are not intentionally or negligently misreporting the discharged debt.
To protect your credit report from excessive inquiries, you may opt-out by calling 888-567-8688.
If not bankruptcy, what else can I do?
Greenpath Financial Wellness (https://www.greenpath.com) is the ONLY debt consolidation organization we recommend.
Whatever you decide, do not continue to pile up debt. Excessive debt will prevent you from providing for yourself, your family, your children’s education, and your retirement. Bankruptcy can keep you from becoming dependent on welfare or relatives. Take back control of your future.