Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me
If you are struggling with your personal debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, you have two options: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of your nonexempt assets, which include your personal items like gaming consoles and jewelry, recreational vehicles, and anything else with monetary value that you own, but do not need to perform your job or conduct your day-to-day life. For example, musical instruments that belong to professional musicians are exempt from Chapter 7 liquidation because they enable the filer to earn an income.
Bankruptcy can be a complicated topic. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, first speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer about your rights and options.
Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Not all filers qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In order to qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass the Means Test.
If you earn less than the median income for a household of your size in your state, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you earn more than this amount, you can still qualify, but you must pass the Means Test. In order to pass, you must show that you have an insufficient amount of disposable income to repay your debt after subtracting your required expenses, such as your mortgage payment, from your monthly income. Your bankruptcy lawyer can help you fill out the Means Test forms to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do not qualify, consider filing for Chapter 13.
What Can I Expect from Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Expect to have your case handled by your bankruptcy trustee, whose role is to determine your assets, whether you have assets to liquidate, and how much money you owe your creditors. You can work with your lawyer to challenge determinations your trustee makes about the exemption status of certain assets.
You will need to pay a $335 filing fee and complete a credit counseling course to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee in one payment, you can make it in installments. Once your petition is filed, an automatic stay will go into effect. This is an order for your creditors to halt collection efforts.
Expect your credit score to suffer. A completed Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years after it is closed. This does not mean that you cannot work to rebuild your credit – you can and you should.
Work with an Experienced Merrillville Bankruptcy Attorney
Knowing when to file for bankruptcy is not always easy. If you find yourself drowning in debt, watching your debt levels rise because you cannot afford to repay your interest, let alone touch your principal, it might be time for you to consider bankruptcy. To learn more from an experienced bankruptcy attorney, contact The Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt, P.C. today to set up your free consultation with Mr. Schmidt.