Monday, November 26, 2012

Will filing bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?

Yes.  A federal law called the "automatic stay" is invoked when a bankruptcy is filed.  Once the company garnishing your wages is notified of the bankruptcy, the garnishment must stop.  Monies taken after your bankruptcy was filed must be returned.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What are the chapter 13 debt limits?

Congress has set certain limits for chapter 13 filers. The debt limits will be adjusted next April 1, 2013.  At present they are $ 360,475.00 for unsecured debt and $ 1,081,400.00 for secured debt.  If you owe more than that, you can still file a personal chapter 11 case.

What are the court filing fees to file a new bankruptcy case?

Chapter 7 - $ 306.00

Chapter 11 - $1,213.00

Chapter 12 -  $ 246.00

Chapter 13 - $ 281.00

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How Can I Make Sure my Case Goes Smoothly?

I attended a seminar recently where a chapter 7 trustee indicated that he seems to get the blame whenever a debtor has to turn over property to him.  This sort of blame is usually the result of communication problems between the debtor and her attorney, or due to inexperience on the part of the attorney.

You can make sure that your case goes smoothly and that you do not unexpectedly lose any assets to the chapter 7 trustee.  This process can be enhanced by expressing any concerns to your attorney and being honest and providing full disclosure to your attorney.  In some cases you will lose certain non-exempt property when you file bankruptcy.  This may be avoided by careful pre-bankruptcy planning and discussion with your attorney.  If you take action without knowing the law or discussing it with your attorney, you may open yourself up to liability, loss of money, loss of time, loss of discharge, and, in extreme cases, loss of your freedom.      

Remember, the bankruptcy discharge can convey great benefits upon you.  Follow the rules and talk to your attorney and  you won't have any unexpected difficulties.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I received my discharge, but the trustee is still asking me for things.

People often confuse discharge and case closure.   The discharge is the document that eliminates your personal responsibility for your debts.  It does not discharge your trustee from your case.  Your trustee may hold your case open, if there are assets, or there might be assets.  If there are no assets, or if the trustee has collected all assets from you and distributed them to creditors, then the trustee will file a final report.  Once the final report is done the trustee will ask that the case be closed.  In most cases, once your case is closed, the bankruptcy process is over for you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What do you get to keep when you file bankruptcy?

When you file a bankruptcy, a bankruptcy estate is created which consists of all of your assets.  You may be able to exempt certain assets, depending on the chapter and what state you live in.  To exempt something means to cite the law that allows you to retain it.  In most jurisdictions you are able to retain a certain amount of equity in a home, equity in one or more vehicles, certain household belongings and other things.  If you have assets that are of particular value, be sure to consult with a bankruptcy attorney about it BEFORE you decide to file bankruptcy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Credit counseling

Before you can file your bankruptcy case, you will have to obtain a certificate from an "approved" credit counseling agency.  In order to get the certificate you generally go through an interview process with the repesentative of the counseling agency.  The interview will relate to your income and expenses, and the obligations that you owe.  The interview may be in person, by telephone, or on the internet.  You will have to pay a fee, typically $ 50.00 or less for the agency to issue the certificate to you.  You can see a list of government approved credit counseling agencies at

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What is a discharge and how does one get one?

The "discharge" is what most people who file for bankruptcy are seeking to obtain.  It eliminates a debtor's personal obligation to repay a debt or debts. Unless there are some problems with your bankruptcy, the discharge is normally entered automatically at some point after you have filed your financial management course certificate with the court.  In chapter 7, the discharge is usually entered a few months after your creditor's meeting.  In chapter 13, the dischare is usually entered after you have made all of your payments under the plan.  A chapter 11 discharge is usually entered in accordance with directions in the confirmation order.