Other Common Questions

Q: Explain the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

A: The person filing bankruptcy is known as the "Debtor". Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharges debts other than debts the Debtor chooses to keep paying and those debts that Chapter 7 cannot discharge. Debts that Chapter 7 cannot discharge include child support and most tax debts. Debts that a Debtor might choose to keep paying include debts owed on a home or car.

The Debtor is allowed to keep some (and often all) of his property in Chapter 7. However, if he owns property that is worth significantly more than what is owed on it, such property may be sold to pay creditors; but, see Chapter 13 below.

In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Debtor pays the portion of his income that exceeds basic living expenses to the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee. The Trustee disburses the funds to creditors according to a plan approved by the Bankruptcy Court. When all payments to the Trustee have been made, the Debtor's debts are discharged other than debts that Chapter 13 cannot discharge. The most common debt that Chapter 13 cannot discharge is future child support.

A typical Chapter 13 Bankruptcy must last a minimum of 3 years and may not exceed 5 years. A typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lasts about 4 months.

Q: Should I file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

A: A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy usually discharges all of the debts that the person filing bankruptcy ("Debtor") wants to discharge. Also, the Debtor usually gets to keep all of the property that he wants to keep. A Chapter 7 is usually over in about 4 months. As a result, Chapter 7 is often preferred over Chapter 13.

In general, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is appropriate in any of the following situations: (1) Debtor owns property that is worth significantly more than what is owed on it and wants to keep the property; (2) Debtor has missed payments on his house and wants to keep the house. Missed payments are repaid over time. Chapter 13 cannot lower a home mortgage monthly payment; but, it can almost always lower car payments and other debt payments to free up money to pay a home mortgage monthly payment; (3) Debtor is behind on his car and wants to keep the car. Debts on cars are renegotiated and paid off over time; (4) Debtor owes money on something that he wants to keep, but the payments are too high to afford. The loan can, in many cases, be renegotiated so that the payments are lower; (5) Debtor is having problems with missed payments on child support. The missed payments are repaid over time; (6) Debtor is having problems with back taxes. Back taxes are repaid over time. Penalties stop and if no tax lien has been filed the interest stops too.

Q: Will bankruptcy stop repossessions, civil lawsuits, wage garnishments, foreclosures; and, stop my creditors from calling me on the telephone?

A: Bankruptcy stops repossessions, civil lawsuits and foreclosures. As a general rule, bankruptcy stops wage garnishments and creditors must stop calling on the telephone. The types of creditors that may continue to garnish or call on the telephone usually don't.

Q: Will I be able to get a loan after filing bankruptcy?

A: Lenders have been known to make loans to persons who have recently filed bankruptcy. However, they are usually not home loans and usually not at a good interest rate.

It may be impossible to get a good loan after filing bankruptcy. On the other hand, it may be impossible to get a good loan now with a record of late payments and loan defaults. One thing is for certain: in general, the ability to get a good loan after bankruptcy will improve over time as long as a person has a steady source of income and has paid his bills on time since the bankruptcy was filed.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.