F.A.Q.



1. What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

 

Under the federal bankruptcy statute, a discharge is a release of the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. In other words, the debtor is no longer required by law to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge operates as a permanent order directed to the creditors of the debtor that they refrain from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts. Although a debtor is relieved of personal liability for all debts that are discharged, a valid lien (i.e., a charge upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided (i.e., made unenforceable) in the bankruptcy case will remain after the bankruptcy case. Therefore, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien.

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What happens when I file a chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

 

Under the federal bankruptcy statute, a discharge is a release of the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. In other words, the debtor is no longer required by law to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge operates as a permanent order directed to the creditors of the debtor that they refrain from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts. Although a debtor is relieved of personal liability for all debts that are discharged, a valid lien (i.e., a charge upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided (i.e., made unenforceable) in the bankruptcy case will remain after the bankruptcy case. Therefore, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien.

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Why do people file a chapter 7 bankruptcy?

 

Generally people file chapter 7 bankruptcy if they have a large amount of unsecured debt such as credit card debt or medical expenses that they are no longer able to pay. Often unemployment, unexpected medical expenses, or divorce prompt the cause the debtor to seek protection from creditors by filing chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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What is chapter 13 bankruptcy?

 

In a chapter 13 case you file a plan showing how you will pay off some of your past-due and current debts over a period of three to five years. The most important thing about a chapter 13 case is that it will allow you to keep valuable property, like your home or car, even if you are behind on payments or you have equity not covered by your exemptions. Your payments on these secured debts will generally be your regular monthly payments plus some extra amount if you need to get caught up because you are behind when you file.
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Why do people file a chapter 13 bankruptcy?

 

Generally, people file chapter 13 if they have valuable property not covered by an exemption, like a home or car, but want to keep this property. If a debtor is behind on secured loan payments a chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow the debtor to make up these payments over time while keeping the home or car.

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Will I have to go to court?

 

In most bankruptcy cases, you only have to go to a proceeding called the “meeting of creditors” or a “341 meeting” to meet with the bankruptcy trustee and any creditor who chooses to come. This meeting will take place about 30 or 40 days after the bankruptcy filing. The trustee is not a judge but an individual appointed by the United States Trustee to oversee your case. Most of the time, this meeting will be a short and simple procedure where you are asked a few questions about your bankruptcy forms and your financial situation. Occasionally, if a creditor or the trustee files a motion or an adversary action or if you choose to dispute a debt, you may have to appear before a judge at a hearing. If you need to go to court, you will receive notice of the court date and time from the court and/or from your attorney.
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Will filing bankruptcy affect my credit?

 

There is no clear answer to this question. Unfortunately, if you are behind on your bills, your credit may already be bad. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse. The fact that you filed bankruptcy, if properly explained, may be less damaging than a history of unpaid accounts.

The fact that you have filed a bankruptcy will appear on your credit record for ten years. But since bankruptcy wipes out your old debts, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and you may be able to get new credit. The best way to restore your credit is to obtain new credit and make the payments on the new debt on time.
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Can filing bankruptcy stop bill collectors from calling?

 

Yes. The automatic stay prevents bill collectors from taking any action to collect debts.
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WHAT IS A DISCHARGE IN BANKRUPTCY?

 

Under the federal bankruptcy statute, a discharge is a release of the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. In other words, the debtor is no longer required by law to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge operates as a permanent order directed to the creditors of the debtor that they refrain from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts. Although a debtor is relieved of personal liability for all debts that are discharged, a valid lien (i.e., a charge upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided (i.e., made unenforceable) in the bankruptcy case will remain after the bankruptcy case. Therefore, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien.
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MAY THE DEBTOR PAY A DISCHARGED DEBT AFTER THE BANKRUPTCY CASE HAS BEEN CONCLUDED?

 

A debtor who has received a discharge may voluntarily repay any discharged debt. A debtor may repay a discharged debt even though it can no longer be legally enforced. Sometimes a debtor agrees to repay a debt because it is owed to a family member or because it represents an obligation to an individual for whom the debtor’s reputation is important, such as a family doctor.
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