Bankruptcy FAQ’s

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Bankruptcy FAQ’s, Phoenix

What is the difference between a chapter 7 and 13?

*   Chapter 7 is a liquidation of all unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical debt, personal loans, deficiency balances on repos and foreclosures whereby the debt is simply eliminated by the courts because there is no physical way to pay back any of the debt.
*  Chapter 13 is a restructuring on the debt to allow for a partial or full repayment of the debt over time.  Chapter 13 may allow the client to keep assets that would otherwise have to be surrendered in a Chapter 7.

How long do I have to wait after a chapter 13 to file a chapter 7?

  • This depends on how much of the debt was repaid in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Can I strip the lien in a 13 and convert to a 7?

*   No, because the lien is not officially stripped until the discharge of the debt occurs upon completion of the repayment plan.

Do I have to be current on my payments to keep my car/house?

  • In a chapter 7, yes.  If you are delinquent on your vehicle, you may be able to redeem an it through a 722 redemption, however.

  • In a chapter 13, you do not have to be current.

I have 3 vehicles and I want to keep all of them, can I?

  • Each filer is entitled to keep up to $5000 equity in a vehicle.  If a married couple files, they can each protect up to $5000 each in a vehicle.  This can be $5000 on 2 different vehicles OR $10,000 on one.  If there is no equity in the third, the trustee has no reason to go after that vehicle.  In this case, it could be possible to keep 3 vehicles.

Can I keep my boat / motorhome in the bk?

  • In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, no.
  • In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, it may be possible

Will the trustee come to my home and look through my stuff?

*  Not likely

Why should I pay your fees for my bankruptcy when there are signs everywhere for $200 bankruptcies?

  • Document preparers can prepare your documents for $200.  They can not give you any legal advice, they do not review your filing, they can not go to court with you.  They do not perform the means test and they can do not facilitate your credit counseling.  Our attorneys are trained in all of the new bankruptcy laws to get your case filed right the first time, from start to finish.  We will even be in court with you the one time you are required to attend.

Why do I have to pay all of the fees before you can start working on my case?

  • We will actually start working on your case the day you retain us. We simply can’t do the actual filing of the case until the fees are paid in full.
  • The bankruptcy court needs to ensure that you come out or your bankruptcy debt free, so they will not allow us to represent you in your bankruptcy while we are considered a creditor in your case.  Besides, it would be a conflict of interest.

If I make payments, can I keep using one of my credit cards and have it for emergencies after the bankruptcy?

  • Typically, the creditor will find out about the bankruptcy and automatically cancel the credit card anyways.  We have to list ALL creditors in the petition.  You can get a secured credit card right after filing through any local bank and will have multiple credit cards within 6 months of doing so.

Will I lose my insurance because I am filing bankruptcy?

  • No. Bankruptcy is a government program that can not be used against you.

My son/daughter is the only one who drives my car that is paid off and worth more than $5000. Can I transfer the title to him/her?

  • No. Transferring the title to them would be a fraudulent transfer.  The trustee would view it as an attempt to hide the asset in effort not to lose it.  They would require the vehicle back from your son/daughter, sell it and distribute the proceeds amongst your creditors.

If the payments in a chapter 13 are too high, can I get the amount changed?

  • It is very important that you be able to make the plan payment that is proposed.  Otherwise, your case could be dismissed and your creditors would resume their collection efforts.  IF your income decreases, the courts may approve a reduction in your payment.  If it diminishes enough, you may be eligible to convert to a chapter 7.

Can I be late on a trustee payment?

  • It is not recommended, although the trustee will typically work with you to get on track.

What happens if I don’t make a trustee payment?

  • Your case could be dismissed, although the trustee will typically work with you to get on track.

Will I be able to keep my house in a chapter 7 if I file before my next payment (that I don’t have the money for) is due?

  • Yes, you can keep your house IF you are current on the day you file.  You must then be able to make your current payments, however.  Otherwise, you will be subject to any delinquency penalties as you would if you were not in bankruptcy.

How is chapter 13 any different than debt settlement?

  • In a Chapter 13, your creditors are required by law to cooperate with the trustee.  They can not seek a judgment or any other legal action against you for the duration of the plan… as long as you remain current with your plan payment.  At the end of the plan payment, any unpaid balance to unsecured creditors is discharged.
  • In debt settlement, creditors can decide whether or not they want to participate in your program, they can take legal action against you at any time and your debt can continue to accrue penalties and interest.

I have been living here for a year but I am living with relatives, don’t have a driver’s license, don’t have a bank account, I have not changed my address with the post office and I did not change my address on any of my bills when I moved. How do I prove residency to file a bk?

  • By signing the petition under oath, your signature and word will suffice.

Can you negotiate the mortgage payment amount in a bankruptcy?

  • There is currently no provision for negotiating a mortgage within the bankruptcy code.  It may be possible to strip a lien in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however.

How long does it take to file?

  • We can typically get your case filed within a few weeks of the fees being paid

How long is the process from start to finish?

  • Once the case is filed, you have one court appearance within about 45 days.  After that, it is about 2 months to receive the discharge.

How much does it cost?

  • Our fees are quoted by the attorney once he/she has a chance to fully review your case.  We are very competitive.  Once we have a clear picture of your financial circumstance, we will do everything we can to make the fees work for you.

If I can’t qualify for a chapter 7 then I do not want to file a chapter 13! (there are some great benefits to a chapter 13 under certain conditions- Lien stripping, interest rates, etc.)

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