Bankruptcy Basics
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To File Bankruptcy an individual, business or entity must file a petition in Federal Court. The purpose of bankruptcy laws is to relieve the burden of debt for those who can no longer pay the debts they have incurred. In many cases, most debts may be discharged or may be reorganized to allow for improved payment terms.

Under the current economic conditions, the number of individual bankruptcy cases continues to increase. Many people are seeking debt relief due to economic hardships such as loss of employment. The decision to File Bankruptcy is a personal and difficult decision for most people. Many people feel ashamed about their financial situation. In addition, people fear the stigma associated with filing bankruptcy.

While bankruptcy may provide financial relief, it does come with consequences. A bankruptcy on your record may prevent you from obtaining employment, insurance and buying or renting a home. However, having a poor credit record may have the same consequences. Ultimately, you will need to determine if it is feasible for you to pay off your debt. If it is realistically impossible, you may want to consider bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy not only provides relief from many of the debts you owe, it also puts an end to the constant barrage of phone calls from creditors and collection agencies. Unfortunately, once you fall behind in payments to your creditors, the relentless phone calls begin. This alone leads many people to seek bankruptcy as a solution. The burden of debt and phone calls is often too much pressure for most people to handle.

If you feel bankruptcy is your only option, you may want to seek the advice of a bankruptcy lawyer. In 2005, the bankruptcy laws were amended to make it more difficult for individuals to abuse the bankruptcy laws. However, the amended laws have made it more difficult for those who may need to File Bankruptcy.

It is true you do not have to retain the services of a lawyer to File Bankruptcy. You may visit uscourts.gov to download the necessary forms. There are two sections of forms. Each section has over 25 forms, which may or may not be needed depending on the type of bankruptcy you are filing. Along with the forms are detailed instructions on how to complete each form. Few people have the time or wherewithal to maneuver this incredible maze of forms. Navigating the bankruptcy laws and requirements is a challenge, to say the least.

A lawyer can help you determine the bankruptcy you may need to file. Under current bankruptcy law, the following type of bankruptcies may be filed as stated by the United States Courts (uscourts.gov):

  • Chapter 7 Liquidation
  • Chapter 9 Municipality
  • Chapter 11 Reorganization
  • Chapter 12 Family Farmer or Family Fisherman
  • Chapter 13 Debt Adjustment – Individual
  • Chapter 15 Cross-Border or Ancillary

Seeking legal advice once you have decided to File Bankruptcy may provide the reassurance you need to make peace with your decision. A lawyer may help you understand the legal implications of filing bankruptcy. In addition, he or she may help you understand how filing bankruptcy will affect your life going forward.

The decision to File Bankruptcy is difficult and not to be taken lightly. However, for those struggling with debt and collection calls, it may be the only solution depending on an individual’s financial situation. If you are ready for debt relief, we recommend that you request a free evaluation to determine if bankruptcy can help you.


Reasons To File Bankruptcy

There are many reasons people are unable to pay their debts. Millions of people are struggling financially because they simply did not control their spending habits. This is a credit society and the use of credit cards has caused financial trouble for many people. In addition, many people are in a financial quandary due to job loss or medical bills. The average American has an estimated $8,000 in credit card debt. In addition car loans have become a fact of life and most people have a car loan for over $21,000.

Over 70 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. High gas prices, food prices, and skyrocketing utilities have caused people to fall behind on payments to their creditors. Falling behind on payments causes balances to rise. Many creditors will raise the interest rate in addition to charge exorbitant late fees. This makes it difficult for a person to pay the debt. Unfortunately, the high cost of a college education has many graduates burdened with over $20,000 in student loan debt.

Millions of Americans are struggling under the burden of debt. For many people bankruptcy may be the only viable option to free them from debt. However, most people avoid bankruptcy and many people do not know when to file bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy is a difficult choice. The average person feels he or she has a moral obligation to pay debts. While this is admirable, it may not be possible for many people to repay their debts. Credit cards are especially difficult to pay off. Most people barely make the minimum monthly payment. Each month additional interest accumulates.

If you are burdened with debt, you should try contacting your creditors to negotiate a lower interest rate. If you are barely able to make the monthly payments, you can ask for a lower payment. However, a lower payment will keep you in debt longer.
Another option is to use a debt counseling service. You need to be wary though, as some services charge high fees. You want to choose a nonprofit service that charges a low maintenance fee. A debt counseling service will negotiate a repayment plan with each of your creditors. You pay one monthly payment to the debt counseling service. The service will distribute the payments to your creditors. If you are unable to meet your obligations because you do not have the income needed to maintain payments, it may be time to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will offer you a fresh start and will relieve you of many of your debts. However, you will have difficulty obtaining credit once your debts have been discharged. The good news is collection calls will cease and you can begin rebuilding your life. Filing bankruptcy will not solve all of your problems. It can also prevent you from getting a job, insurance, and credit. If you are contemplating when to file bankruptcy, you may want to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is your best option. The bankruptcy process is complicated and an attorney can guide you through the process of filing. The amount of your debt will determine if bankruptcy is right for you. You do not want to spend the rest of your life trying to pay debts that are impossible to pay.

If you want to determine if bankruptcy is your best option, you can complete the request for a free evaluation. A local attorney who can help you determine if you should file bankruptcy will evaluate your case. The evaluation is free and you are under no obligation to move forward with bankruptcy.

Should I file Bankruptcy?

Since the real estate bubble burst a few years ago, many people are facing a financial conundrum. Unemployment and rising prices for commodities such as gas, food, and utilities have many people teetering on the edge of financial disaster. People are finding it difficult to make the minimum monthly payments to creditors. One question on the minds of millions of struggling people is Should I File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy may provide a fresh start for many people. However, the decision to file should not be made hastily. There are a few alternative solutions to consider before filing bankruptcy. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider the following alternatives:

  • Negotiate a payment plan with your creditors
  • Join a nonprofit credit counseling service
  • Sell assets to pay off your creditors (You should not liquidiate retirement funds)

Unfortunately, many people do not have the necessary income or assets to use the above options. If you cannot pay your debts and are threatened by creditors, you may want to consider filing bankruptcy. If creditors are garnishing your pay or the collections calls are unbearable, you are ready to file bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy provides relief from pressing debts and allows you to reorganize your life with a fresh start. As soon as you file and receive a case number, the collection calls will cease. While many people feel ashamed of running away from their debts, most people will experience instant relief from the burden of the debts and the harassment that comes with falling behind. In addition, if you are struggling to keep the roof over your head to avoid becoming homeless, filing bankruptcy may be your only solution. It is important to understand you are not alone. Millions of people are filing or have filed bankruptcy.

For many, bankruptcy was the only viable solution to solve their debt issues. While most people are not proud they filed bankruptcy, they are happy for the chance of a fresh start. Bankruptcy is not a perfect solution because it does come with consequences. It may be years before you are able to use credit and this may make it difficult to finance a vehicle. It may prevent you from getting a new job if the employer performs a credit check as a requirement for the job. In some instances, it may be difficult to obtain insurance if the insurance company requires a credit check before issuing a policy.

However, none of these consequences is insurmountable. With time, you can rebuild your credit history and after 10-years, the bankruptcy is removed from your credit file. Many people actually avoid using credit after bankruptcy. The memory of the burden of enormous debt has most people committed to living within their means. Recovering from bankruptcy is not easy; however, it is easier than trying to pay debts you know you can never pay off. Bankruptcy has helped millions of people and it may help you. It may provide you with the opportunity to start a new life without the stress of overbearing debts and harassment of collection calls.

If you are unsure if bankruptcy can help your present financial condition, you should speak with an attorney. You can get a free evaluation by completing the evaluation form. A local attorney will evaluate your case and provide the appropriate recommendation. You are under no obligation to hire an attorney. However, this evaluation may help you determine if bankruptcy is the best solution for your situation. Complete the free evaluation form today and take the first step toward a new chapter in your life.

Can I File Bankruptcy?

Many people are struggling to maintain payments on debts, especially credit cards. The economic downturn has left many people without jobs. It is difficult to continue monthly payments if your only source of income is unemployment compensation. In addition, even if you get a job, you may be far behind in your monthly payments. It is difficult to catch up payments when the interest rate has increased and late fees have accumulated. Many people ask, Can I File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy should not be your first choice. If you have a small amount of debt, you should contact your creditors to work out a new payment plan. Many creditors are offering reduced payments, interest and a reduction of late fees. You may want to use the services provided by a reputable credit-counseling agency. The agency will negotiate lower payments and interest rates with your creditors. You pay one monthly payment to the agency. The agency will then distribute the funds to your creditors. You can also hire an attorney who will help you settle your debt with your creditors. An attorney can negotiate a settlement agreement with each of your creditors.

If you have a significant amount of debt and you are falling behind in your monthly payments, you can file bankruptcy. However, under the current bankruptcy procedure, you may be required to show proof you attempted to use other means to gain control of your debts such as credit counseling. Most people wait too long to file with the hopes they will somehow have the ability to pay their creditors. If you are considering bankruptcy and have used all available resources to manage your debt, you may want to seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney.

You are not required to hire an attorney to file bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy process is complicated and most people will experience difficulty when attempting to file on their own. The bankruptcy law is more stringent to prevent fraud. While anyone can file bankruptcy, not every case will result in a discharge of debts. The process begins when you file a petition with the Federal Court. The petition requires information regarding your income, assets, and a list of all your creditors. This information is used to determine if you meet the qualifications for a discharge of your debts. A person who has a significant source of income and assets cannot file bankruptcy as a way to get rid of debt. Any person filing bankruptcy must meet specific criteria depending on the type of bankruptcy the person has chosen to file. If you are not sure if you qualify to file bankruptcy, you can seek the advice of a lawyer. An lawyer can review your income, assets, and debts to determine the best course of action.

Filing bankruptcy is a difficult choice. Most people try to avoid bankruptcy and only file when there are no other viable options. The number of people filing bankruptcy continues to increase. There are consequences; however, the consequences are essentially the same as having poor credit. If you are struggling financially and creditors are hounding you for payments, it may be time to consider filing bankruptcy. Your first step toward bankruptcy is to seek the advice of a lawyer.
You can get a free evaluation of your financial situation that will help you determine if you should file bankruptcy. You can complete the form below to have your case evaluated by a local attorney. Once you get your evaluation, you can decide whether you want to proceed with filing. You will not be under any obligation to use the services of an attorney.

How to File Bankruptcy

If you have exhausted all options to resolve your financial dilemma, you may need to file bankruptcy. Instructions on How to File Bankruptcy are quite cumbersome and complicated. In addition, you will need a reasonable understanding of the bankruptcy law to determine which bankruptcy filing is appropriate to your specific situation.

Your first step is to determine where you can file bankruptcy in your area. Bankruptcy documents are filed in the U.S. Federal Courts. State courts do not have jurisdiction in bankruptcy cases. A few of the required documents can be filed electronically at the U.S. Court website. You can file these documents if you choose to handle your own bankruptcy case. You are not required to hire an attorney under the current bankruptcy law. However, due to the extensive filing procedures and required forms, most people choose to hire an attorney.

The next step requires you to submit a completed Unites States Bankruptcy Court Voluntary Petition. This is a three- page document, which must be completed accurately or it may be rejected by the U.S. Bankruptcy court. This is the first document of many required documents in the bankruptcy process. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you are filing, the petition may require you to complete several Exhibit documents. All documents must be submitted along with the filing fee.
For each type of bankruptcy, there are specific requirements regarding the information you will need to provide the court. The following are examples of the type of information you may be required to provide:

  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • List of Creditors
  • Income
  • Tax returns
  • Expenditures

If you choose to file your own bankruptcy, you will need to review the detailed instructions on the U.S. Court website. You will also need to review the forms such as Exhibit documents and Schedule documents. The instructions on How to File Bankruptcy will provide you with instructions for each type of bankruptcy filing. All of the necessary forms are available at uscourts.gov. The forms are available for purchase through a bankruptcy software program. However, many of these programs may not have the most recent version of the forms.

Most people struggle with the decision to file bankruptcy. Once the decision is made, many people find the complex process is overwhelming. Unfortunately, determining the best course of action is not as simple as most people might think. In addition, there is no guarantee your case will result in a favorable outcome. While much of the process is administrative in nature, completing the process does require extensive research if you choose to file bankruptcy on your own. This is a time consuming process for those who lack the knowledge of bankruptcy laws and requirements.

For most people, hiring an attorney is a more favorable method of filing bankruptcy. You still need to provide the necessary financial information; however, an attorney will guide you through the entire process. In addition, the attorney may offer valuable advice regarding the type of bankruptcy that is appropriate for your financial dilemma. If you read the How to File Bankruptcy instructions provided by the court, you will see the language is predominately legal in nature. The legal terminology is difficult to decipher. Of course, attorneys understand this language.

If you have made the difficult decision to file bankruptcy, you can complete the form to request an evaluation of your case with a local bankruptcy attorney. Once you have requested the evaluation, you are under no further obligation if you choose not to use an attorney. However, you may feel a sense of relief knowing you have an attorney to assist you through this arduous and complex process.

What Happens When I File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a decision most people wish they did not have to face. Unfortunately, rising unemployment, medical costs and monthly expenses such as utilities have many people struggling to keep the roof over their heads. Consumers have incurred exorbitant debt on credit cards and many can no longer afford to pay their debts. For many individuals, bankruptcy is necessary to overcome their surmounting debt. If you have made the decision to file bankruptcy, you are undoubtedly asking, “What happens when I File Bankruptcy?”

Once you file the petition, the relief is almost immediate. Upon receiving a case number, the bankruptcy clerk notifies the creditors listed in your petition. The first thing you notice is the phone calls stop. Your creditors must cease collection activities including phone calls. Many people avoid answering the phone in fear of the dreaded collection call. Amazingly, you can answer your phone again knowing there will not be a bill collector on the other end of the line. In addition, your mailbox is no longer filled with bills that you cannot pay.

The next step is a meeting with the trustee and creditors. This meeting causes anxiety and stress. However, the meeting is actually simple and there is no need to worry. If you have hired an attorney to file your bankruptcy, the attorney is normally at the meeting. The meeting is usually quick, as most creditors will not ask questions. You are sworn under oath before the meeting proceeds. The trustee will ask for your legal name and your current address. The trustee may ask if everything contained in your petition is correct. This meeting will take place within two months of filing the petition.

If you filed Chapter 7, you wait until you receive the Notice of Discharge. If you filed another type of bankruptcy, the notice will be specific to that bankruptcy. Most individuals file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If you filed Chapter 13, you will have a meeting with the trustee and creditors to review your repayment proposal. If you hired an attorney, your attorney will be present during the meeting. You will receive notification if the proposal is accepted and when it is effective. You make your payment to the court and the trustee will distribute the funds to your creditors.

If you filed Chapter 7, once you receive the discharge you are relieved of the debts you claimed on the petition. Your creditors can no longer seek payment for those debts. While bankruptcy does have consequences, most people feel relieved once the bankruptcy process is complete. If you filed Chapter 13, you begin paying the agreed repayment plan. Within three to five years, your debt should be paid in full.
Your credit rating will suffer for quite some time. The bankruptcy will remain on your credit record for 10 years. However, most people prefer not to use credit cards after successfully filing bankruptcy. You may still qualify for loans or credit; however, the interest rate will be high. Many people learn to live within their means after filing bankruptcy and avoid over extending their finances. While it takes time to recover from bankruptcy, most people are glad they filed. It provides a new start in life and provides a valuable lesson in money management.

Filing bankruptcy is not a first choice for most people. However, for many it is the only viable option to resolve their financial hardship. If you have decided to file bankruptcy, complete the free evaluation request form. A local attorney will evaluate your case. The free evaluation does not obligate you to use the services of an attorney. However, you have nothing to lose by completing the evaluation.

File Bankruptcy Online

Unfortunately, you cannot File Bankruptcy Online. While jurisdiction falls within the Federal Courts, you are required to file your case in your local Federal court that serves your district. However, a few options are available to make the bankruptcy process less cumbersome.

Online Bankruptcy Services
A quick search on the Internet will result in a list of companies who provide bankruptcy services online. The services these companies offer vary from company to company. The following is a list of services companies may provide:

  • Online questionnaire
  • Document preparation
  • Attorney review of documents
  • Document completion within 24 hours
  • Money back guarantee

The online questionnaire is designed to guide individuals through a systematic process to provide the necessary information to complete the bankruptcy documents. The service cannot file your bankruptcy electronically. They mail or email the completed documents for your signature. You then go to the court to file the documents. In addition to the fee the bankruptcy service charges, you have to pay the filing fee required by the court. While many services advertise the price of bankruptcy as $250 or more, you must consider the total cost. For example, $250 plus the $299 dollar filing fee for Chapter 7, results in a total cost of $549.00. Some services offer an attorney review of the documents; however, the attorney will not be present during any meetings with the court and creditors.

Online Bankruptcy Software
For a fee, you can use online software to complete your bankruptcy documents. The average fee for this service is $140. The software program guides you through each step to complete the required forms. Once you are finished, you can print your bankruptcy documents. Keep in mind; you must still pay the filing fee at the court. Based on the average fee of $140 plus the $299 filing fee, you can expect to pay a total of $439 to file Chapter 7. The online software is similar to the at-home software you can buy. The software provides the necessary forms and utilizes a series of questions to auto-complete the forms. The advantage of using online software is most companies provide customer service. If you have questions, you are able to call customer service for guidance.

Uscourts.gov

This is the official Federal Court website. Here, you will find downloadable voluntary petition documents and other related bankruptcy documents. In addition, the website provides instructions for each document. The site does not charge any fees to download documents. Sadly, most people find reading the lengthy instructions to be a confusing and tedious. In addition, if you have questions, you will have to search for the answers. While this is the cheapest method of filing bankruptcy, it may not be the best choice. Unless you fully understand the law, you are apt to make potentially costly mistakes. Once you read the instructions and see the numerous documents, it is likely you will avoid using this method to file bankruptcy. You may develop a newfound respect for the legal services an attorney provides.

If filing bankruptcy using online resources does not appeal to your senses, you can always hire an attorney. While this is usually more expensive, the benefit of legal advice and guidance is immeasurable. The administrative process of filing bankruptcy is quite easy. However, the completion of documents and satisfying the legal requirements is overwhelming.
Take a moment to complete the free evaluation request before using an online bankruptcy service. A local attorney who can help you complete the bankruptcy process evaluates your information. This free evaluation does not obligate you to use the services of an attorney. However, the evaluation may help you choose the appropriate method for your situation.

Cost to File Bankruptcy

As people continue to struggle financially, many people are considering the idea of filing bankruptcy. The stigma associated with bankruptcy prevents many people from filing. In addition, the cost of filing bankruptcy has many people wondering if they can afford to file. How much to File Bankruptcy may depend on the following factors:

  • Type of Bankruptcy
  • Do-it-yourself filing
  • Using a Bankruptcy Service
  • Hiring an Attorney

Do-it-yourself filing is less expensive; however, the process is complex and it is not recommended to file on your own. Gaining a clear understanding of the bankruptcy law requires extensive research and study of the law. The best method for filing bankruptcy is to hire an attorney.

Two of the most common bankruptcies filed are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Following is the fee schedule for each:

Chapter 7
$299 is collected when you file the initial petition. The $299 includes the $245 filing fee, $39 administrative fee and the $15 surcharge fee for the trustee. If you can demonstrate financial hardship, the court may allow you to make up to four payments. To be approved to make payments requires you complete an additional form.

Chapter 13
To file the initial petition, the fee is $274. This fee includes the $235 and an administration fee of $39. You can also request to pay this amount in installments. However, you will have to apply for approval.
The above costs are not all-inclusive. There may be additional fees associated with filing bankruptcy. The court charges ancillary fees for such items as document reproduction, certification an exemplification of documents.

If you use a bankruptcy filing service or an attorney, the total cost to file bankruptcy will vary. It is important to mention most bankruptcy filing services will complete the documents for you and will file the documents with the court. However, the filing services may not evaluate your case for the best course of action. If you request to file under Chapter 7, the service will simply complete the documents for you without offering any recommendations. If you conduct a search for filing services, you may discover hundreds of companies. You will have to research each company to ensure you choose a reputable company with reasonable fees. In addition, if you have questions or concerns regarding your financial situation, most companies are unable or unqualified to provide you with legal or financial advice.

Generally speaking, hiring a lawyer is usually the most costly method of filing bankruptcy. However, lawyers are adept in the language of legalese and understand court procedure. The services a lawyer can provide goes beyond simply completing and filing the necessary documents. A lawyer will provide a complete review of your financial condition and offer the appropriate recommendations. When you hire a lawyer to handle your bankruptcy case, you will have the benefit of receiving appropriate legal advice and legal representation. Many people will attempt to file bankruptcy on their own. Once they realize the complexity, they quickly engage the services of an attorney.

If you have made the decision to file bankruptcy, you will need to decide how you should file. If you choose to file on your own, you should visit uscourts.gov to obtain the forms and instructions. Once you see how complicated the process is, you may prefer to request a free evaluation by a local attorney. Simply complete the evaluation form below. You will not be under any obligation to use the services of an attorney. The free evaluation will help you determine the course of action that will be best to solve your financial dilemma. Take the first step toward financial freedom!