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BankruptcyMany people live paycheck-to-paycheck, and if that paycheck stops coming, the bills can’t get paid.  There’s only so much you can do to borrow to get through the next week or month, until the cycle starts all over again.  At some point, you realize that you can no longer pay your debts. This means the potential for losing your home, your car and your pride.  Creditors start calling, and keep calling, no matter how many times you tell them that you can’t pay.


So, what do you do?  For many, Bankruptcy is a good option to get back on track.  Bankruptcy can help discharge many different kinds of debts. 

Credit cards, hospital bills, utility bills, personal loans and other unsecured debt may all be forgiven in bankruptcy proceedings.   Certain debts, such as government funded student loans cannot be discharged, and secured debt such as home and car loans may be discharged but not without losing that property if you fail to continue to pay.


The two most popular types of bankruptcy filings are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Most consumers will file a Chapter 7.  Some consumers with larger assets and incomes who do not qualify for Chapter 7 may opt for Chapter 13.  Your eligibility is based on a “means” test, which takes into account your gross income over the last 6 months, and formulates your eligibility status using guidelines set forth by the US Government.  You will also be required to attend an online credit-counseling course prior to filing.  If you are eligible, the bankruptcy petition is filed with the Courts and creditors are notified.  At that point an “Automatic Stay” comes into effect, which means creditors must cease calling, and foreclosures, wage garnishments and repossessions can be stopped.


Once your bankruptcy is filed and creditors notified, your case is assigned to a “Trustee” who acts as an arm of the Courts and will oversee your case while your petition is pending.  You will then be required to attend a “341 Meeting of Creditors.”  At that meeting, you, your attorney, the “Trustee” and any creditors who choose to attend verify all of the information that you have submitted, and if there are no issues or objections, your meeting is concluded.  You will then be required to attend a final online class on financial management.  If there are no other issues or objections, your bankruptcy is finalized and you will receive a “discharge”, which is the permission to absolve your debt.


If you are considering bankruptcy, you should contact a lawyer who can prepare and file the paperwork, guide you through the complex rules, accompany you to the “341Meeting” and finalize the process.  Be sure to have all of your recent bills, pay stubs and tax returns, and any letters from creditors that you may have received and bring them to your consultation.  Be sure that any attorney you hire is actively involved in the preparation of your case, not just a paralegal.  This will ensure that your case goes smoothly on the day of court.


DISCLAIMER:  The information in this article is presented for reference only and is not intended to be legal advice, or create an attorney-client relationship.  Consult with Mesiti Law Offices regarding the particular facts of your legal issues.

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