If you are considering filing for bankruptcy relief, you probably have a lot of questions about what will happen to your credit, your belongings, and other aspects of your life after bankruptcy. Fortunately, bankruptcy laws are actually designed to help you manage your finances in a manner that is as fair as possible to both you and your creditors. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that they are able to keep their house, car, and a wide range of personal belongings and maintenance income. At Isner Law Office, we are pleased to allow our bankruptcy clients to make low, manageable monthly payments.
If you think you may be eligible to file for relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Act, contact Isner Law Office for professional legal counsel throughout the entire process. Call: 304-636-7681.
Credit & Financial Management Counseling Requirement
One of the legal requirements mandatory for individuals filing for bankruptcy relief is to complete a credit counseling course within the six-month period immediately prior to filing. After filing, you must also complete a financial management course through an approved educational agency.
Am I Eligible to File for Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy?
A means test applies to determine whether most individuals are eligible to apply for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some disabled veterans and those whose debts are not mainly consumer debts may be exempt from the means test. Additionally, most lower income individuals are exempt. Generally, if your income is below the median West Virginia income level (approximately $65,000 for a family of four) for the six-month period prior to filing and your disposable income meets the criteria, you can apply under Chapter 7. These amounts change quite frequently. Otherwise, a formula based on your income to debt ratio will be used to determine your eligibility and obligations under Chapter 13.
Isner Law Office can help you determine your eligibility and whether Chapter 7 or 13 is best for your particular situation. Our team will let you know which documentation is required so you can begin collecting this paperwork. We can then file on your behalf right away.
Which Debts Are Eliminated?
For most filers, virtually ALL private debts are eliminated after filing for bankruptcy protection. However, there are a few notable exceptions you should be aware of, including the following, which are NOT generally eliminated when filing for bankruptcy:
- Child Support
- Fines, Penalties, and Other Criminal Restitution
- DUI-related Debts
- Taxes (varies)
- Student Loans (varies)
- Mortgages and Liens Not Paid For In Your Bankruptcy
- Loans Obtained Under False Pretenses/Fraud
- Debts Incurred By Willful and Malicious Injury
- Any Debts You Fail to List On Your Petition
Creditors may also challenge certain questionable debts, such as large purchases made just prior to filing for bankruptcy, debts that may involve larceny, embezzlement, breach of trust, and other potentially fraudulent debts.
Life After Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy, when utilized properly, can give you a fresh start. Although evidence of your bankruptcy may appear on your credit report for many years, your bankruptcy judgment eliminates existing debts completely. This provides you the opportunity to pay new bills in a timely manner and create a better credit report by paying your debts and credit card bills responsibly.
If you lost your license as a result of inability to pay certain damages as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you can typically get your license back following bankruptcy. It is illegal for future employers to discriminate against you for filing bankruptcy. In addition, utility companies cannot refuse to provide essential public services. Although spouses and co-signers will not be relieved of their own responsibility to pay joint debts unless they also file, your portion will be discharged in most cases. Most individuals are able to enjoy significantly more stress-free lives following a bankruptcy filing. Ready for a fresh start? Call Isner Law Office to discuss your options: 304-636-7681.