For many people, the word “bankruptcy” means a desperate last resort by someone who is down on their luck and struggling to pull themselves out of dire financial straits. The stigma surrounding bankruptcy is pervasive and real … and totally untrue. The truth is that bankruptcy is an effective financial management tool, a viable alternative for good, hard-working people burdened with more debt-and more stress-than they can handle. Simply put, it gives people a fresh start.
We counsel our clients on which approach to bankruptcy fits their needs. The United States Bankruptcy Code consists of two chapters that concentrate specifically on personal bankruptcy-Chapter 7, also known as “straight bankruptcy”; and Chapter 13, which creates an affordable plan for repaying debt.
These forms of bankruptcy work differently, but they have one thing in common-the “automatic stay.” When someone requests bankruptcy protection, any lawsuits, repossessions, foreclosures, and wage attachments are stopped. In a Chapter 7, most of the debt is wiped away/discharged and in a Chapter 13, the debtor and their attorney can create an effective, manageable plan for repaying debt. A Chapter 13 is an effective tool to save your house and/or your car even if you have fallen behind on your monthly payments.
A client can use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate certain types of debt, including but not limited to, credit cards, personal loans, payday loans and even some taxes. Debtors can file a Chapter 7 and still keep their house, car, retirement accounts and other personal property.
With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor establishes a plan-in accordance with bankruptcy laws-to repay creditors over a period of time. A debtor may choose to file a Chapter 13 to get caught up on a mortgage or car loan without the threat of foreclosure or repossession. A Chapter 13 may also allow you to completely remove a second mortgage or any other secondary liens on your house.
With our combined 50 years of experience in bankruptcy law, the attorneys at Poole, Mensinger, Cutrona & Ellsworth-Aults give you personalized, caring counsel to address your situation, to alleviate debt, and just as important, to give you peace of mind.