What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal process that you may be able to use to eliminate or reduce your debts. Many of our clients choose to file bankruptcy because it is the least expensive and most efficient way for them to deal with all of their debt. Without bankruptcy you are forced to deal with each of your creditors separately, but one of the biggest advantages of bankruptcy is that it allows you to take care of all of your creditors at the same time using a single legal process.
If you are being harassed by collectors, sued by credit card companies, or are having your wages garnished by a creditor, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may help you stop the collections and get rid of your debt.
What are Exemptions, and how to they protect my property in bankruptcy?
Some Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases require the sale of some the debtor's assets. In most cases, however, you will be able to protect what you own by using the correct exemptions. Exemptions are state (and some federal) laws that you can use to prevent the sale of your real estate and personal property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In Colorado, for example, the following exemptions
are among the most common used by debtors:
Household Goods & Furniture
Tools of the Trade
There are additional exemptions that apply to other types of property, and our experienced
bankruptcy attorneys can explain how these exemptions are used.
Do I qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
In most cases, your income will determine if you can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 has income limits; this means that if you have too much income, you will not qualify.
Our attorneys can evaluate your income to help you determine if you can file a Chapter 7. Some cases require a complex calculation of your monthly income and expenses- this is called the “Means Test."
If you have too much income to file Chapter 7, you might be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. We can help you determine what you qualify for, and what options are available to you.
How does the bankruptcy process work?
Bankruptcy requires you to disclose a large amount of financial information in documents that are filed with the bankruptcy court. We work with our clients to gather all of the paperwork and information needed to prepare these legal documents.
Once your case has been filed with the bankruptcy court, most of your creditors are legally required to stop trying to collect from you. This means that collection calls and demand letters must stop, lawsuits and garnishments must stop, and foreclosures must stop.
About one month after a bankruptcy case is filed, the debtor is required to attend a hearing called the Meeting of Creditors. We accompany our clients to these hearings and help prepare them for the questions they will be asked.
In most cases, the debtor in bankruptcy will receive a discharge of debts about 3 months after the Chapter 7 case is filed. The bankruptcy discharge eliminates most debts, and is designed to give you a fresh start.
What debts are not discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Not all debts can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Recent taxes, penalties & fines due to criminal actions, debts caused by drunk driving, student loans, and domestic support obligations (child support and alimony) are not generally discharged.
There are some exceptions to this rule, and our attorneys can assess your specific situation to help determine if any of the exceptions apply to you.
How do I find out more information?
Give us a cal!- we will be happy to schedule a free 1-hour consultation.