If you are struggling to pay your bills, a Goose Creek bankruptcy attorney can help you regain control of your finances. While bankruptcy may seem intimidating, we can help you understand your legal options and move forward.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is legal action that discharges your debts. Too frequently, hard-working people become overwhelmed by their debts — especially after a divorce, job loss, or a medical emergency. Filing for bankruptcy isn’t shameful. In fact, you are retaking control of your finances and getting a fresh start. Both individuals and businesses can file for bankruptcy (although the processes are slightly different).
While you can discharge most debts in a bankruptcy, including credit card debt, medical bills, and other unsecured debts. However, not all debts are dischargeable. For example, you cannot discharge child support, alimony, certain taxes, and most student loans. If you need help determining which of your debts are dischargeable, contact a Goose Creek bankruptcy attorney.
An Overview of the Bankruptcy Process
Bankruptcy cases are always filed in federal court. To start a bankruptcy case, you (or your Goose Creek bankruptcy attorney) must file a series of forms, including a petition and a series of schedules. It is important that your initial bankruptcy filing is thorough and accurate. If you fail to list all of your creditors, those debts will not be discharged. And, if you do not list all of your income and assets, your bankruptcy may be denied. For this reason, most people hire a skilled attorney to handles their bankruptcy case.
Once your petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. This automatic stay is an incredibly valuable tool — it pauses all of your creditors’ collection efforts, including:
- Collections lawsuits,
- Harassing phone calls and letters,
- Repossessions, and
- Wage garnishments.
Its purpose is to give you time to organize your finances and resolve your debts.
Depending on the type of bankruptcy, the exact process will vary. (Learn more about different forms of bankruptcy below.) However, the bankruptcy court will always assign a trustee in personal bankruptcy cases. Unlike a bankruptcy lawyer, the trustee does not represent you or your creditors. Instead, he or she will review your documents and assets, meet with your creditors, and help resolve your debts (by either liquidating your assets or setting up a repayment plan).
Types of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet its means test, which assesses your income, assets, and expenses. If you pass the means test, the trustee will liquidate your nonexempt assets and settle your debts with the proceeds. However, if you do not have non-exempt assets to sell, you will lose nothing.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are relatively quick and typically resolve within six months. However, once you file under Chapter 7, you cannot file any type of bankruptcy for six years.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, you may still be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In these cases, you enter a repayment plan with your creditors. Once you complete the repayment plan, your remaining debts are discharged. While you get to keep all of your property in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the process can take up to five years.
Sometimes, you don’t need to file for bankruptcy. A Goose Creek bankruptcy attorney can also help you understand the alternatives to bankruptcy, including debt consolidation, debt negotiation, and mortgage modification.
Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney?
While filing for bankruptcy can be life changing, it requires attention to detail and extensive legal and financial knowledge. When you hire a Goose Creek bankruptcy attorney, your lawyer will:
- Educate you about your legal options,
- Assess your financial circumstances,
- Craft a personalized debt solution,
- Navigate you through the bankruptcy process, and
- Advocate and negotiate on your behalf with your trustee and creditors.
Simply put, hiring a bankruptcy attorney gives you peace of mind. You can rest assured that your case will be handled properly and efficiently.
An Experienced Goose Creek Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help
Speaking with an experienced Goose Creek bankruptcy attorney is your first step towards financial freedom. With over 30 years of legal experience, the Steadman Law Firm provides its clients with compassionate and skilled representation. We can help you solve your debt problems. Contact us for more information and an initial consultation.