Bankruptcy – Debt Relief
CALL US TODAY (231) 929-7744
Bankruptcy – Debt Relief
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Chapter 13 works well for employed persons who can make some type of payment. Chapter 7 is also available for cases where a payment plan is not feasible or appropriate. We will recommend the best action for your case.
With Chapter 13, the payment plan is usually a LOT LESS than what one is paying without the help Chapter 13 offers! We can usually consolidate all debts at a payment that is affordable, and nothing will be lost or given up. The home, car and belongings are protected by the filing of Chapter 13. Also there is automatic protection from creditors upon filing. This means that harassment stops, no one can garnish wages, take property, repossess the car or truck, foreclose on the home, etc. But one needs to file a case in order to get the automatic protection.
On completion of the Chapter 13 plan debts are wiped out, paid, discharged, etc. Chapter 13 can usually pay off debts much more quickly because in most cases the interest and penalties are stopped on your charge and loan accounts. Payment amounts are generally reduced. When you visit us, we can explain how it applies to you, but the relief usually is very dramatic.
In most cases, you do not need to bring money to get your case started. This is true for most Chapter 13 cases since attorney fees are included in the payment. The payment is set based on your budget….your ability to pay. That is why we need to go over your income and expenses in detail. Our office is unique in that we have a computer program which calculates your budget of income and expenses while you watch it on the monitor. You can see the income and expenses broken down as we type it in, and see just where your money goes each month. This enables us to calculate how much you can afford to pay toward your debts very quickly, while you watch us. You just need to know how much you make in a typical week, and how much you spend on house payments, rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, gasoline, etc. House payments and rent are generally not included in the chapter 13 plan unless you are behind. If your mortgage is past due, a chapter 13 can help catch it up and stop a foreclosure from occurring if the case is filed on time. Car payments are usually included in the chapter 13 plan and the car is paid off as part of the plan. Generally, no one can repossess or seize your car or other property once your chapter 13 is filed. Your wages, earnings, bank accounts, and personal property are protected by the Chapter 13 “automatic stay” against creditors.
Chapter 7 is “straight bankruptcy” and discharges most debts without making payments and is appropriate when you cannot afford a payment plan under Chapter 13 or when your circumstances do not warrant a payment plan. The relief under Chapter 7 is very dramatic since the debtor receives an “automatic stay” against creditors.
There is no payment plan under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most debts are discharged. We can discuss which chapter is best for you.
Information to Bring to the First Interview:
See our downloads for a list of what to bring. Sometimes we file for just one spouse, but usually both spouses are on the debts and both need protection . Bring us ALL debts….the NAMES, ADDRESSES, ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND APPROXIMATE BALANCES of EVERY creditor to whom money is owed. This would include car payment and house payment information, and all bills, charge accounts, debts, lawsuits, collection letters, etc. We need the balances owed on all your debts as best as you can estimate them. Exact amounts are not important; approximate amounts are sufficient. We also need to know how much you have earned for the year to date and the prior 2 calendar years. We also need to know the value of your property so bring in a tax statement showing Equalized Value or appraisals on any real estate you own. It is also necessary to list the name and address of your spouse if you are married and your spouse is not filing with you. Information must also include the name and address of anyone on debts with you such as cosigners or guarantors of your debts. If you have cosigned for someone else, or someone has cosigned for you, their name, address and the name and address of the creditor need to be included in the information we prepare.
These contents are general and should not be relied on as legal advice or assistance for your case. Every case is different. That is why you should speak to us about your situation as soon as possible. The sooner we can help, the better we can do, usually. There are some deadlines that are important, like foreclosure dates, repossession auctions, etc. If one waits too long, the property is lost for good. It is much easier for us to protect what you have, than to try to get it back for you once it is seized by a creditor! So it is best to consult quickly. Also, the longer one waits, the more interest and late charges are added to balances. Chapter 13 can stop interest and late charges on most debts, so, again, delay generally is not good.