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The two major types of bankruptcies for consumer debtors are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The first step in filing a successful bankruptcy petition is to accurately evaluate your goals and your eligibility for bankruptcy relief. In order to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income generally must be less than the amount specified by the U.S. Trustee program for the geographical area in which you live - the so-called "means test." If your income exceeds this amount, you may have to file under chapter 13. (If an individual debtor does not meet the requirements for a chapter 13 filing, he or she may be eligible to file under chapter 11, the requirements and costs of which are much greater.) The requirements for filing a chapter 7 petition are explained here and those for filing a chapter 13 petition are shown here. Your Agins Law Firm Chandler/Sun Lakes bankruptcy attorneys can guide you in making these decisions through a free consultation.
Several questions we receive frequently are:
If my wages are being garnished, will bankruptcy stop the garnishment?
Yes. Once you have filed a petition (under either chapter 7 or 13) with the Bankruptcy Court, you are immediately entitled to relief from creditors through the bankruptcy provision known as the “automatic stay.” This stops all debt-collection activity and forces all creditors to cease ongoing actions against you until the outcome of your bankruptcy case is determined.
Can I keep my home and car in chapter 7?
Maybe. This will depend upon whether the value of your home or car is within the exemption amount allowed under Arizona statute. Debts for cars and homes generally are secured, which means that the creditor can attach the underlying collateral – can take your home or car – if you are behind on or miss your payments. Generally, as long as you remain current in paying your secured debts, your creditor will allow you to retain the collateral. Under limited circumstances, you may want to reaffirm the debt on your car and / or your home, meaning that you would continue to
pay the amount owed. You cannot be forced to sign a reaffirmation agreement and the Bankruptcy Court will not
approve the agreement unless both you and your attorney sign it. However, you do have the option of surrendering
the property. Every case is different, so you should contact your Agins Law Firm bankruptcy attorney with questions about your situation.
Can you file my petition immediately?
Generally, Yes. Pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code, your attorney must be a “disinterested party,” which means that you cannot owe your attorney money at the time your petition is filed. If you can pay your fee in full when you engage Agins Law Firm, we can have your petition filed within a week after you provide us with all necessary documents and information. If you cannot pay the filing fee charged by the Bankruptcy Court in full, we can file an application with the Court to allow you to make installment payments over the course of 120 days (4 months).
Which type of bankruptcy is best for me?
It depends. There is no simple answer to this question because each client's circumstances are unique. Contact us for a free debt consultation, at which your Agins Law Firm bankruptcy attorney can review your situation in detail to find out which chapter would be most suitable for you and your family. Once we are able to determine if bankruptcy is a viable solution for you and, if so, which chapter would be best, we can begin our work promptly so that you can get your Financial Fresh Start as soon as possible.
The founders of our country, thinking of the horrors of debtors' prisons in Great Britain, resolved to include bankruptcy protection among the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Over the course of U.S. history, many famous Americans have filed for bankruptcy protection, such as Abraham Lincoln (U.S. president), Henry Ford (automobile manufacturer), Samuel Clemens (the writer, "Mark Twain"), H.J. Heinz (ketchup) and Milton Hershey (chocolate). Each of these people went on to realize great success because of the financial fresh start afforded by their ability to file for bankruptcy protection.
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