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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

I Read on Google

The internet is full of misstatements; oftentimes what we read is over-dramatized or a myth. Your case is specific to you and your facts. What happened to another person has no effect on what will happen in your case. My E-Book will give you a broader understanding and is available in a free download.

Q:
How long is bankruptcy?
A:

Chapter 13 repayment plans are 36 months to 60 months. Chapter 7s from file date to discharge order are usually between 4-6 months.

Q:
What if I forget a creditor
A:

A creditor not listed in a chapter 13 bankruptcy will survive the case, and you will still owe the money after the case is completed.

If you file a chapter 7 case, then the answer is more complicated. Some debts may be able to be considered part of the bankruptcy if no money was given to unsecured creditors. How do you know if any money will be given to unsecured creditors? Talk with your bankruptcy attorney.

Q:
Will bankruptcy take care of my IRS debt?
A:

The general rule is if you have filed your tax returns on time each year, no extension filed, and the IRS obligation is older than three years and has not been independently reassessed in the year and a half prior to filing, the debt may be forgiven. You can request a tax account transcript from the IRS for my office to review.

Q:
Can I buy a house if I filed for bankruptcy?
A:

Yes! Two years after receiving a discharge, you may apply for an FHA government-insured mortgage. Depending on income and the lender, you may be able to buy a house earlier than two years post-discharge.

Some people are able to buy a house while they are in a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once you have gotten financing for the house, we can file a Motion to Incur Debt to get court approval for the purchase.

Q:
If my spouse is not filing, why do I have to provide their information?
A:

You have to provide your spouse’s income because the federal government requires that information for most married people filing a bankruptcy. You will also have to provide information about the property your spouse owns because Arizona and Texas are community property states, so you may have a claim to some of your spouse’s property.

If you are filing a bankruptcy without your spouse, though, your spouse’s social security number will not be attached to the bankruptcy and they should not have the bankruptcy show up as a note on their credit report.

Q:
This happened in my friend/family member's bankruptcy.
A:

Each case is different, and what happens or doesn't happen depends on many factors. Discuss your concerns for your case and your goals with me, and I will help you create a strategy that is specific to your situation.

Q:
If I file a Chapter 7, can I keep my house or car without paying for it?
A:

No. If you wish you to keep a secured debt, you must pay for it.

Q:
Will bankruptcy stop my garnishment?
A:

Yes. Filing bankruptcy places an automatic stay of protection over you. This means all attempts to collect a debt from a creditor must stop.

Q:
Do I have to pay my student loans when I am in bankruptcy?
A:

Student loans survive bankruptcy, which means the debt is owed after your bankruptcy discharge is received. While in active bankruptcy, student loans are placed in an inactive status, and payment will not be collected. Interest will accrue, so it is best to submit a monthly payment. Discuss this with me so I can direct you on how to handle it and what to expect.

Q:
What if I win the lottery while I am in bankruptcy?
A:

If you win the lottery, inherit money, or receive a windfall of money while in bankruptcy (or within 6 months of filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy), you have a duty to disclose this information to the Trustee and Court. Immediately speak with my office to discuss what is next for your case to receive a successful discharge.

Q:
Will Bankruptcy Affect My Business?
A:

Whether or not a bankruptcy will affect your business is different for every person. In general, if you file a personal bankruptcy and your business is a separate entity (such as an LLC or a Corporation), then your personal bankruptcy will not affect your business and how it operates. Talk with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure your business will be safe.

Q:
Will the court approve my bankruptcy?
A:

Most likely, yes. Bankruptcy is very different from getting a loan. In a loan, you wait to see if you have been approved. In bankruptcy, as long as you follow all of the correct steps I give you, your discharge will be automatically granted unless there is a problem.

The hardest question isn’t usually whether your discharge will be approved, but which chapter you should file. My E-Book will give you a broader understanding of bankruptcy and is available in a free download.

Q:
How do I know if I qualify for a chapter 7?
A:

Whether or not you qualify for a chapter 7 depends on your income and expenses for the six-month period before you file. Calculating the income and expenses for that time is known as the “Means Test” and involves a lot of complicated math.

Just because you make more money than the average person in your state does not mean that you will not qualify for a chapter 7. The court looks at both your income and your approved expenses. I have had clients who were told by other attorney’s that they didn’t qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy because the other attorney didn’t understand the Means Test. When I compared their income to their approved expenses, they were able to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Q:
How much do you charge to file?
A:

The filing fees are set by the Court; the attorney fees are discussed in your initial consultation. I am sensitive to your financial situation and work with each client to show them how they can afford my fees.

Q:
What will my chapter 13 payment be?
A:

Your chapter 13 payment depends on a lot of different factors, such as how much money you make, what property you own, what secured debt (home, car) you have, and what priority debt (IRS, child support) you have. At our consultation, I will talk with you about your specific circumstances to determine how much your chapter 13 payments will be.

Q:
I owe child support. How does bankruptcy affect this?
A:

Your child support will not be discharged in the bankruptcy. You need to continue to pay your ongoing child support obligations. If you owe back child support and we file a chapter 13 plan, your past-due child support will be paid in the plan.

Q:
Is the trustee going to take my property or belongings?
A:

Through exemptions, you can protect your personal belongings. Most people's furniture, electronics, clothes, jewelry, appliances are fully protected.

Q:
Can I keep a credit card?
A:

You have to tell the court about all of your debts in the bankruptcy, including a credit card that you may want to keep. If you have a specific reason to want to keep a certain card, talk with me about the best path to take.

Q:
Can I pay back my friend/family that I borrowed money from?
A:

Money owed to a friend/family member is the same as a medical debt, credit card debt, ect. It all must be listed in the bankruptcy. Do not try to pay off debt that you owe to family members in the year before your bankruptcy. If you want to make payments to your friend or family member after the bankruptcy, talk with me about the best path to take.

Q:
Will I be able to lease an apartment?
A:

Every apartment has different rules for who they will lease to. In some areas, you may just have to pay a higher security deposit if you are in an active bankruptcy. In other areas, it can be very hard to lease an apartment while you are in an open bankruptcy. If you are having a hard time renting an apartment while in an active bankruptcy, contact my office for advice.

Q:
Do I file my taxes the same?
A:

Yes. You file your taxes as you normally would each year. It is a requirement of being in bankruptcy that you file. You must file on time or file an extension and file by the extended deadline.

Q:
How Long Will Bankruptcy Stay on My Credit?
A:

Bankruptcy will be reported on your credit for ten years. Do not let this worry you. Many debtors have an improved score, above 650 within two years of receiving a discharge. There are things you can do to help your credit after bankruptcy, and I am more than happy to discuss them with you.

Q:
If my spouse does not file with me, does bankruptcy show on their credit?
A:

No, their credit report will not report a bankruptcy because their social is not attached to the filing of your case.

Q:
Can bankruptcy stop an eviction?
A:

Yes, as long as they have not already gotten an eviction order. If an eviction hearing is scheduled, you may have time to remove the hearing from the State Court docket. Often I can speak with the attorney representing the landlord to negotiate in your behalf.

Q:
Why not just file pro se?
A:

Bankruptcy seems simple until it is not. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding conducted in Federal Court. You need representation in order to ensure you are protected and receiving the desired result. My E-Book will give you a broader understanding and is available in a free download.

Q:
Do I have to go to court?
A:

Most debtors never have to appear in court during the course of their bankruptcy. Do not let the fear of attending court prevent you from using the bankruptcy to receive the relief of your debt that you are seeking. If you have specific concerns, discuss them with me to get a better understanding.

Q:
Why file a bankruptcy instead of debt consolidation?
A:

Debt consolidation is often expensive and unhelpful. Bankruptcy offers a faster and more complete solution. The dangers of debt consolidation include incurring more debt, paying more interest on the debt you already have, consolidation scams, and the possibility of putting your home at risk.

Q:
If I see a medical specialist, can I still use them?
A:

Yes. Discuss this with me so I can explain how you can continue to receive treatment.

Q:
What else do I need to know?
A:

My E-Book will give you a broader understanding and is available in a free download. You can also use the contact form to request a free consultation to discuss your specific situation with me.