At the Law Offices of Scott W. Spradley, P.A, I have over 20 years of experience in assisting individuals whose financial objectives are attainable only through a personal bankruptcy. In evaluating your financial situation, we first seek to have a thorough understanding of your financial objectives and current financial circumstances. I will then make a recommendation as to whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 provides the correct mechanism for you to have the best opportunity to meet your future financial objectives and obtain your Fresh Financial Start. Below is a summary of the highpoints of Chapter 7 and of Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you have overwhelming debt that you find you just cannot pay due to circumstances beyond your control, such as the loss of a job, divorce, foreclosure or unexpected medical bills, then Chapter 7 is possibly the type of bankruptcy you need. If you do not have the means to repay your debt and just don't see a way out, the bankruptcy laws allow you to file for this type of protection from your creditors. When the bankruptcy is filed, all of your liabilities and assets will be reviewed by the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to your case. The bankruptcy laws allow you to retain a modest amount of assets without strings attached, including your personal property to a certain dollar level, and your residence without regard to its value. But even if your assets exceed your personal allowance, you may still be permitted to keep those assets by paying money over time to your Bankruptcy Trustee. We will advise you before your case is filed about the projected cost involved to retain those assets, as you eliminate your debt in a Chapter 7 case. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a relatively smooth procedure, and the entire process lasts approximately three months. But you get immediate relief as your creditors are required by the bankruptcy law to cease all efforts to contact you as soon as your bankruptcy case is filed. This immediate relief is the first step for many individuals to enjoy their Fresh Financial Start.
To determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, the court requires us to evaluate your financial situation through a "means test". The purpose of this is to determine whether you have the "means" to repay certain aspects of your debt. If it appears that you have the ability to repay some of your debt, then a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be more appropriate. At The Law Offices of Scott W. Spradley, P.A., we will carefully review your financial situation with you in order to determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances. For complete information on a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, contact our experienced and caring legal team for a free consultation.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 is sometimes referred to as the "personal Chapter 11" bankruptcy which provides for an individual's reorganization of family debt. In essence, in a Chapter 13 case, you will eliminate some of your debt and you will work out a plan to make payments on the balance of your debt over a period of time. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often referred to as "Individual Debt Adjustment" or a "wage earner's plan" (even if you are self employed) because it requires you to have regular income with which to make payments on the repayment plan. During that time, creditors are prohibited from pursuing collection actions, including contacting you, filing lawsuits and other actions.
An individual with regular income who is eligible for a Chapter 13 filing may stop foreclosure proceedings, completely eliminate a second mortgage on the family home, reduce and consolidate unsecured debt to an amount that can comfortably be paid off with their disposable income.
Bankruptcy law and cases can be complex, but what you need to know is that while it is rarely the first option, bankruptcy is a powerful weapon that, when properly wielded, can greatly improve your chances of a satisfactory result and give you a new start in life.
Contact The Law Offices of Scott W. Spradley, P.A., to discuss your bankruptcy or other legal debt relief options.