Cleveland Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are up to your knees in debt and considering filing bankruptcy, you probably have some fears and questions concerning the aspects of the process. Not only can filing be confusing and complicated, but you also have to consider how it will affect you after the case is over. However, empowerment is knowing your options, and understanding possible solutions will leave you feeling better equipped to face your bankruptcy.
Consumer Bankruptcy 101
If you are an individual with primarily consumer debt -debt incurred from personal, family, or household needs- you will be filing for consumer bankruptcy. Under this personal bankruptcy, there are two chapters under which you can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy, where all non-exempt property will be sold and the proceeds will be distributed among your creditors. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will usually last about 4-6 months. Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy, where your debt will be restructured and a repayment plan will be set up so that you can pay off your non-dischargeable debt over a period of 3-5 years. You must be prepared to stick to the payment plan for multiple years if you want to obtain a fresh financial start.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that bankruptcy opens your finances to public scrutiny. If you are uncomfortable discussing your finances, this could be a tough pill to swallow. You will be required to file an extensive package of paper known as bankruptcy schedules, which basically list your income, assets, debts, expenses, and recent transactions. In bankruptcy, honesty and complete disclosure are required. So it is crucial that you list all your assets, debts, and creditors. If you fail to comply, you may not only lose the bankruptcy discharge but you may also be subject to serious penalties.
Lastly, filing for bankruptcy is not a simple task. Bankruptcy forms are complicated and require great attention. The forms contain complex questions about your financial affairs, and are more similar to tricky tax returns than straight forward check the box forms. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you fill out the forms correctly, and help you avoid grave errors that could cost you both money and property
What consumer bankruptcy can’t do
While bankruptcy may be a powerful remedy for serious debt problems, it does not solve every financial obligation. For starters, bankruptcy eliminates debts not liens. So if you have secured debt, that you cannot pay, bankruptcy cannot stop creditors from repossessing the property. Also, there are some debts that bankruptcy cannot wipe out. This includes child support, alimony, fraudulent debts and student loans. Most tax debts are also difficult to eliminate. Other non-dischargeable debts include fines incurred for violating the law, and debt for personal injury or death caused by your intoxicated driving.
Filing with the help of an experienced attorney
Depending on your situation, filing for personal bankruptcy might be the best tool to clear yourself of debt, and achieve a fresh financial start. If you do decide to file, the first step should be to hire an experienced lawyer. Bankruptcy is not an easy process, and it requires a lot of knowledge and expertise to get the best outcome. Having reliable legal advice will ensure that your best interest are protected from beginning to end. With decades of experience practicing bankruptcy law, attorney Irving S. Bergrin will help you understand your individual financial situation and advice you on the best course of action. Call today for a free consultation on your case.
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