DO I NEED A LAWYER TO FILE OR CAN I FILE ON MY OWN?
The courts are open to all competent persons who choose to represent themselves. However, representing yourself in any legal matter is not the wisest or most expediant choice. Filing bankruptcy can be a very emotional experience. It is often best to remain professionally detached from your own case and let a lawyer, well-studied in bankruptcy law, act in your best interest.
IS THERE A CHARGE FOR THE FIRST CONSULTATION?
Yes, always. It is at this Free consultation that we will review your situation and explain our attorney fees if you choose to proceed with our handling you case.
ARE DEBTS IN COLLECTION DISCHARGEABLE?
Yes. Whether a debt has been sent to collection or has been sold to a third party does not change the nature of the debt. If it was a dischargeable debt to begin with, it remains a dischargeable debt.
CAN I KEEP MY HOME OR VEHICLE?
As a general rule, you can keep your home and vehicles if you can afford the payments. Remember, however, that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is Liquidation. Liquidation means your home or vehicles would be subject to sale by the Chapter 7 trustee if the equity in either item is greater than the amount you could exempt (rarely the case for most Rhode Islander’s filing bankruptcy). In Chapter 13, you are a debtor in possession, and you can keep your home and vehicles if you can afford the payments required for you to keep them.
WILL BANKRUPTCY STOP FORECLOSURES OR REPOSSESSIONS?
Yes, but you must be able to somehow cure the default. Relief from foreclosures and repossessions is not permanent. In a Chapter 7 case, The protection will end no later than discharge, and often sooner, if the creditor asks for court permission in a case in which you cannot satisfy the requirements to bring the debt out of default. In a Chapter 13 case, the plan must provide the lien holders what they must be paid under bankruptcy law. If that sum is not affordable, then the case will fail; resulting in loss of the collateral securing the unaffordable debt.
AFTER FILING BANKRUPTCY DO I NEED TO KEEP PAYING MY HOUSE AND VEHICLE PAYMENTS?
If it is your intention to retain possession of your home and vehicle, you should continue making those payments unless advised to do differently. For example, discontinue these payments if the payment is to be made by the Chapter 13 trustee or the property is to be redeemed for a lump sum payment.
IS BANKRUPTCY RIGHT FOR ME?
Millions of people have asked themselves this very question. The answer depends upon a multitude of variables and your particular circumstances. As a result, anyone considering filing for bankruptcy protection should first have a detailed discussion with an experienced bankruptcy attorney regarding his or her finances, options and other benefits.
IF I FILE BANKRUPTCY ON MY BUSINESS, DO I HAVE TO FILE PERSONALLY AS WELL?
It depends on the type of entity your business is. If your business is a sole proprietorship, there is no difference between your business debts and assets and your personal debts and assets. You will have to personally file a bankruptcy case. If your business is not a sole proprietorship but is instead a corporation or LLC, then the business must file its own bankruptcy case. Since the debts of most small businesses are personally guaranteed by the owner(s), the owner(s) could eventually find themselves in bankruptcy even if their bankrupt business is a corporation or LLC.
CAN A BANKRUPTCY BE REOPENED?
In certain instances a bankruptcy case can be reopened, but other than bringing a contempt proceeding against a creditor ignoring the discharge injunction, it is a rare occurrence. Most courts have moved away from the practice of reopening cases to add creditors as the debt is generally discharged anyway.
IF I NEED TO FILE BANKRUPTCY AGAIN, WHEN CAN I FILE?
A Chapter 7 may be filed eight years after the filing date of a previously discharged Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 case and six years after the filing date of a previously discharged Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 case unless the case paid 70 to 100 percent of the unsecured claims, in which event there is no time limit. A Chapter 13 case may be filed four years after the filing date of a discharged Chapter 7 case and two years after the filing date of a discharged Chapter 13 case.
HOW LONG DOES A BANKRUPTCY FILING STAY ON MY CREDIT REPORT?
Similar to all legal matters, bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years.
IS THERE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF DEBT TO QUALIFY FOR BANKRUPTCY?
No. However, you may reach a point where the expense of filing a case would outweigh any benefit received from discharging the debt. Also, filing a bankruptcy case is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly.
WILL I BE ABLE TO RECEIVE A LOAN AFTER FILING BANKRUPTCY?
Yes, in a Chapter 7 -assuming the lender finds you creditworthy. A number of creditors are quite willing to give you credit the minute that you receive your discharge.
IS THERE A TIME PERIOD FOR USING CREDIT CARDS OR GETTING LOANS BEFORE FILING?
Yes and no. But the closer you obtain a debt to the time of filing will leave you more likely to be sued by that creditor to have your debt declared non-dischargeable. You should always be prepared to inform your attorney of any debts incurred in the six months prior to filing as well as in the 70- and 90-day period prior to filing.