Legal Services

Debt Relief Counseling

You will meet personally with the attorney for debt counseling. You will need to provide detailed financial information, including your income, monthly expenses, past financial transactions, and debts. Based upon this information, the attorney will advise you of your possible debt relief options. While filing a bankruptcy case under the United States Bankruptcy Code is not always the best course of action for debt relief, the attorney will evaluate your particular facts and advise you of your bankruptcy options, including your options under each chapter of the Bankruptcy Code and why certain types of bankruptcy may not be appropriate for your circumstance. The attorney will counsel you about the requirements placed upon you by federal bankruptcy law, the effect of filing bankruptcy on your particular financial situation, and the effect of filing bankruptcy on your current and future credit rating. You will not be charged a fee for debt relief counseling and you will not be under any obligation to take any debt relief action.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Relief from debt is generally available under Chapter 7 for consumers whose "current monthly income" is below the state median income or who qualify after the application of a "means test" if their income is above the state median income. Individuals whose debts are "not primarily consumer debts" and therefore, business debts, are not subject to the means test.

The attorney will conduct a thorough interview with you to assess your financial situation and determine whether or not filing Chapter 7 will offer the debt relief you need. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be your best option if you are behind on mortgage or car payments and need an opportunity to cure these payments over time to avoid foreclosure or repossession.

If you decide Chapter 7 is your best debt relief option, the attorney will assist you in accurately preparing your bankruptcy schedules and statements to be filed in bankruptcy court. The attorney's office will receive and handle all calls from creditors on your behalf, especially those harassing telephone calls that are so stressful for you. The attorney will appear with you at any required meetings with the trustee or any scheduled hearings in bankruptcy court. The attorney will be available to you during the entire legal process to offer guidance and counsel.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Relief from debt through filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is generally available to individuals with a regular monthly income who owe debts below the allowable debt limits set by the Legislature, currently $336,900.00 in non-contingent liquidated unsecured debts and $1,010,650.00 in non-contingent liquidated secured debts.

Through your Chapter 13 plan of reorganization, you may have the right to modify the rights of creditors, including interest rate and length of payment on secured debts, except when the creditor's claim is secured by a homestead. Your unsecured creditors will receive an amount of repayment determined by the amount of your disposable income. Your Chapter 13 plan will be from three or five years in length depending on your income and debt adjustment needs.

If you decide Chapter 13 is your best debt relief option, the attorney will assist you in accurately preparing your bankruptcy schedules and statements to be filed in bankruptcy court. The attorney will spend as much time as necessary with you to develop your Chapter 13 plan of reorganization. The attorney will appear with you and represent you at your meeting of creditors that will be scheduled after your case is filed. The attorney will represent you at various required hearings in bankruptcy court during the course of your Chapter 13 case. The attorney will be available to you during the entire legal process to offer guidance and counsel.

Post Bankruptcy Discharge Credit Repair Counseling

Unfortunately, creditors often continue to report past due balances to the credit reporting agencies even after they have received notice of the debt being included in your bankruptcy and properly discharged. After you complete your bankruptcy case and you receive your discharge from liability on dischargeable debts, the attorney will counsel with you about actions you should take to ensure creditors are correctly reporting your discharged debt status to the credit reporting agencies.

Benefits Of The Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

Immediately upon your filing a bankruptcy case, in most cases, an automatic stay becomes active to protect your bankruptcy property interests. The automatic stay operates as an injunction that stops all debt collection actions against you or your property, including those unscrupulous and harassing telephone collection calls which should be referred to your attorney's office for handling.

When an automatic stay is active, creditors must stop all efforts to:

  • foreclose on your property
  • repossess your property
  • garnish wages or bank accounts
  • collect tax levies
  • file or continue any civil lawsuits against you
  • revoke your driver's license due to uninsured auto accidents
  • collect money from you
  • contact you by any means except through your attorney

Bankruptcy Evaluation

Is bankruptcy right for you? There are many aspects of bankruptcy to be considered. Learn more about bankruptcy and your options.

Frequently Asked Questions