Chapter 7 is a section of the Bankruptcy Code that helps individuals who have an income below that of the state median eliminate debts and put a stop to collections activities. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to:
- Protect assets
- Eliminate most debts
- Rebuild your credit
- End collections activities
- Halt wage garnishment
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY – MARYLAND OVERVIEW
Who Can Qualify For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is appropriate for individuals who pass the “means test”, meaning their annual income is below the median income in Maryland. Our Maryland bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine what qualifies as income and whether or not you meet the means test. If your annual income exceeds Maryland’s median income, our experienced bankruptcy lawyers will review other financial options that may be available to you.
What Are the Benefits of Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legitimate financial tool that can help wipe away debt so you can start rebuilding your financial future. Individuals who qualify for Chapter 7 are able to eliminate most – if not all – of their debts, including:
- Medical bills
- Credit card balances
- Unsecured personal loans
Another significant benefit is the home and personal property exemptions provided under Chapter 7 bankruptcy law. Depending on the amount of equity you have in your home and the status of your mortgage payments, you may not be required to sell your home.
What Is The First Step In Filing For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The nuances of bankruptcy law vary from one state to the next. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Maryland, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who is familiar with Maryland bankruptcy law as well as federal bankruptcy law. Working with an trusted attorney will take the headache out of the process and will help ensure that your bankruptcy petition does not get dismissed due to a missed deadline or an incorrectly completed form. Your attorney will review your full financial profile as a first step, including income, debt and assets. Following this review, your attorney will complete the paperwork necessary to file the Chapter 7 petition. If the court reaches a decision to discharge your debts, the case will be marked as completed and you will be notified of the discharge.
What Else Can I Expect When Filing For Chapter 7?
An “automatic stay” will go into effect as soon as your attorney submits your bankruptcy petition to the courts. Under the automatic stay, debt collectors are required to immediately cease all collections activities. This means halting any wage garnishment activities as well as harassing phone calls or letters.
Around 40 days after filing the petition with the courts, your attorney will receive a case number and date. At that time, you will be required to attend a “341 meeting” (also referred to as a “meeting of creditors”). During this meeting, a trustee assigned to your case will ask questions about your petition and your debts. Once this meeting is complete, you will need to wait for the bankruptcy court to make a decision about the discharge of your debts. It can take approximately six to eight weeks to get a decision.
Although most debts can be eliminated in a Chapter 7, there are some that do not qualify to be discharged in a bankruptcy. These non-dischargeable debts include:
- Child support
- Recent income tax debt
- Student loans
- Debts incurred by fraud
- Criminal restitution
Mounting debt can be the source of a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for individuals and their families. Our trusted local attorneys have helped thousands of Marylanders successfully seek bankruptcy protection. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide you with a fresh start financially by wiping away debts and freeing up income that can then be used to catch up on mortgage or car payments. Contact Jeffrey M. Sirody & Associates at (410) 834-4794 for more information about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
UNSURE IF CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will take the time to review your individual case and help you evaluate options to make a fresh start. Schedule a free consultation today.