Bankruptcy is a powerful, legal tool that provides financial relief to individuals, families and small business owners – enabling them to eliminate or reorganize debt for a healthier financial future.
At Sirody & Associates, our team of attorneys will take the time to fully understand your financial situation before recommending a course of action. We will lay out all available options, and help you determine if bankruptcy is the most advantageous option for your current financial situation. We assist with the below sections of the Bankruptcy Code. Some people will qualify for multiple Chapters and some may only qualify for one, but it is rare to not qualify at all. Income level and amount of debt are both factors in determining which bankruptcy an individual or small business may qualify for.
- Chapter 7 – appropriate for individuals, couples and small businesses interested in reducing and reorganizing debts with an affordable repayment plan.
- Chapter 13 – appropriate for individuals or couples with an annual income below the median income in Maryland.
- Chapter 11, Subchapter V – appropriate for businesses with fewer than 1,500 employees, no single real estate assets and debt in excess of $7.5 million.
Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions
Who Files For Bankruptcy?
People of all ages, income levels, vocations and educational backgrounds file for personal bankruptcy every year in the U.S. Some frequently cited reasons for seeking bankruptcy relief include:
- Medical expenses
- Mortgages that have become unaffordable
- High student loans
- Divorce or separation
Will Bankruptcy Hurt My Credit?
A bankruptcy may appear on a filer’s credit report for up to 10 years, however, in many cases filing for bankruptcy can actually improve a person’s credit score. A large portion of a credit score is attributed to a person’s debt-to-credit ratio (the amount of money owed to creditors compared to the total amount of allowable credit). Filing for bankruptcy can often improve the debt-to-credit ratio, which will in turn may increase the credit score.
Will I Lose My House If I File For Bankruptcy?
In many cases, bankruptcy can offer protection from having to leave a residence or at least can provide more time to find a new place to live. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, the court will issue an order for an “automatic stay”. The automatic stay immediately stops any and all further collection actions from being taken against the filer, including home foreclosure, while the bankruptcy process is underway. Depending on the filer’s individual situation, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may offer the opportunity to work with the lender to lower the monthly mortgage payment and also establish a repayment plan to catch-up on any past-due amounts.
How Much Does Bankruptcy Filing Cost?
The cost of filing for bankruptcy varies based on the complexity of the case, but the overall cost consists of fixed administrative and court filing fees in addition to a fee to hire and retain a bankruptcy attorney. It is not advisable to try to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, as this can lead to costly mistakes or even an outright dismissal of the case. Be very wary of any attorney who posts a flat fee on his or her website or quotes a fee over the phone without taking the time to set up a personal meeting and fully understand the details of the case. Reputable bankruptcy attorneys have several strategies for working with clients who are struggling financially, from payment plans to using funds previously allocated for monthly expenses.
If I File For Bankruptcy Can I Keep My Car?
Lenders have the right to repossess, or take back, an automobile that has been financed (through an auto loan or lease) if payments are not being made. However, an experienced bankruptcy attorney may be able to prevent the surrender of a car. It may be possible to reaffirm the auto loan debt (which means the individual retains the car and continues to make payments as promised) or pay off the remaining balance of the loan or lease and redeem the car (which means the individual would then own the car outright).
UNSURE IF BANKRUPTCY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
If you are struggling with debt, contact Sirody & Associates. Our highly qualified attorneys will review your financial profile and recommend a course of action based on your unique situation.