considering Filing for Bankruptcy?
Whether you have a mortgage, a car, a personal loan, a credit card, a cell phone, all of the above, or none of the above, your daily life is affected by the state and federal statutes that comprise an area of law called "Consumer Law". As a bankruptcy attorney, my main focus is using these consumer laws to help people who wish to file for relief under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. The following information may be useful prior to contacting MacLean Law Firm for a consultation.
Should I file for bANKRUPTCY?
If you are considering filing, you must first be prepared to take part in an analysis of your entire financial situation to determine whether your situation will be benefitted by filing a bankruptcy case.
Some of the primary things to be considered before filing are:
The answers to these questions may affect the filing and outcome of your case, so please be prepared to discuss them at consultation.
I've dECIDED TO FILE, wHAT DOES MY ATTORNEY NEED?
If you are scheduling a consultation with MacLean Law Firm, or you've completed a consultation, you will need to provide the following documents and information to commence your case:
AM I ELIGIBLE TO FILE?
Bankruptcy is arranged into several different "chapters" to provide relief to anyone from your everyday person all the way up to the largest businesses and even entire cities. Information about the different chapters of bankruptcy is mandatorily provided to each client who contacts this office, it can be found here.
MacLean Law Firm is focused on helping individuals or joint filers with primarily consumer debts who are eligible for filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. However, the whether you're able to file under either chapter or whether a filing is advisable is limited by several factors:
1. Your place of residency
You must reside in the county where you will commence your case for the previous 180 days.
2. Previous bankruptcy filings
The Bankruptcy Code was amended in 2005 to prevent or reduce repeat filings. If you've ever filed bankruptcy, you may be limiting in your ability to file depending on how long it has been since you filed, which chapter you filed under, and whether or not you received a discharge or dismissal with or without prejudice.
3. Debt Limitations
Both Chapter 7 and 13 have limits to the amount of secured and unsecured debts for filers. Since these are hard to tally, your attorney should help you determine your eligibility under this criteria.
4. Type of Debt
Certain debt cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. This includes priority tax debts, family support obligations, and debts owed to governmental units, to name a few.
5. Household Income
Filers under Chapter 13 must have a regular monthly income. This can be from a broad array of sources. Further, while there is no "income cap" or minimum income for bankruptcy your household income can affect your case in a variety of ways, especially in a Chapter 13.
The term "asset" has a broad definition in bankruptcy and can even include future or contingent interests, such as awards from lawsuits or inheritances. An attorney is essential to help you evaluate your assets and available exemptions to determine what assets you have that can or cannot be protected from liquidation in a bankruptcy case.
Depending on those factors you may be eligible for one, both, or neither Chapter's 7 or 13. Or you may be eligible, but bankruptcy is not your best option. For most people who are eligible to file, the answer of which Chapter to file, or whether to file at all, will be relatively clear-cut based on the goals and expectations discussed at the consultation meeting.