Dedicated Legal Counsel for Bankruptcy Matters
For those facing seemingly insurmountable debt, the future can seem incredibly uncertain. There are few things more stressful than being unable to make your minimum payments, fielding calls from persistent creditors, and trying to find a way to overcome your debt and move forward with your life.
While bankruptcy is viewed by many as a last resort—and it is certainly not without significant consequences—filling for bankruptcy can actually provide you with much-needed relief and a chance at a fresh financial start. Because the bankruptcy process is complex, it is important that you speak to an attorney about your situation. The Staunton bankruptcy lawyers at Tucker Griffin Barnes can help you determine if this is the right option for you.
Call our office at (540) 328-2808 or contact us online to request a free, confidential consultation today. We have helped thousands of people find a way out of major debt. Our attorneys are ready to help you, too.
The Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy carries with it many negative connotations, but there are actually a great number of benefits to filing for bankruptcy. While yes, your credit will be affected after filing for bankruptcy, it is usually not as bad nor as lengthy as many people believe.
Some of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy include:
- Creditors are barred from collecting debt, meaning they cannot call or contact you in any way
- Foreclosure of your home, auto repossession, and wage garnishment halts immediately
- Most debts are discharged, including credit card and medical debts
- Debtors are able to protect certain property from falling into the hands of creditors
- In some cases, debtors are able to follow a repayment plan to pay off debts
What are the Downsides of Filing for Bankruptcy?
While there are many benefits of filing for bankruptcy, there are still some downsides. Typically the pros outweigh the cons, but it’s still good to know what you could experience because of filing for bankruptcy.
- Depending on which type of bankruptcy you file for, you could lose assets of value
- You will have out of pocket expenses for both types of bankruptcy
- There are certain debts that cannot be written off
- If you have a joint account, the other person will still be responsible for payments
- If you have federal student loans, they likely won’t be dischargeable, minus a few exceptions
How Do I Qualify For Bankruptcy?
In order to file for bankruptcy, it is not simply deciding which chapter to file for, but you must actually be eligible to file. For example, in order to qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass the Means Test, meaning that your income must be below the median income for a household of your size in your state. To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the total of your debts must fall under a specific limit and you must have a steady income that allows you to fulfill a repayment plan that lasts 3 to 5 years.
How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost?
Before filing for bankruptcy, be aware that there are fees that you must pay. Bankruptcy fees are different depending on where you are.
Costs to consider when filing bankruptcy:
- Filing fees
- Typically $338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13
- Bankruptcy trustee surcharge
- Administrative fee
Typically, the total amounts to hundreds of dollars -- if you are unable to afford them, the bankruptcy court does offer payment plans.
Are All Debts Discharged When You File for Bankruptcy?
Depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you file for, either all of your debt will be wiped out or at least some will remain. Usually, all or some of your unsecured debts may be eliminated.
Examples of unsecured debts:
- Utility bills
- Credit card debt
- Medical bills
- Personal loans
Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13
At Tucker Griffin Barnes, we assist clients who are navigating the process of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each of these options offers its own set of pros and cons. Our Staunton bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine which type of bankruptcy may provide you with the most benefit.
Some of the pros and cons of Chapter 7 include:
- Pro: Most unsecured debts are forgiven
- Con: You must meet certain income requirements to qualify
- Pro: The "automatic stay" stops collection actions from creditors, including suits in court and garnishments.
- Con: Your non-exempt property will be sold to pay off your debts
- Pro: Most debtors’ property qualifies as “exempt”
Some of the pros and cons of Chapter 13 include:
- Pro: Allows you to keep all of your property
- Con: You must adhere to a three- or five-year debt repayment plan
- Pro: Allows you to catch up on missed house/car payments without losing property
- Con: Some debtors will be required to pay back all or a portion of unsecured debts
- Pro: Debtors are able to pay off non-dischargeable debts, like child support
- Con: Business entities may not file (available to individuals only)
Tucker Griffin Barnes can help you weigh the pros and cons of each type of bankruptcy as they apply to your unique situation. Our attorneys take the time to sit down with you, understand the scope of your situation, and work to find a solid legal solution.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you are burdened with significant debt, there is hope. Our bankruptcy lawyers can help you find the right debt relief option for you and your family. We are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and assist you with all the necessary paperwork and filing procedures.
We encourage you to get in touch with us today to learn more about how our firm can help you with your bankruptcy and debt relief needs. Your initial consultation is entirely free and confidential.
Call (540) 328-2808 to speak to a member of our legal team today.
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