If you need assistance in deciding when to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we can help you. We understand bankruptcy procedures and we know this decision affects more than just your finances. To learn more about when to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and for help in making an informed decision, contact our West Chester, Ohio Bankruptcy attorney at the Andrade Law Office LLC.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy has different requirements and parameters than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Generally, with Chapter 13, you’re reorganizing your debt, asking for lower payments, and for more time to pay your debts. If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are asking to be relieved of your debt, basically you do not have to repay the debt (there are exceptions), but your personal assets are affected.
What to Consider Before You File
Here are a list of pros and cons you should consider if you’re thinking about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This list is not all-inclusive, but it will help you make an informed decision about how to handle your debt.
- A bankruptcy will stay on your credit records for as long as 10 years and will have a serious effect on your credit score.
- You lose any property not exempt under the bankruptcy order, especially luxury items.
- You lose all your credit cards.
- Getting a mortgage may be difficult if you file for bankruptcy.
- If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy now, and find yourself in a worse financial situation later, you cannot file for another Chapter 7 for six years.
- If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the last six years, you cannot file for a Chapter 7 until that six years have passed.
- You still have to pay alimony, child support, and student loan debt.
- You may still have to pay some of your debts even after your bankruptcy is granted; a mortgage lien is one example.
- Depending on the amount of your disposable income (money to pay rent, utilities, insurance, etc. after taxes) a judge may decide to convert your Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to pay your debts, but you have three to five years to do so. (Don’t confuse disposable with discretionary income, which is money you can spend on eating out, vacations, hobbies, etc.)
- The bankruptcy process only takes about three to six months to complete. You can get relief from debt stress fairly quickly.
- Bankruptcy will prevent debt collectors from contacting you.
- There is no restriction on the number creditors or the amount of the debt you can include in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with a few exceptions.
- There is no minimum amount of debt required to file for Chapter 7.
- Your state may provide you with more than enough exemptions to cover property you want to keep.
- You get to keep all salary and wages earned after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- You may be able to get new credit cards within one to three years of the bankruptcy, but at much higher interest rates.
- If you need a mortgage, there are lenders who will loan money to high risk applicants.
- You can file Chapter 13 bankruptcies more often than every six years.
- If you were granted a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and have paid at least 70% of your debts, you don’t have to wait six years to file another bankruptcy.
- If your filing is changed to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it may still improve your debt situation. You can get better repayment terms, and you get keep all of your property
Make Sure You Follow the Terms of Your Bankruptcy Order
There are consequences for not following your bankruptcy order. You cannot file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if a previous Chapter 7 or 13 case was dismissed within 180 days, because you violated a court order, or if you asked for a dismissal after a creditor asked to be excluded from an automatic stay. Don’t take chances. Follow all the terms of your bankruptcy order.
Learn More About When to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
At Andrade Law Office LLC, we can walk you through your options and help you determine what chapter of bankruptcy best suits your situation. Contact us today to learn more.