The Pros and Cons of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Do you feel like you are buried in debt with no foreseeable way to get out from under it? Would you like to STOP harassing creditor calls, wage garnishments, pending foreclosure, and losing the assets you have worked hard to acquire? If the answer to these questions is, “Yes!” filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be a solution to help you sleep better at night.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as the “fresh start” bankruptcy and it provides you with the opportunity to wipe your financial slate clean and start building a solid financial future. While there are some debts that are exempt from Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as student loans, child support, and tax obligations, it can be a viable solution for those who meet the income and debt criteria.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can be excused from large medical bills, utility bills, and credit card debt. It is considered to be a liquidation bankruptcy in which some or all of your assets with value will be sold as part of the process. Depending on your specific financial situation, the process can be completed in as little as three to six months.
The Pros of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Although filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can seem intimidating at first, there are several pros to take into consideration. Filing for bankruptcy gives you a strong negotiating tool that you would not have otherwise. Creditors know that when you file for bankruptcy, they stop receiving payments from you immediately. When there is a pending bankruptcy looming, they are more apt to work with you on a payment plan that works for your budget so that they will get paid.
Once filing, you will also receive immediate protection against wage garnishments and credit collection activity. This allows attorneys, creditors, the court, and bankruptcy trustees to analyze what assets you have to work with and come up with a plan to finalize the bankruptcy proceedings.
While any assets you own at the time of filing for bankruptcy may be sold during the proceedings, any assets and wages you acquire after filing with the court are yours to keep. These assets will not be considered in the bankruptcy proceedings.
The Cons of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
There are downsides to Chapter 7 bankruptcy that you should consider before deciding to file.
Debts such as student loans, back taxes, child support, and credit card charges that were incurred within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy are exempt from being discharged during the proceedings.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit for 10 years after it is finalized. Over time, it will have less of an impact on your credit history and score.
During the proceedings, your assets will be liquidated to help pay back debts. This could mean losing your home, car, and other items of value, depending on your specific situation.
While you could be discharged from loans, co-signers on these loans will be on the hook for the payments. If someone co-signed for a loan with you, you should discuss the situation with the co-signer before filing.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
You do not have to hire an attorney in order to file for bankruptcy, but your attorney will act in your best interest during the bankruptcy proceedings. When you choose to hire an attorney, you get an expert in your corner who can help you receive the best deal possible while losing the fewest assets. Bankruptcy law is like a complicated game of chess and your attorney will help you navigate through the following:
- Determining if you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Choosing between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Figuring out what your debts and exemptions are
- Analyzing what to include on various bankruptcy forms
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a smart decision if you feel like your finances have spiraled completely out of control or if you have suffered from a significant loss in income. While it may feel stressful or embarrassing at first, bankruptcy should be viewed as a fresh start where you can finally take control of your financial future. At Walker & Walker Law Offices, PLLC we have a team of expert attorneys who will make the whole process of filing as smooth as possible. Contact us today so we can review your case and help you get onto the road to financial freedom!