Bankruptcy Lawyer in Las Vegas Representing Consumers
Each year, more than 800,000 people seek a fresh financial start by filing for bankruptcy. The reasons people fall into debt vary. Some people get sick and rack up medical bills above and beyond what their insurance will cover. Other people lose jobs or get divorced, thus lowering their income while potentially owing alimony or child support. And some people simply mess up, putting too much on credit cards without the ability to pay them off.
Regardless of why you fell into debt, filing for bankruptcy is a sensible way to wipe out some of your debts and start over. The Bankruptcy Law Office is here to help you, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at (702) 997-4149 for help today. We have experience with consumer bankruptcy and will guide you through the process every step of the way.
Types of Bankruptcy
The bankruptcy code basically gives consumers two bankruptcy choices: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Your bankruptcy lawyer will help you consider which one is more appropriate, since there are differences between the two. Consider the following factors:
- Do you own a home? Depending on the home’s value and how much you owe on a mortgage, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be better than a Chapter 7.
- Do you want to save your car? Depending on how much value it has, a Chapter 13 could be a better choice.
- Do you have few assets? If you don’t own much of value, then a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a quick and easy way to wipe out your debt and give you a fresh start.
- Is most of your debt credit card or medical debt? If so, then Chapter 7 might be ideal.
After you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is empowered to sell your non-exempt assets to pay off your unsecured creditors, such as credit card companies. Almost everyone who files for Chapter 7, however, gets to exempt many assets from liquidation, including homes, cars, and household goods. After that, Chapter 7 completely wipes out any remaining unsecured debt. You’ll never have to worry about those creditors again!
Conversely, under Chapter 13, the trustee won’t sell your assets. Instead, you’ll work with your attorney to draft a payment plan. In this plan, you will continue to pay your secured creditors, such as your mortgage and car payments. You’ll also contribute a certain percentage of your income to your unsecured creditors. At the end of your repayment period, Chapter 13 will wipe out your remaining unsecured debt.
Chapter 7 has certain income limits based on family size and where you live, so you should meet as soon as possible with your bankruptcy lawyer to determine whether you qualify, or whether you will need to file under Chapter 13.
Types of Debt You Can Eliminate in Bankruptcy
A bankruptcy can’t eliminate all debt, only “unsecured” debt. Unsecured debt isn’t backed by with collateral. For example, a car loan is probably backed by the car itself, so bankruptcy cannot discharge a car loan. The same is true of a mortgage on a home. Instead, a bankruptcy usually wipes out the following debts:
- Credit card debts
- Personal loans
- Medical debts
- Some court judgments
Unfortunately, bankruptcy can’t discharge student loans, child support, or alimony, either, so plan to continue paying them during and after your bankruptcy. You can’t eliminate some court judgments, either, depending on why you were sued.
How a Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help in the Process
The bankruptcy process is fairly straightforward, but you’ll need a qualified bankruptcy attorney to help you get your paperwork filled out properly and get approved for bankruptcy by the judge. A 2011 study out of California showed that only 61 percent of people who filed for Chapter 7 without a lawyer were ultimately approved. By contrast, about 95 percent of people who filed with a lawyer’s help were approved, so your odds go up significantly if you use a bankruptcy lawyer.
Before meeting with your lawyer, compile a list of debts, including how much you owe, and a list of your assets. You will put this information on a schedule that you will file with the court. Your attorney will look at your income and debts to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If you choose Chapter 13, then you will need to come up with a payment plan.
After filing, your creditors will be notified and must stop all collection efforts, so you can expect no further phone calls or visits from collection agents. Within three to six weeks, you’ll attend a meeting of creditors where you will review your filing with your trustee. Your creditors can choose to attend and ask you questions if they want, though most don’t.
In Chapter 13, you’ll have to go to court for a confirmation hearing, where the judge will decide whether the repayment plan is realistic. Your creditors can object for a variety of reasons, but the judge should approve your plan if your lawyer was careful and followed all of the rules. After the judge signs off on the plan, you’ll start making payments to the trustee, who distributes them to your creditors.
All in all, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can take four to six months to complete, and the Bankruptcy Law Office will be by your side during the entire process. The Chapter 13 process will take longer—three to five years. If you don’t keep up with your payments during this time, then the judge can convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy to Chapter 7.
Contact a Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney Today
Stop worrying about how you will provide for your family and stop living in fear of phone calls from collection agents. Instead, schedule a free consultation with a Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options for getting your finances and life back on track.
The Bankruptcy Law Office has years of experience filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies for consumers looking for fresh starts, and we’re only one phone call away. Reach out to us at (702) 997-4149 or schedule an appointment online.