A financial crisis may be the result of forces beyond your control: Injury, illness, death, divorce, loss of employment - tragedy has a way of surprising you. Or, perhaps, you have frankly made some regrettable choices. Fortunately, federal law offers relief for debtors facing foreclosure, repossession, garnishment, lawsuits and harassment by creditors. You do not have to face it alone. RISEN & RYAN, P.A., Bankruptcy Lawyers in Fort Walton Beach, is designated a DEBT RELIEF AGENCY pursuant to Federal Law. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Contact us today for a FREE & FRIENDLY consultation to determine if Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy is right for you.
The following are simple answers to some common questions. Clearly this is not an easy subject and you should NOT stop here. Rather seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. We would be happy to talk with you about your case at no cost and with no pressure, stress or obligation.
WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?
Bankruptcy is federal law that provides consumers with protection from creditors and an opportunity for a fresh start when financial problems have gotten out of hand. Filing for bankruptcy protection will usually bring an immediate end to creditor phone calls & harassment, lawsuits, foreclosures, repossessions and wage garnishment.
WHY FILE BANKRUPTCY?
The stress of unmanageable debt can impact your job, relationships and even your health. Obviously you did not plan it this way but unemployment, illness, divorce, a failed business or a bad economy can leave you wondering where to turn. Bankruptcy is not the first option - but it is also not the end of world. We can help you identify your options and, if Bankruptcy is the way to go, we can tell you what it will mean for you.
WHO CAN FILE BANKRUPTCY?
Anyone residing in the United States can file for bankruptcy. Usually you must file where you live or where your home is located.
CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13?
The different types of bankruptcy are identified by their corresponding chapters in the federal bankruptcy code. Most consumer filers use chapter 7 “straight” bankruptcy or chapter 13 “reorganization” or “consolidation” bankruptcy. Both primary types of consumer bankruptcy are designed to provide relief from overwhelming debt by giving the debtor a “fresh start”. Both usually provide the debtor with immediate relief from harassing calls, letters and lawsuits and may stop wage garnishments, foreclosures and repossessions.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors may eliminate most types of debts and in return must surrender assets that are not protected by law. Because the law provides protection for homes, retirement accounts, some automobiles and other property, many debtors do not have to give up any property. A typical case takes about four months and does not usually require appearance in court.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors may consolidate their debts by paying into a specially-designed plan (usually) over five years. By complying with the plan the debtor may be forgiven for that portion of most types of debts which he or she cannot afford to pay. Usually it is not necessary to give up any assets in a Chapter 13 although you must pay those debts that are secured by collateral you intend to keep (such as your home or car). Chapter 13 is often used to stop or prevent foreclosure of the debtor’s home permitting an opportunity to catch up late payments over time.
DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR MY HOME AND CAR?
Yes. While bankruptcy may eliminate most types of debts it will not allow you to keep a home or car unless you continue to pay for them.
WHAT IS THE "AUTOMATIC STAY"?
Immediately upon filing for bankruptcy, most debtors receive immediate protection from any attempts by their creditors to collect debts. This means a creditor may not call you, send you a bill, garnish your wages, foreclose your home or repossess your car or truck.
WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
Probably not. Most debtors do not go to “court” or see a judge. You will however be required to attend a meeting at which you will be asked to verify the information contained in the documents you filed with the court. A typical meeting lasts about 5 minutes. Although often referred to as the “meeting of creditors” (as they receive notice and have a right to appear), creditors rarely attend.
WILL I LOSE ALL MY PROPERTY?
No. The law allows you to keep certain property necessary for the support of you and your family and in most cases the debtor must give up no property. Your home and retirement accounts for example are usually completely exempt no matter how valuable. Your automobile and other property are protected within certain limits and arrangements can often be made to permit you to keep the assets that matter the most. In those cases where excess property does need to be surrendered, your attorney will help ensure this is accomplished in a respectful and convenient manner.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?
In Chapter 7, the filing fee payable to the Clerk of the Court is $335. The fees charged by Risen & Ryan for handling such cases start at $1,200. We are aware of the financial pressures you face and are happy to work out payment plans with reasonable down payments.
In Chapter 13 cases, the filing fee payable to the Clerk of Court is $310. Typically, most fees payable to Risen & Ryan can be paid by the Trustee over time as part of your bankruptcy plan. At RISEN & RYAN there is never a fee for the first consultation about bankruptcy.
HOW DO I KNOW IF BANKRUPTCY IS RIGHT FOR ME?
We will be glad to meet with you at no cost and with no obligation. We will analyze your circumstances, answer your questions and discuss your alternatives – without judgment or pressure. Do not hesitate to call (850) 864-1951 or use our simple contact form below.
CONTACT us TODAY for a * FREE & FRIENDLY consultation to determine if Bankruptcy is right for you.
DROWNING in DEBT? LAWSUITS? GARNISHMENT? REPOSSESSION? HARASSING PHONE CALLS? FORECLOSURE?