If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. Many people find themselves overwhelmed by debt, often through no fault of their own. Unexpected medical expenses, family emergencies, divorce, a job loss, rising living expenses—any one of these can create a situation where it feels impossible to keep up with the bills that keep rolling in.

If you’re like most people in this situation, you’ve tried everything you can to get your debt under control on your own—but you can only get so far without help. You don’t have to find the road back to financial health yourself; contact Lambert & Perry to learn about your options, which may include Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Overview of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy  is often referred to as “fresh start” bankruptcy. It allows debtors to wipe away unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, signature loans, as well as give back property without penalty (such as a vehicle with payments that are too expensive). In other words, wiping out all of that debt and getting out of burdensome payments gives you a fresh financial start.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally very short and only takes about four months to complete. There are income eligibility requirements in order to qualify for Chapter 7, so the first step is for your attorney to confirm that you qualify. If you do, your attorney can file your bankruptcy case. At that point, the automatic stay immediately kicks in, meaning that creditors can no longer contact you about your debts.

You do not have to go to court in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but you will have to attend a brief meeting with your bankruptcy trustee. Creditors who want to ask you questions can come to this meeting too, but it is rare for any to do so. Your attorney will prepare you for this meeting and attend with you. Your discharge will likely be granted within several weeks after this meeting.

Debt Eliminated by Chapter 7

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe out most kinds of debt, like medical bills, utility bills, and credit card bills, but there are some debts that cannot be discharged. For example, certain tax debt cannot be eliminated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, nor can domestic support obligations like alimony and child support. Student loan debt cannot be discharged except in very rare cases.

You may also decide that you want to continue to pay some of your debts; this is called “reaffirming” the debt. For instance, you may want to keep making car payments so that you can keep your car. Before you reaffirm a debt, you should be sure you will be able to afford it.

It’s important to let your bankruptcy attorney know about all of your debt. He or she can let you know which of your debts can and can’t be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as well as advise you about whether to reaffirm a debt. In addition, any debt that you don’t disclose in your bankruptcy cannot be discharged, so tell your attorney everything.

Property in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The biggest concern people usually have when filing for bankruptcy is whether or not they can keep their property. The good news is that you can probably keep all or most of your property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most Chapter 7 cases are “no asset” cases, in which the bankruptcy trustee in charge of the case does not take any property from the debtor.

In most cases, a debtor can keep home mortgage or vehicle payments (and the property that goes with them), while wiping away other debts.

Work with Experienced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys

Get the advice and support you deserve to get your debt under control. If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or just want to learn more about your options, contact us today for a free consultation. We can make sure your property is protected and you get the representation you need.

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