Based in Utah, bankruptcy attorney Ryan E. Simpson assists residents of West Jordan and the surrounding counties through the bankruptcy process by providing counsel and representation during tough financial crises. In order to lend some clarity to certain issues, we provide these answers to commonly asked questions. Please keep in mind that no single answer to any of these questions fits everyone’s unique situation. If you face mounting debt or harassment from creditors, and wish to discuss filing for bankruptcy, contact bankruptcy attorney Ryan E. Simpson for a free consultation.
• General Bankruptcy Questions
• Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Questions
• Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Questions
General Bankruptcy Questions
Below are some general questions to ask your bankruptcy attorney.
What is the creditor’s role in bankruptcy?
Generally, once you file for bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, creditors may not call you regarding collections, and may no longer initiate new legal proceedings or continue with proceedings they have already started, including wage garnishments. This injunction is referred to as an “automatic stay.” In fact, once you are under the protection of the bankruptcy court, you will most likely only have to deal with the court and designated bankruptcy trustee, rather than the creditors themselves.
If a creditor continues to pursue collection efforts after being informed of the bankruptcy proceedings, the creditor may be liable for court sanctions as well as damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Let us, the bankruptcy law firm in Salt Lake City, know immediately if a creditor continues to attempt to collect on your debt after bankruptcy proceedings have begun.
Will filing for bankruptcy affect my credit?
Your credit has probably been affected by your present situation; likewise, your credit will be affected if you decide to file for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy can be an effective way to regain control of your finances and provide a fresh start for handling mounting debt. Although initially, your credit score may decrease, many debtors find that their credit scores begin to improve not long after they file for bankruptcy. It is important to note that most types of bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for a period of up to seven to ten years (see below for more specific information regarding Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy). In some cases, the time period can be reduced. Learn more at http://markalexander.over-blog.com
What assets are exempt from bankruptcy?
Exempt property generally includes your home, the items inside your home, your car, and your retirement accounts. In certain circumstances, you may also be able to keep some monetary assets. Determining which property is exempt can be a complicated matter that is heavily dependent on the specifics of your situation; an experienced attorney can examine your assets and advise you as to what property you will likely be able to keep.
What are debts non-dischargeable through bankruptcy?
Under the Federal Bankruptcy Code, Congress has determined that certain types of debt are not dischargeable in bankruptcy for public policy reasons. The debtor must still repay these debts after bankruptcy. For example, the following debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy:
• Spousal support (alimony) and child maintenance and support obligations
• Most tax liability, although there are some exceptions
• Government-backed student loans
• Debts incurred by fraud or intentional wrongdoing
• Criminal fines and restitution
What is a fraudulent transfer?
A creditor or bankruptcy trustee may allege that a fraudulent transfer occurred if you donated some of your assets prior to filing for bankruptcy, leaving nothing to pay your creditors. However, sometimes actions are brought in relation to good faith transfers, in which a debtor has simply given more generously than he or she should have. We can assist you if a creditor or bankruptcy trustee attempts to recover property that you gifted in good faith.
Are there alternatives to filing for bankruptcy?
Yes. Bankruptcy may not be for everyone. Some people do not qualify for bankruptcy, while others may conclude that the burdens of filing for bankruptcy outweigh the benefits. Many simply prefer not to file for bankruptcy. As an alternative to bankruptcy, you may choose the process of debt negotiation or loan modification, in which a qualified bankruptcy attorney negotiates with your creditors to reduce your debt.
If a particular bill collector is threatening you in violation of the law, or attempting to collect more than you owe, we may be able to use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to stop any illegal collection activities.