Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Syracuse, the majority of your unsecured debts will be completely discharged. However, certain debts, referred as “secured debt” or “non-dischargeable debt,” cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. This type of debt includes child support, spousal support, student loans, tax debt, damages for personal injury accidents, etc. Furthermore, in exchange for eliminating your unsecured debt, the bankruptcy court technically may sell off some of your non-exempt assets and properties to back pay your creditors. That is why it is vital that your attorney knows how to protect your belongings and assets with the exemptions provided in the Bankruptcy Law. Nevertheless, despite the misinformation most people receive from friends and family that have “heard” bad things about bankruptcy, most people do not lose any property in bankruptcy. During our FREE consultation we can explain what you can expect if you file bankruptcy in Syracuse.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy eliminates your unsecured debt after a period of 3 to 5 years. It consolidates all your debt and restructures it into a monthly payment plan to be paid over time, usually three to five years. The amount you pay each month will be determined by how much income you bring home each month, your currently monthly expenses, the amount of your non-exempt assets, and how much of your debt has already been paid off. In addition, Chapter 13 bankruptcy also permits you to keep all your assets and property throughout the entire process, as well as possibly paying off only a portion of your debt and discharging the rest of the debt owed. A little known fact of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that we may be able to eliminate your second mortgage on an underwater home.
What debts are dischargeable during bankruptcy?
During the bankruptcy process, only unsecured debts can be discharged. Certain tax debts may be discharged if they meet certain criteria. Debts that are dischargeable include:
- Credit Cards
- Medical Bills
- Some Loans
- Unpaid Rent or Utilities
- Consumer Debt
- Pay Day Loans
Debts that cannot be discharged during bankruptcy are referred to as “secured debt” or “non-dischargeable debt,” and include:
- Student Loans
- Child Support
- Alimony/Spousal Support
- Debt to the government
- Debt for crimes committed
- Court Fines
- Damages to personal injury or wrongful death victims
- Parking Tickets or Toll way Fines Liens
Will I lose my home or car?
You may keep your home provided that you continue to make your mortgage payments. As long as your car payments are current, you will in most cases, keep your car as well. Again, most people do not lose any property in a bankruptcy. Because New York law allows for exemptions that protect certain property during the bankruptcy process, most people are able to keep their home and car. When you come to the Law Office of Russell S. Simonetta, I will review your possessions, estimate their worth, and try to negotiate a deal or work the laws in your favor so you can keep your home, car, and other personal possessions.
Will my wages be garnished?
As soon as you file for bankruptcy, any wage garnishment should stop. If your wages continue to be garnished even after you have filed for bankruptcy, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, as this is a direct violation of the law.
Will my friends find out I filed bankruptcy?
Be aware the stigma is gone when it comes to filing bankruptcy. With the state of the economy, bankruptcy is a respectable option which sometimes is the best option for many people. Nevertheless, unless you are a public figure or a big corporation, the chances are very good that the only people who will know about your bankruptcy is you and your creditors. Though it is public record, a person would have to specifically seek this information. Most people don’t care.
How long does a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
A bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for anywhere from seven to 10 years after your case has been discharged. However, even though a bankruptcy appears on your credit report, it does not mean that you will not be able to obtain credit. There are many ways to build credit even after you have filed for bankruptcy.
How can I restore my credit after I have filed for bankruptcy?
Most people think you will not be able to obtain financing for a car or house after bankruptcy. That is simply not true. Usually within two years, you will be able to secure a mortgage to purchase a home. You can obtain financing for a car even sooner.
There are many ways to rebuild or restore your credit after filing for bankruptcy. After you have filed for bankruptcy, it is important to get a credit card or small bank loan in your name. From there you must make all your monthly payments on time. If you do not carry a balance month to month, it will benefit you. This will help increase your credit score and financial standing. Furthermore, continuing to make payments on-time toward your mortgage, car, or other household expenses will also help to build and restore your credit.
Does non-bankruptcy related credit consolidation work?
Nine out of ten non-bankruptcy consolidations and debt settlement plans fail, and many of these so called debt relief companies are outright financial scams. The reason most fail is because there is no laws regulating their business practices. So many people end up dropping out because they realize the program is not working for them. Additionally, your credit will not begin to recover until you make your final payment, which is on an average of 3-5 years after you begin the process. Bankruptcy, on the other hand will help you recover and begin rebuilding your credit immediately after your debts are discharged and will force all creditors to adhere to the FEDERAL LAW.
The stigma is gone. Contact us for a free confidential consultation for bankruptcy in Central New York. We Are Committed to Providing Outstanding Results For Our Clients and Keeping Our Fees Lower Than Our Competitors.