Durden Law Offices, P.C.
Attorney & Counselor at Law Tel: (617) 449-7298
1354 Hancock Street, Suite 305 Fax: (617) 298-2738
YOU DON"T HAVE TO FILE BANKRUPTCY ALONE. WE CAN HELP.
We understand how difficult paying for bankruptcy can be when you are already in financial straits. We work with clients to find solutions that make bankruptcy work and affordable. Each situation is different. Once your situation is assessed and a payment option is determined, we begin work by marshalling the necessary information and beginning the preparation of your bankruptcy petition.
BANKRUPTCY CAN HELP YOU GET YOUR LIFE BACK ON TRACK!
Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all your creditors from trying to collect debts from you. It will stop harassing phone calls and if you are facing foreclosure or repossession, it will stop them from trying to take your car or home.
WHAT CAN BANKRUPTCY DO FOR YOU?
Bankruptcy can make it possible for you to eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts. This is called a discharge of debts. It is designed to give you a fresh financial start. A bankruptcy filing can also stop foreclosure on your house or mobile home and allow you an opportunity to catch up on missed payments. It can prevent repossession of a car or other property, or force the creditor to return property even after it has been repossessed. If your wages are being garnished, it can stop wage garnishment and can end debt collection harassment and similar creditor actions to collect a debt. Finally, it can restore or prevent termination of utility service. Bankruptcy however cannot wipe out all debts. It does not affect money owed for child support or alimony. You will also be required to pay your student loans, unless you can prove to the court that repaying them will create an "undue hardship". You should speak with an attorney to learn how bankruptcy will affect your debts.
WILL BANKRUPTCY AFFECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE?
Unfortunately, if you are behind on your bills, your credit report may already be bad. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse. While a bankruptcy filing will appear on your credit report, the effect of the filing will dissipate with time. Because bankruptcy wipes out all your old debts, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills and begin establishing a good payment history. As I am sure you know, your payment history is a very important part of your credit score.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BANKRUPTCY?
There are four types of bankruptcy cases provided under the law: Chapter 7 is known as "straight" bankruptcy or liquidation. It requires an individual to give up property which is not "exempt" under the law, so the property can be sold to pay creditors. Generally, those who file chapter 7 keep all their property except property which is very valuable or which is subject to a lien which they cannot avoid or afford to pay. Chapter 11, known as a "reorganization", is used by businesses and a few individuals whose debts are very large. Chapter 12 is reserved for family farmers and fishermen. Chapter 13 is a type of "reorganization" used by individuals to pay all or a portion of their debts over a period of years using their current income. Most people filing for bankruptcy will want to file under either chapter 7 or chapter 13. Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple
WILL YOU STILL OWE SECURED DEBTS (MORTGAGES, CAR LOANS) AFTER BANKRUPTCY?
Yes and No. The term "secured debt" applies when you give the lender a mortgage, deed of trust or lien on property as collateral for a loan. The most common types of secured debts are home mortgages and car loans. The treatment of secured debts after bankruptcy can be confusing. Bankruptcy cancels your personal legal obligation to pay a debt, even a secured debt. This means the secured creditor can't sue you after bankruptcy to collect the money you owe. But in some cases, not all, the creditor can still take back their collateral if you don't pay the debt. For this reason, if you want to keep property that is collateral for a secured debt, you usually, although not always, will need to catch up on the payments and continue to make them during and after the bankruptcy.
HOW LONG WILL BANKRUPTCY STAY ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT?
The results of your bankruptcy case will be a part of your credit record for ten (10) years. The ten years are counted from the date you filed the bankruptcy. This does not mean you can't get a house, a car, a loan, or a credit card for ten years. In fact, you can probably get credit even before your bankruptcy is over! The question is, how much interest and fees will you have to pay? And, can you afford your monthly payments, so you don't begin a new cycle of painful financial problems. Debts discharged in your bankruptcy should be listed on your report as having a zero balance, meaning you do not owe anything on the debt. Debts incorrectly reported as having a balance owed will negatively affect your credit score and make it more difficult to get credit. You should check your credit report after your bankruptcy discharge and file a dispute with credit reporting agencies if this information is not correct.
SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY?
Although it may be possible for some people to file a bankruptcy case without an attorney, it is not a step to be taken lightly or is recommended. The process is difficult and you may lose property or other rights if you do not know the law. The law often changes and each case is different. It takes patience and careful preparation.
We encourage you to contact our law office at (617) 328-4844 if you do not already have a bankruptcy attorney and you have further questions.