Need help with Chapter 7 & 13 Bankruptcy?
Hamilton Law proudly represents consumer debtors in chapter 7 & 13 bankruptcy. We take pride in making a stressful situation easier for our clients. And, we strive to make the bankruptcy process easy and understandable for our clients.
Dealing with debt and bankruptcy and the uncertainty of a good outcome imposes a lot of stress on you. Hamilton Law has years of experience with Chapter 7 & 13 bankruptcy and will guide you towards a favorable outcome. Reach out to us and we will assist you with your debt and bankruptcy.
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What can Hamilton Law do for you?
make a stressful situation easier for you
make the bankruptcy process easy to understand
help with Chapter 7 & 13 bankruptcy
assist you in every step of the way
protect your interests
guide you towards a favorable outcome
Our Debt & Bankruptcy Attorney
Ryan A. Hamilton
Let us help you with debt and bankruptcy
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court places an automatic temporary stay on your current debts. This stops creditors from collecting payments, garnishing your wages, foreclosing on your home, repossessing property, evicting you or turning off your utilities. The court will take legal possession of your property and appoint a bankruptcy trustee to your case.
The trustee's job is to review your finances and assets and oversee your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They will sell certain property the bankruptcy won't let you keep (nonexempt property) and use the proceeds to repay your creditors. The trustee will also arrange and run a meeting between you and your creditors—called a creditor meeting—where you'll go to a courthouse and answer questions about your filing.
The list of property you don't have to sell or turn over to creditors (exempt property), and the total value that you can exempt, varies by state. Some states let you choose between their exemption list and the federal exemptions. But most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are "no asset" cases, meaning all of the person's property is either exempt or there's a valid lien against the property.
At the end of the process, approximately four to six months from your initial filing, the court will discharge your remaining debts (meaning you don't need to pay them anymore). However, some types of debts generally aren't dischargeable through bankruptcy, including child support, alimony, court fees, some tax debts and most student loans.
What's the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the two common types of bankruptcy that affect consumers. Either could help when you don't have the means to pay all your bills, but there are important differences between the two.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe out certain debts within several months, but a court-appointed trustee can sell your nonexempt property to pay your creditors. You also must have a low income to qualify.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to keep your stuff and get on a more affordable repayment plan with your creditors. You'll need to have enough income to afford the payments and be below the maximum total debt limits (currently nearly $400,000 for unsecured debts and $1 million-plus for secured debts).
A court will approve the Chapter 13 repayment plan, which usually lasts three to five years, and your trustee will collect your payments and disburse them to your creditors. Once you finish the plan, the remainder of the unsecured debts is discharged.
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Who Qualifies For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
There are a few requirements you'll need to meet to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
You generally must complete an individual or group credit counseling course from an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before filing.
Either the average of your monthly income during the previous six months must be less than the median income for the same-sized household in your state or you must pass a means test, which determines if your disposable income is high enough to make partial payments to unsecured creditors. If you don't pass the means test, you may still be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
You can't have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy during the past eight years.
You can't have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy during the past six years.
If you tried to file a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy and your case was dismissed, you have to wait at least 181 days before trying again.
You may be eligible to file, but a court could dismiss your case if it determines you're trying to defraud your creditors. For example, if you take out a loan or use credit cards with the intent of then declaring bankruptcy to avoid repaying the debt.
How Long Does Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?
Generally, the entire Chapter 7 process from the initial credit counseling to the point when the court discharges your remaining debts takes about four to six months.
Your case could take longer, however, such as when the trustee asks you to submit additional documents or if they have to sell your property to repay creditors. Or, perhaps you want to try to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy. It's possible, but difficult, and can require a lengthy trial.