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Busting Common Myths about Arizona Bankruptcies

Filing for bankruptcy anywhere can be stressful. However, if you are neck deep in debt, and if bankruptcy seems like the best path to take, you shouldn’t hesitate to do so. Some people hold back on filing for bankruptcy and sorting out debt because of many misconceptions. Here is a brief list of common myths surrounding bankruptcy and the actual truth which dispels them.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Erases All Debt

Under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules, some debt will be discharged by the court. This does not mean that all debt will be “erased” by the courts. For example, discharge is not granted for certain debt like owed child support, spousal maintenance, penalties owed for criminal or civil cases, certain tax debt, and for all secured debt. What will actually happen when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the court will review your case, and the judge will discharge a certain amount of unsecured debt. Then, the court will oversee a payment plan for you to pay back all remaining secured or exempt debt.  Will you walk away from bankruptcy with substantially less debt—yes, all debt gone—not always?

The Creditors Can Claim My Car and House

This is a common myth surrounding filing for bankruptcy and it’s largely not accurate. The courts allow bankruptcy petitioners to keep family homes and main modes of transportation under exemption rules. Even if your house is tied up in debt, you can claim an exemption of up to $150,000 out of the total equity value of your home. You can also get up to $6,000 worth of exemptions for each motor vehicle you own. Also, Arizona’s homestead laws further protect family homes. There are no recent known cases where an Arizonian bankruptcy court uprooted a family from their home over an unpaid debt. The courts are largely in favor of debtors keeping their shelter. To find out more about exemptions your property or vehicles might qualify for, contact a local bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale.

The Bankruptcy Court will Inspect My House

The bankruptcy court does not demand that anyone go to the debtor’s house and go through his or her possessions. The petitioner is expected to voluntarily list all possessions (under oath) when presenting the necessary paperwork. If the debtor has lied, the creditor’s lawyer will point it out to the court. There are no inspections of any sort involved absenting a willful fraud on the court by the applicant.

Filing for Bankruptcy Disqualifies Me from Applying for Credit Cards and Loans

Debtors that file for bankruptcy are not automatically disqualified from obtaining credit cards or loans like car loans. Certain types of bankruptcy, like Chapter 7 bankruptcy, discharges unsecured debt like unpaid credit card bills and personal loans. Once you have been declared bankrupt, your credit score will be lowered. Some loans will not be available for you based on this low credit score. However, as soon as you start repaying remaining debts, your credit score will come back up again quickly. In the meantime, you will be able to qualify for secured credit cards or loans even after you have filed for bankruptcy.

Also, when you have filed for personal bankruptcy once, you have to wait at least 6 years to file for personal bankruptcy in the state again. Creditors know this, and some actually prefer to lend to formerly bankrupt clients because of this knowing that they will not return to the bankruptcy court for years to come.

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