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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Do I Become Ineligible for a Home Loan After Filing for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy could affect your life in both positive and negative ways. The main negative in declaring bankruptcy is that the debtor’s credit score will take a major hit. While it’s very much possible to restore a bad credit score, many consumers do wonder what it means for immediate financial assistance requirements. For example, if you don’t own a home and have filed for bankruptcy, does that mean you are ineligible for a mortgage now and for how long?

The question is not easy to answer. Personal circumstances and specific situations can matter. It’s best to first get advice from a qualified bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale. However, consumers can also get a general idea of obtaining a home loan following bankruptcy by reading this article.

Qualifying for a Home Loan Following Bankruptcy

There are no legal barriers to qualifying for a home loan following a bankruptcy declaration. A lender cannot deny you a mortgage based solely on the fact that you have filed for bankruptcy once. Lenders will use other underwriting factors to determine your eligibility.

A consumer’s ability to get a home loan following bankruptcy is determined largely by the credit score, monthly income, down payment levels and the remaining savings. Keep in mind that mortgage lenders require a down payment on the loan. If you have no trouble paying for the down payment, then you can quite often also qualify for the loan. If not, you should at least be able to pay 20 percent of the down payment right away. The higher the down-payment one can offer a lender, the higher the chance that your mortgage loan will close and fund on the date of purchase.

How Bankruptcy Affects Credit Scores and Eligibility for Home Loans

You should expect your credit to plummet by at least 120 points if you file for bankruptcy. All of the credit monitoring companies scan the bankruptcy dockets every day to watch consumers.  After you are discharged from your bankruptcy case, you will need to soon start rebuilding credit to prevent going into the negatives. If you start repaying remaining debts that survived your bankruptcy, your credit score will rise without a problem. Rehabilitating credit in this manner is the best option you have for being qualified for a subsequent home loan. Even if your credit score is low, if you can show the lenders that it has been improving, then your mortgage application may receive more favorable treatment during the loan application process.

How to Improve Your Chances of Obtaining a Home Loan Following Bankruptcy

First of all, you should take steps to get your credit score back up. If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, sticking to the monthly court-approved payment plan should do it. Otherwise, you can get a credit card and make timely payments without missing a single payment due.  Pay on time, each and every month.

Start saving. You should certainly expect to spend some time-saving money before you can apply for a mortgage. Let your savings accumulate so you have enough to at least partially cover a down payment. The more savings you have, the better your application will look.   You can get friends or family to help you accumulate down payment funds as well, so long as they are willing to sign off and release those funds to you in writing.

Don’t forget to repay existing loans such as student loans, taxes owned, or child support. Always continue to timely pay your regular bills on time as well.

What matters is that you maintain a good financial profile by not falling back into the previous circumstances that caused you to file for bankruptcy.  Time is your friend.  After a bankruptcy, the longer you have come through and demonstrated a strong credit history and ability to pay—the mortgage lenders will start to consider you again for home mortgage loan qualifications.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Cope with the Stress of Fighting a Bankruptcy Case

No one really wants to be in a situation where they have to file for bankruptcy. It can be immensely stressful to go through with the proceedings. If you have trouble managing stress while you are petitioning for bankruptcy, here are several tips to help you reduce the mental burden:

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Your Lawyer the Tough Questions

Bankruptcy cases can be particularly stressful because the law involved in these cases can be quite complicated. Don’t be confused and or angered about the issues raised. If you have questions, ask your bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale. A good lawyer will be more than happy to help you with whatever questions you have. Your attorney is also the best person to explain how the law applies to your unique situation. You will feel much better after you have spoken to your attorney regarding the tough parts of your case.

Think About Positive Aspects of Bankruptcy

Yes, it may seem impossible to look on the bright side of filing for bankruptcy, but there really is one. Bankruptcy can actually be good for you. Think about all the good things happening. For starters, your creditors can no longer harass you with never-ending phone calls. You are no longer avoiding debt issues. Some of the debt you have, like credit card debt, can be dismissed by the court depending on under which chapter you file.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered the “best plan for debt elimination” because the court discharges most types of unsecured debt under this law.  The court will order a credit plan to pay back whatever remaining debt you have. So when the court proceedings are done, you will mostly be debt free!

Sleep Properly

Do not stay up late worrying about your case; let your attorney handle that part. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night when the case is proceeding. If you are sleep deprived, you will feel even more stressed out. A good night’s sleep can clear your head and prepare you mentally to navigate your case.

Educate Yourself about Issues Involved

Your attorney may not have time to explain every little thing about your case to you. In this situation, you can always go online and read about the basics of filing for bankruptcy litigation. If you don’t understand what Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy is, there are plenty of resources online (and also on this blog) that will help you understand the process involved. Don’t hesitate to do your research. When you are educated about the laws involved, the case will seem a lot less complicated to you. That should relieve most of your stress issues.

You can also read blogs about people who have overcome debt after filing for bankruptcy. Reading about the experiences of others will help you overcome yours better.

What’s more stressful than going through with a bankruptcy case? Crushing debt. Once the case is over, your debt will be largely be gone too. So think about the positives and don’t dwell on the negatives until your case concludes and you are fully discharged.  This too shall pass.  

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

The Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy

Most people perceive bankruptcy as a dreadful thing, like a complete end to financial stability and future prospects. This is a rather misguided notion of bankruptcy. Filing for personal bankruptcy does have its benefits other than reaching a legal solution to overwhelming debt. Don’t believe it? Read below to find out:

Stop the Never-Ending Collection Calls

One of the major positive aspects that follow declaring personal bankruptcy is the definitive end to collection calls. In Arizona, creditors are legally obligated to stop attempting to collect the debt when a debtor has filed for personal bankruptcy. Your creditor won’t be able to call you, try to foreclose your home, notify your employers, or do anything else to attempt to collect your prior debt. If the creditor harassment continues, you will have a good case for your bankruptcy proceedings. You should contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale to find out what your options are if credit harassment continues.

Keep Your Home

Arizona law allows exemptions for homesteads or the primary residence owned by a debtor. The court will not make you homeless and take away your shelter when you file for personal bankruptcy. So it’s a sensible way to try to save your home from debtors. This exemption has a dollar and equity limits and certain exceptions that you should clarify with a lawyer. But filing for bankruptcy will stop a creditor from foreclosing your home.

Protect Personal Assets

The Arizona bankruptcy law allows many personal property exemptions when filing for bankruptcy. That means you would be able to keep valuable assets like books, furniture, cheap motor vehicles, various electronic gadgets, family antiques, clothing, pets and so on in your possession. Creditors will not be able to claim these as collateral.  They are prohibited from taking your things.

Stay in Control of Business

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows business owners control of their company even after filing for business bankruptcy. So it’s a good way to keep a business afloat when the debts threaten to run your company to the ground. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy also facilitates business owners to reduce debt gradually over time.  Chapter 11 can also aid in getting rid of high-stakes litigation by discharging the pending litigation claims that were previously being waged against your company.

Retain Your Pension Fund and Retirement Assets

You can retain your considerable IRA or other types of qualified retirement plans or pensions when you file for bankruptcy. It’s one another valuable personal asset that will be kept away from the debtors. Put another way, you will exit bankruptcy with virtually identical retirement assets as when you went into bankruptcy.

Start Improving Your Financial Status

When you file for bankruptcy, your credit score would hit rock bottom. But afterward, it will start to climb up again, sometimes rapidly. Filing for bankruptcy is sort of the last step towards regaining financial footing and security. After that, it only gets better. When you start to make debt payments, your credit score would start rising again.  Many creditors are attracted to persons coming out of bankruptcy and offer them credit because they know that the person cannot file another bankruptcy for many many years.

Have a Trustee Oversee Your Monetary Affairs

During your bankruptcy, the court appoints a Trustee between you and the creditors to oversee how the discharge on your bankruptcy filing is being carried out. This spells only good things for your future financial dealings. If pursuing a chapter 11 or 13, you will get a handcrafted debt repayment plan to get back on your feet after the declaring.   If pursuing Chapter 7, most if not all of your debts will be canceled.

Above all, you will feel less stressed. Your money matters will be taken care of, and the creditors will finally go away.  Consider speaking with competent bankruptcy legal counsel today.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Bankruptcy Exemptions Allowed Under Arizona Law

Arizona bankruptcy law allows for a set of exemptions for assets when filing for personal bankruptcy under any chapter. Exemptions are property the debtor, that is you, can keep when you file for bankruptcy and are later discharged therefrom.

You can only exempt assets specified under the law. There are some debts that are non-dischargeable, or cannot be erased by a judge. Examples of non-dischargeable debt include income taxes owed, student loans, and child support and domestic support obligations. There are much more.

Exemptions apply to single persons or married couples filing for bankruptcy. Married couples who file jointly can claim typically claim all exemptions unless a judge specifies otherwise. Here is a list of notable exemptions under Arizona law:

  • Homestead—Real Property, like a home, where the debtor lives that is worth up to $150,000. Exemptions for sale last 18 months after or until a new property is purchased. A married couple cannot double the exemption up to $300,000 however.
  • Personal property like furniture, vehicles worth less than $6,000, family portraits, electronic gadgets, rugs, bank deposits up to $150, books, and so on that are worth up to $4,000. A married couple can double personal property exemptions.
  • Insurance proceedings such as group life insurance policies, fraternal benefit society proceeds, disability benefits, health insurance claims, and life insurance cash value up of total $25,000 (up to $1,000 per person, or $2,000 per dependent). A married couple can double life insurance value exemptions.
  • Earnings of a minor child.
  • Business or partnership property.
  • Various types of pensions, such as ERISA, 401ks, the board of regents members, IRAs, government worker pensions such as those for firefighters and state employees.
  • Public benefits received such as unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation, and welfare.
  • Value of tools of the trade such as arms, farm machinery, uniforms, teaching aids, and seeds, animal feeds, and so on.
  • Unearned wages for about 75 percent, payment pensions, and other forms of wage income.

The above is just a summary of exemptions. You can ask your bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale for detailed clarifications. Some exemptions have value limits that you need to get clarified. Married couples can double on some exemptions, but not others.

Exemption limits also apply to equity debtors may have on their real property. Equity is defined as the difference between what the debtor owes on the real property and the actual value of the real property. For example, if you took out a $200,000 mortgage on a house worth $300,000 you would have $100,000 equity in the home.

Some equity is covered by exemptions, so the debtor can repay a previous loan. If the exemption doesn’t cover all of the property, then the appointed trustee can liquidate the asset and distribute the profits. However, remember that not all properties are exempt. You can still keep property without exemption by paying the trustee value of the property.

In addition to the above, there could be federal exemptions for which you are eligible. The federal exemptions are in addition to your Arizona exemptions. In the end, you should contact a lawyer to check out your eligibility for federal exemptions.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Who Can File for Chapter 12 Bankruptcy?

Most people are familiar with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 12 is a special type of bankruptcy clause that allows a specific group of financially “distressed” debtors to file for bankruptcy.

Unlike Chapters 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcies, which most individuals or businesses in debt can apply for, Chapter 12 bankruptcy is specifically reserved for family farmers or family fishermen under the Bankruptcy Code, which the state of Arizona adheres to. The eligible parties can propose a repayment plan for the debt to pay off creditors in five years or less. In this sense, Chapter 12 bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 13.

Chapter 12 doesn’t allow for the automatic discharge of some debts like Chapter 7. However, a judge will review all debts and determine if any are eligible for a legal discharge. Let’s look at who is eligible to file for this type of bankruptcy:

Only Fishermen and Farmers with Regular Income are Eligible

The Bankruptcy Code specifically states that the fishermen or farmers who qualify for Chapter 12 bankruptcy must have what is termed as “regular annual income.” This clause exists because debtors who file a petition must agree to a repayment plan that requires some sort of income. However, income for some farmers and fishermen is almost always seasonal. The law takes this into consideration and does allow relief if needed. You will need a competent bankruptcy attorney in Phoenix or in your local area to ask for a regular income reprieve.

Categories of Farmers and Fishermen

The family farmers and fishermen are specified in the law under several categories. A “family farmer” or a “family fisherman” could be an individual or a spouse of en eligible individual, or a business entity like a partnership. The individuals must have a professional in commercial fishing or farming to be eligible. The total debt the petitioner is seeking relief from should not exceed $3,237,000 for farmers or $1,500,000 for fishermen.

A majority of the debt in question should be related to farming or fishing. For fishermen, this is least 80 percent, and for farmers, the threshold is at least 50 percent. Also, a majority of more than 50 percent of the income of the petitioner must come from farming for fishing operations for the preceding tax year. For farmers, this must be true for two or three preceding tax years.

Filing as a Corporation

Fishing and farming corporations or partnerships are eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy too. There are, however, stringent considerations that determine which types of business entities are eligible. The businesses must be family owned, and more than one-half of the equity or stock in the business must be owned by a single family or its blood relatives.

The corporation or the partnership must be run by family members and relatives. A majority of 80 percent or more of the value of the entity must come from farming or fishing related activities. There are limits to indebtedness levels as well just like for individuals. Also, the business cannot publicly trade stocks after filing for bankruptcy.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Consulting with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Before you file a bankruptcy petition, you must consult with a competent bankruptcy attorney. In fact, you should do this while even contemplating bankruptcy. The attorney would be able to tell you whether bankruptcy is the best option for your financial situation and the best timing to file. When you are consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, here is what you should ask and seek answers for:

Tell the Lawyer Briefly about Your Financial Situation

When you meet up with your bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale, be 100% honest with them regarding your financial situation. Do NOT withhold the truth for any reason.  If you haven’t hired the lawyer, you don’t have to give details of your debts. However, a brief overview will be necessary. Tell the lawyer what type of debt you have, your income situation, and why you think you are unable to repay your loans on time. The lawyer should be able to tell you then whether bankruptcy is the suitable next step for your financial situation.  If you lie to your lawyer, you could face criminal prosecution in your underlying bankruptcy case later because he or she would be defrauding the court.  The truth the truth and nothing but the truth, because your bankruptcy is filed under penalty of perjury.

Ask the Lawyer if He or She is willing to be a Negotiator

Before you file for bankruptcy, you can try negotiating with creditors. Bankruptcy is not the ideal scenario for either debtors or creditors. Some creditors may be willing to cut down the interest rate or extend the repayment plan. If you are worried about your credit score, negotiating is better than going to court. You can inquire about the pros and cons of bankruptcy from your attorney. It’s important to make sure it’s the best solution for your financial problems before proceeding.

Inquire about Different Types of Bankruptcy

The Bankruptcy Code allows for different types of bankruptcy petitions. You may have heard of some of these already, like Chapter 7. While Chapter 7 is the most common type of petition for individual debtors, it may not be the only one. If you belong to a higher income category, you may have to file for Chapter 13. If you have a family business in fishing or farming, you may be eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Ask your lawyer about which type of bankruptcy petition best suits your situation.

Check Your Eligibility to File a Petition

If you have filed for bankruptcy before, you may not be eligible to file again. For example, if you have declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you will not be eligible for the same type of petition for about 6 to 8 years depending on what state you file in. There could be other factors, like income and alimony that make you ineligible to file for bankruptcy or at least the type of debt relief you seek. Therefore, you will need to ask the attorney to find out if you are eligible to file a petition and which chapter might get you the best debt relief.

Learn about Fees and the Process

Filing for bankruptcy is not expensive, but there will be court fees involved. Learn about these fees from the lawyer. Also, ask the lawyer to explain the general process of filing in your local jurisdiction. You will have to discuss representation fees and consultation fees as well. Bankruptcy attorneys are limited in how much they can charge as per Arizona law.  You typically get what you pay for.  The $99 down bankruptcy ads on TV are usually highly misleading.  Most bankruptcy filings, no matter who you hire, require several thousand dollars to file and complete.

If your consultation goes successfully, you will be able to proceed with your petition.  Consider contacting us to consult to discuss your needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

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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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Type of Bankruptcy Should You File in Arizona?

There are several different types of bankruptcy to consider if you are in serious debt you cannot pay back. First, you have to decide that bankruptcy is the best course of action to take. Once you have done that, you should decide under which “chapter” under which to file for bankruptcy.

The most common types of personal bankruptcy are Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. To decide between the two, you should seek legal advice from a local bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix or elsewhere. Let’s look at the types of bankruptcy available and which type may suit your needs the best:

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy.” It’s quite common because it allows the court to discharge many types of unsecured debts. For example, massive amounts of credit card debt or personal loan debt can be completely discharged by a judge under this law. If there are nonexempt properties or debts, the court would appoint a Trustee to oversee your finances until remaining creditors are paid off.

This type of bankruptcy is only available to debtors with medium to low-income. The process to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can take up to 4 months, and sometimes involves significant paperwork.

Chapter 11

This type of bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 13 in that it is also a type of “reorganization” bankruptcy. It is typically used by large corporations or companies but individuals can use it too. Personal bankruptcy is rarely filed under Chapter 11 however.

Chapter 12

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is exclusively for fishermen and farmers. It involved submitting a repayment plan to court like in Chapter 13. However, unlike Chapter 13, these plans are allowed to be more flexible. Chapter 12 offers more flexibility with cramdowns and lien shipping for unsecured aspects of secured loans. Chapter 12 requires higher debt limits to get a favorable ruling.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is called the “wage earners” bankruptcy. It’s usually the last resort for those who don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This route allows debtors to pay back their creditor in full or part via a court-approved payment plan. Paying the debts off can take up to 5 years depending on the petitioner’s income. Once the payment plan is approved, the court may discharge some unsecured debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can prevent a home foreclosure and allow debtors to keep much their property.  Discussing these issues with experienced bankruptcy legal counsel is critical.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law in Arizona, only unsecured debt below a certain fixed debt amount (e.g. $394k) will be discharged by a court. Submitting a payment plan for this type of bankruptcy can be complicated so a bankruptcy attorney is almost always needed to successfully procure court approval of your 3 or 5 years Chapter 13 discharge plan.

To decide which type of bankruptcy is best for you, look at two things: assets and income. Income matters because filing under Chapter 7 is only possible for people in a certainly limited income bracket. You must also choose the right type of bankruptcy to protect assets that could be considered nonexempt. Speaking in general terms, if you are unemployed or earn a low income with few available assets, Chapter 7 may be the best option. If you earn a significantly high income and have many assets, Chapter 13 could be the best option.  Under either Chapter, counsel with experienced and seasoned bankruptcy legal counsel is the critical first step in the process.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona

When you file for bankruptcy in Arizona, you are bound by state as well as federal laws. Before you file for bankruptcy, you need to know whether you actually need to. Most people who are deep in debt opt to file for Chapter 7, which provides a certain degree of debt relief, asset protection and management of existing debt. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can only be used once every seven years. So, you really need to know whether you want to file for bankruptcy now or seek alternative solutions.

When it comes down to it, it will be up to you to decide whether you should file for any form of bankruptcy. A credit counselor may be able to help you. Before you make up your mind, here are several tips on filing for bankruptcy in Arizona:

Take Advantage of Arizona’s Exemption Laws

Arizona’s Exemption Laws allow a certain degree of protection against repossession of assets by creditors who have provided unsecured debt. For example, if you are neck deep in credit card debt, you don’t need to fear that the credit card company might show up and demand your house or car. Credit card debt is mostly dischargeable under Arizona law. Likewise, if you want unwanted collection calls to stop, you can simply do so by informing the creditor that you have filed for bankruptcy. Consult an attorney in your local area, for example, a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale, to know whether you can benefit from exemption laws and avoid filing for bankruptcy, or hastily seek to file.

Income may Only Qualify You for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your household income must be below the state median income for households of your size. If you fail this “means test,” you may have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Moreover, a bankruptcy judge can later examine whether your income is sufficient to repay debt under Chapter 13, rather than file under Chapter 7.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to repay your existing debt in part under a strict household budget. Your finances will be closely watched by a court-appointed Trustee. If you fail to meet any of the court-mandated obligations, then the Chapter 13 filing could later result in sanctions or “conversion” to another type of bankruptcy under the code. Having competent legal counsel at your side at all times is critical.

Moving on with the Proceedings

If you have made up your mind to file for bankruptcy, you will have to go to a court at the zip code you have lived in for at least 91 of the past 180 days. If you haven’t lived at your current address for this amount of time, you should use the court relevant to your old zip code address. Expect most of the proceedings’ paperwork to be distributed through via snail mail. With or without counsel, you will have to go to the bankruptcy court in person at least once. Go online to find information about your court and to download important documentation.  Appearing in a federal court house is often easier to digest with a competent licensed attorney by your side.

Cost

There are a number of fees associated with filing for bankruptcy in Arizona. In addition to paying for a lawyer, you will have to pay fees for things like mandatory pre-filing credit counseling, filing forms, making copies, and other similar tasks. Fees for different things will vary. For example, getting counseling can cost between $25 and $100.  Costs can be as little as $400 for preparing documentation. However, hiring a lawyer may cost as much as $5,000.  Every case is different.  Be careful agreeing to the “lowest cost” bankruptcy attorney who later calls you demanding thousands more in fees to continue with your case.  Like anything in life, lowest price does not mean highest value.   

If your income is too low, some of these costs may be waived off or you might only have to pay a portion of the fees. Filing for bankruptcy is not free, so do expect to pay as you go through the federal proceedings.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips on Filing for Bankruptcy

Many people opt to file for bankruptcy when their income isn’t sufficient to repay creditors. Certain types of bankruptcy filings can lead to elimination of at least some or all debt and a halt for collection calls. While bankruptcy can be devastating emotionally, it does have many benefits. If you are planning on applying for bankruptcy, here are several useful tips to know about:

Learn About the Different Types of Bankruptcy

There are several different types of bankruptcy. The two main types many people know about are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 eliminates virtually all debt, especially from unsecured loans. Chapter 13 is used to come up with a court-approved plan to partially repay all debt in 3 to 5 years. You will have to learn about what each type entails and which type of bankruptcy is best suited for you. Before you file your case, you will have to learn about the law a bit first.

Hire a Lawyer

It’s virtually impossible to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. The body of law in this area is muddled and complicated so you will really need an experienced attorney. Hire a lawyer from the county you live in, for example a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale. It’s best to consult with an attorney before you decide to proceed with a court filing. Your attorney will tell you how to fill out the legal documents and what evidence to present in court. Attorneys are necessary because, in some cases, creditors have the right to sue you back. A lawyer may be able to intervene and reduce the risk of this.

Understand Your State Laws

Bankruptcy law differs from state to state. How many of your assets you can keep, or how much debt will be discharged will depend on the law in your state. Therefore, it’s very important that you understand the rules and guidelines set forth in the state of your residence. You can get expert help too. For example, you can ask a local bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale for state laws in Arizona.

Bankruptcy Does Not Get Everyone off the Hook for Debt

Filing for bankruptcy often removes the obligation of a single debtor to a creditor. This does not apply to others responsible for the same debt, such as the other joint account holder or a co-signer. If there’s credit card debt, then all the people formally responsible for that account will have to pay. When you file for bankruptcy, the other person could end up being solely responsible for the debt. You may want to think in advance to avoid this scenario. Ask your lawyer for the best course of action.

Inform All the Creditors

You will have to inform all your creditors that you are filing for bankruptcy, not just the creditors responsible for the overwhelming debts. In some states, it’s required by law. When you are in the process for filing for bankruptcy, you must inform all debt collection callers of the situation and provide the name of the attorney handling the case so the calls can stop.

Bankruptcy need not be expensive and emotionally draining. Follow the above tips to make it less so.

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