St. Clairsville Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy is a taboo subject. People avoid it at all costs, believing it to be a last resort, a sign of failure, and a proceeding that will forever ruin their credit score. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
You may greatly benefit from bankruptcy if you are in any of the following situations:
- You have a steady income, but your debt has accumulated exponentially and is now too high to manage
- Your credit score is plummeting because you have fallen behind on bills
- You are living paycheck to paycheck, unsure of how you’ll continue to support your family
- Your business is now a liability because debt and other expenses exceed its profitability
- Creditors and collection agencies are regularly contacting you, demanding immediate payment
- Your car has been repossessed
- You have been notified of an impending foreclosure
- A creditor or collection agency has filed a lawsuit against you
- Your bank account has been frozen, or your wages have been garnished
- Paying your debt will prevent you from maintaining a basic standard of living or taking care of your dependents
One of the most significant forms of relief provided by bankruptcy is the automatic stay. The automatic stay is a court order that takes effect as soon as you file, and it halts all collection actions—including calls, letters, repossession, foreclosure, wage garnishment, and bank levies. Because you are protected from these attempts for your entire bankruptcy process, you have the invaluable opportunity to regain control over your finances without worrying about what a creditor or collection agency may take from you.
Many people are surprised to learn that individuals and business owners who are currently highly successful in the U.S. once filed bankruptcy. It has been an effective form of debt relief for hundreds of years, and our team at Isla Law Offices is fully prepared to help you navigate the process.
What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
In general, bankruptcy is meant to allow individuals and businesses to reorganize or discharge debt, thus obtaining a fresh financial start. The Bankruptcy Code is divided into chapters, each with its own advantages, drawbacks, processes, and intended filers. Two of the most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 is often called “liquidation bankruptcy” because the Bankruptcy Trustee will sell any of your nonexempt assets to repay your creditors. Once this process is complete (usually taking 4-6 months), the court grants a discharge of any remaining unsecured debt. If your debt is discharged, you are no longer legally obligated to pay it, and your creditors are no longer allowed to initiate or continue collection attempts.
In Chapter 13, on the other hand, you will propose a repayment plan to the Bankruptcy Court. This plan will consist of monthly payments that will last 3-5 years. You will pay the Bankruptcy Trustee, who will distribute the funds among certain creditors. After completing all required payments, the court will discharged remaining unsecured debt.
Which Type of Bankruptcy Is Right for You?
Chapter 7 is typically best for individuals or businesses who do not have enough regular income or revenue to make payments. As an individual, you may benefit from Chapter 7 if you own no more than a single home and vehicle, along with other forms of property that you can protect by claiming bankruptcy exemptions. If you are a business owner, you must be willing to part with your business, as Chapter 7 will liquidate your company.
You may need to file Chapter 13 if you don’t qualify for Chapter 7. To qualify for Chapter 7, you will need to pass a means test, which takes into account both your income and your assets. If they exceed a certain amount, you will need to file Chapter 13. Some people choose to file Chapter 13 even if they qualify for Chapter 7 because state or federal exemptions won’t protect the properties they want to keep. Many people use Chapter 13 to save their homes from foreclosure because the repayment plan allows them to spread out past-due payments over 3-5 years. You cannot qualify for Chapter 13, however, if you are filing as an LLC, corporation, or other separate business entity.
Ultimately, you will need the insight and skills of an experienced St. Clairsville bankruptcy lawyer to determine which type of bankruptcy is right for you. Every case is entirely unique, and our team at Isla Law Offices will take all the time we need to analyze your situation and implement the best possible strategy for your future.
Get in Touch with Us Today
Bankruptcy can prevent some of the worst consequences of debt—from foreclosure to frozen bank accounts. But to reap as many benefits as possible, you will need to start sooner rather than later. Creditors and collection agencies can resort to drastic collection attempts at a moment’s notice, and you deserve our fierce advocacy during this challenging time.
25+ Years of Bankruptcy Experience
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Licensed to Practice in Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Ohio