1. Question: Will I ever be able to pay off my debt?
Answer: Bankruptcy can make it unnecessary to pay off some debts (in Chapter 7). In Chapter 13, it’s possible to pay them off at a discount if you’ve got some spare cash flow in Chapter 13. There are some debts which don’t get discharged in filing bankruptcy, but that’s a question better answered elsewhere on the site. In Chapter 7, all your “general unsecured debt” goes away.
2. Question: Do I qualify for bankruptcy?
Answer: While it’s true that not everyone qualifies for bankruptcy, many people do qualify and don’t realize it. It can be tricky to figure it out. Most of us really need professional help thinking through whether or not we qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the answer to that question turns out to be “No”, then the logical next step is to see whether you qualify for a bankruptcy filing Chapter 13.
What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing?
Most Chapter 7 filers are individuals or married couples who are living fairly modestly and still don’t have enough income to pay their “reasonably necessary” living expenses. Or they can just barely pay those reasonably necessary expenses there is nothing left over to pay their unsecured creditors. (Credit cards are one example of unsecured debts.) But if after measuring those “reasonably necessary” living expenses there is some money left over, the debtor may be in Chapter 13.
3. Question: Is my credit score ruined forever?
Answer: NO. Forget what “…everybody knows…” The current recovery time for your credit score after finishing your bankruptcy is two years. That’s enough time for anyone to get his / her credit score back up to the mid-to-high 700s. It’s the new normal. Yes, your bankruptcy filing can stay on your credit report for ten years. But after two of those ten, lenders seem not just ready, but anxious to get you back in a borrowing state of mind.
4. Question: Is bankruptcy filing the right choice for me?
Answer: It’s impossible to know without a thorough conversation about your particular situation. That’s why Paul offers an exhaustive first meeting at no charge. He figures his clients like certainty as much as he does. In fact, he guarantees his clients they’ll get a discharge or get their money back. In over twenty years in practice, he’s never had to make a single refund.
5. Can I get the debt collectors to stop harassing me?
Answer: Yes – depending on who the creditor is and what you’ve done to protect your self. First, the bad news: “in-house” collection departments for the original creditor have more rights than third-party “debt collectors.” The easiest definition for debt collectors is collection agencies. So if Bank of Billions’ collection department wants to call you every day during permissible hours, it can do so. But if Bank of Billions sends your account to ABZ Collection Agency, the rules change. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act kicks in. You can tell ABZ to pound sand, stop calling, stop writing and ABZ has to comply. That’s worth something.
6. Question: Should I consider debt consolidation or debt settlement?
Answer: Maybe, but without adding too many qualifiers here, neither is likely to get as good a result as bankruptcy.