Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions
My clients come to me with many questions about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and with good reason: This legal procedure can be complex and emotionally overwhelming. Here, I will answer a few questions I hear frequently about Chapter 7.
What Exactly Is Chapter 7?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also referred to as liquidation, allows private consumers to clear all or most of their debt. This includes debt from credit cards, medical bills and personal loans.
What Is The Process For Filing Chapter 7?
Though every case is unique, the process for filing Chapter 7 usually takes about four months. It begins when you and your lawyer file a petition with the bankruptcy court in your jurisdiction of Pennsylvania. You will also have to submit tax records and other documents that summarize your financial affairs. After you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect, which prevents your creditors from taking further action against you without court permission.
Within 21 to 40 days, you must attend a meeting of creditors, where you will answer questions about your finances. Finally, in the typical case, the court will grant a discharge in Chapter 7 and nullify any qualifying debt.
Is Chapter 7 Right For Me?
Chapter 7 may be right for you if your income is below the threshold for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you do not have available disposable income to repay your creditors.
Which Debts Can Chapter 7 Discharge?
Chapter 7 can discharge many, but not all, debts. Debts that qualify for discharge include:
- Credit card charges
- Medical bills
- Personal loans
- Utility bills
- Business debts
Nondischargeable debts under Chapter 7 include:
- Most taxes
- Unpaid alimony or child support
- Most student loans
- Fines and penalties to government agencies
Do I Really Need A Lawyer To File For Chapter 7?
Many people try to file bankruptcy on their own, only to hit unexpected obstacles that eat up time and money. In addition, filing incorrectly can result in criminal charges for bankruptcy fraud — even if your error was unintentional. It is far better to work with a skilled, experienced attorney who can help you navigate the bankruptcy system.
Speak To An Attorney About Chapter 7
Do you live in Montgomery County or Bucks County and have more questions about Chapter 7 and other aspects of bankruptcy? Let me provide counsel. Contact Michael E. Eisenberg at 267-728-4535 or send an email to schedule an appointment.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code.