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The Five Most Popular Questions About Bankruptcy
WILL MY CREDITORS STOP HARASSING ME?
Yes, they will! By law, all actions against a debtor must ceaseonce bankruptcy documents are filed. Creditors cannot initiateor continue any lawsuits, wage garnishees, or even telephone callsdemanding payments. Secured creditors such as banks holding, forexample, a lien on a car, will get the stay lifted if you cannotmake payments.
WILL MY SPOUSE BE AFFECTED?
Your wife or husband will not be affected by your bankruptcy ifthey are not responsible (did not sign an agreement or contract)for any of your debt. If they have a supplemental credit cardthey are probably responsible for that debt.
However, In community property states, either spouse can contractfor a debt without the other spouse's signature on anything, andstill obligate the marital community. There are a few exceptionsto that rule, such as the purchase or sale of real estate; thosefew exceptions do require both spouse's signatures on contracts.But the day to day debts, such as credit cards, do NOT requireboth spouses to have signed.
Your bankruptcy lawyer will be able to guide you in this regard.
WHO WILL KNOW?
Chapter 7 filings are public records. However, under normal circumstances,no one will know you filed for Chapter 7. The Credit Bureaus willrecord your filing and it will remain on your credit record for10 years.
WILL I EVER GET CREDIT AGAIN?
Yes! A number of banks now offer "secured" credit cardswhere a debtor puts up a certain amount of money (as little as$200) in an account at the bank to guarantee payment. Usuallythe credit limit is equal to the security given and is increasedas the debtor proves his or her ability to pay the debt.
Two years after a discharge, debtors are eligible for mortgageloans on terms as good as those of others, with the same financialprofile, who have not filed Chapter 7. The size of your down paymentand the stability of your income will be much more important thanthe fact you filed chapter 7 in the past.
The fact you filed Chapter 7 or 13 stays on your credit reportfor 10 years. It becomes less significant the further in the pastthe filing is. The truth is, that you are probably a better creditrisk after bankruptcy than before.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Costs for filing your bankruptcy will vary depending on the typeof bankruptcy you are seeking. The rule of thumb is that a consumerbankruptcy will cost approximately $200. This does not includeattorney fees that can run between $700 and $1500 depending onthe nature and complexity of your case. Many bankruptcy lawyerswill give you a free initial consultation. You can keep the feesdown by being well organized and well prepared. You may also beable to keep the fees down by not requiring the lawyer to attendthe meeting of creditors with you. Check this with your lawyer.In some states such as Massachusetts, attorneys must attend theSection 341 meeting with the debtors otherwise attorneys are deemedto have NOT represented the debtors.
These fee quotes are mere estimates based on nationally reportedaverages and subject to variation and change. Please consult withyour local bankruptcy court and with legal counsel on fees beforecommencing any action.
For more information, please visit www.mybankruptcycounseling.com
Nathan Dawson writes for http://www.mybankruptcycounseling.com
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