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If I file for bankruptcy will I be able to obtain credit again?

A Bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for seven to ten years. However, this does not mean that you must wait 7-10 years after filing bankruptcy to obtain a credit card, buy a car or finance a home. Depending on your employment, your income, and your ability to repay any incurred debt, you may be offered credit by auto loan companies and credit card companies shortly after your bankruptcy is discharged (typically 3-5 months after filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy).

What is a discharge?

If a debt is discharged, you no longer have an obligation to pay the debt, and the creditor may not make any collection effort to compel you to repay the debt.

Do all debts get discharged?

No, not all debts will be discharged through the bankruptcy. A bankruptcy case only discharges debts that you owed at the time you filed the case, not those you incurred after filing the case. Debts that are not discharged include debts for certain taxes, certain unscheduled debts (creditors with debts not listed in your paperwork), alimony, maintenance or support debts, pre-petition fines or restitution, debts for injury or death caused by use of drugs or alcohol, most student loans and certain condo or co-op fees.

Other debts that may not be discharged include debts you may have incurred through fraud or by willful or malicious actions. If the creditor does not ask the court to rule on these debts, they will be discharged.

How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

Without evaluating your individual case, it is difficult to quote an exact fee because the fees vary depending upon the complexity of the case. During your free consultation I will evaluate your case and will then be able to tell you the fees for your bankruptcy case.

The current filing fee for a chapter 7 case is $335.00. The legal fees vary based upon the complexity of the Chapter 7.

The current filing fee for a chapter 13 case is $310.00. Generally you only pay a portion of the Chapter 13 Legal fees prior to filing with the remainder being paid through your Chapter 13 Plan payment.

What about working with a debt consolidation company or a credit counselor instead of filing for bankruptcy?

You will probably find that debt consolidation will do very little to improve your credit. Many people try for years to repay their debt through debt consolidation and end up making little or no progress in reducing their debt or repairing their credit. In addition, during the time (usually over a period of several years) that you are making payments to a debt consolidation company, your credit report will still reflect that you owe money to your creditors. There are also issues with how much you repay and whether or not your creditors will work with the debt consolidation company that you choose.

You need to be extra careful when selecting a debt consolidation company or credit counselor. Check with the Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau prior to retaining a debt consolidation company to assist you.

If I file for bankruptcy can I keep my car?

Filing for relief under Chapter 7 or 13 under the Bankruptcy Code automatically protects your vehicle. Depending on which chapter you file determines whether you can re-write your vehicle loan to reduce the principal and/or interest that you pay. Many individuals file for bankruptcy to avoid losing their vehicle.

Can medical bills be included in a bankruptcy?

Medical bills are dischargeable in a bankruptcy.

My wages are going to be garnished, can I still file for bankruptcy?

Yes!!! It is not too late to file and stop the garnishment of your wages. Filing bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) immediately stops all collection activity including wage garnishments.

I am behind on my mortgage payments and there is a pending foreclosure. Is there anything that I can do to stop the foreclosure?

There may be. You should immediately call my office and schedule an appointment for a consultation. This appointment will not cost you anything and I will be able to look at your situation and recommend a course of action.

How can I stop the constant phone calls and letters from creditors?

When you file for bankruptcy, your creditors will be notified by the court. Under federal bankruptcy law, creditors must stop calling you and sending you collection letters after they are notified of the bankruptcy filing. If you are contacted by a creditor after you have filed for bankruptcy, you should refer the creditor to your bankruptcy attorney. Most people are surprised at how quickly the creditors stop calling.

Eden R. Sarver

Eden R. Sarver, Attorney at Law

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