WILL MY CREDITORS STOP HARASSING ME?
Yes, they will! By law, all actions against a debtor must cease
once bankruptcy documents are filed. Creditors cannot initiate
or continue any lawsuits, wage garnishees, or even telephone calls
demanding payments. Secured creditors such as banks holding, for
example, a lien on a car, will get the stay lifted if you cannot
WILL MY SPOUSE BE AFFECTED?
Your wife or husband will not be affected by your bankruptcy if
they are not responsible (did not sign an agreement or contract)
for any of your debt. If they have a supplemental credit card
they are probably responsible for that debt.
However, In community property states, either spouse can contract
for a debt without the other spouse's signature on anything, and
still obligate the marital community. There are a few exceptions
to that rule, such as the purchase or sale of real estate; those
few exceptions do require both spouse's signatures on contracts.
But the day to day debts, such as credit cards, do NOT require
both 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 will
record your filing and it will remain on your credit record for
WILL I EVER GET CREDIT AGAIN?
Yes! A number of banks now offer "secured" credit cards
where a debtor puts up a certain amount of money (as little as
$200) in an account at the bank to guarantee payment. Usually
the credit limit is equal to the security given and is increased
as the debtor proves his or her ability to pay the debt.
Two years after a discharge, debtors are eligible for mortgage
loans on terms as good as those of others, with the same financial
profile, who have not filed Chapter 7. The size of your down payment
and the stability of your income will be much more important than
the fact you filed chapter 7 in the past.
The fact you filed Chapter 7 or 13 stays on your credit report
for 10 years. It becomes less significant the further in the past
the filing is. The truth is, that you are probably a better credit
risk after bankruptcy than before.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Costs for filing your bankruptcy will vary depending on the type
of bankruptcy you are seeking. The rule of thumb is that a consumer
bankruptcy will cost approximately $200. This does not include
attorney fees that can run between $700 and $1500 depending on
the nature and complexity of your case. Many bankruptcy lawyers
will give you a free initial consultation. You can keep the fees
down by being well organized and well prepared. You may also be
able to keep the fees down by not requiring the lawyer to attend
the meeting of creditors with you. Check this with your lawyer.
In some states such as Massachusetts, attorneys must attend the
Section 341 meeting with the debtors otherwise attorneys are deemed
to have NOT represented the debtors.
These fee quotes are mere estimates based on nationally reported
averages and subject to variation and change. Please consult with
your local bankruptcy court and with legal counsel on fees before
commencing any action.
For more information, please visit www.mybankruptcycounseling.com
Nathan Dawson writes for http://www.mybankruptcycounseling.com