Category Archives: Consequences of Bankruptcy

10 Things You Should Know About Bankruptcy Court

1. Deadlines are critical in bankruptcy court. The regulations for this process are very complex, can be technical, and all case deadlines must be met. Failing to file the appropriate forms or documentation on time could result in your case being dismissed or delayed. If your case is dismissed you could lose your filing fees and have to start over again from the beginning.

2. New federal regulations passed in 2005 make it harder to qualify for complete debt elimination. The Bankruptcy Code was changed in 2005 to make it more difficult for consumers to wipe out debt completely if there are resources available to pay these obligations. Many consumers who would have qualified for a Chapter 7 discharge before these changes must now use Chapter 13 instead, which involves repayment of some of your debts. This is determined using the Means Test.

3. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy includes a repayment plan that must be filed with the bankruptcy court. The court will determine exactly what income and expenses you have, and then calculate the reasonable expenses and monthly repayment amount for your case. This plan must be submitted to the court and confirmed.

4. Representing yourself in bankruptcy court can be a big mistake. The laws regarding bankruptcy can be very confusing, and many common errors could cost you a chance at a new financial start. An experienced attorney can help you determine the right exemptions, represent you at hearings and meetings with creditors, and get the best results possible for you.

5. Bankruptcy court is a court which exclusively deals with bankruptcy cases. These courts are located around the United States, and they only handle bankruptcy cases and matters related to this legal area.

6. The bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee in your case. This trustee will be responsible for overseeing your specific case and ensuring that all of the documentation is filed. The trustee is not in favor of either the consumer or creditors, but is an officer of the court instead.

7. Choosing the right attorney to represent you in bankruptcy court is important and can affect the outcome of your case. You want a lawyer who will aggressively defend you and work hard to overcome any objections that may be presented by your creditors or the trustee. Experience is also important, so you want an attorney who is very knowledgeable in bankruptcy law.

8. The penalties for lying or hiding assets in a case can be severe. The bankruptcy court judge has the authority to dismiss your case, order fines and penalties deemed appropriate, or even have perjury or other criminal charges filed against you. It is essential that you are completely honest in all your dealings with the court to avoid any sanctions or penalties.

9. The exemptions you claim in bankruptcy court will affect whether or not your property can be seized and sold to pay creditors. The laws of each state are different. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether to use the federal or state exemptions, or whether a combination of these two are better in your specific case.

10. A discharge is the order issued by the bankruptcy court when your case is completely finished and closed out. Usually any debts that have not been repaid are eliminated in the process unless you have reaffirmed your obligation.

Call Firebaugh & Andrews for your free evaluation, with over 50 years combined experience they can make sure you make the right decision.

The Difference Between Secured Debt and Unsecured Debt

There are two different types of consumer debt. There is secured debt which is a loan that is guaranteed by specific collateral and there is unsecured debt which is not secured by specific collateral. It is important that consumers understand the differences between the two types of debt, especially if they are having trouble making their loan payments, because the different types of creditors have different rights when it comes to collecting money from you and they have different priority when it comes to bankruptcy proceedings.
What is a Secured Debt?
As mentioned above, secured debt is a loan that is attached to a specific piece of property. The most common example is a mortgage which is, most often, secured with the property or home that the loan is used to purchase. So, if a borrower is having trouble making his mortgage payments and defaults on the loan, the lender can take back the property or the home in order to satisfy the debt. If the loan was not secured by the collateral (in this case the home or property) then the lender would have the same rights as other unsecured lenders and need to try to recover the money from the borrower’s total assets. It would not have any specific right, or priority in, the property or the home.
Typically, secured loans are offered at a better interest rate and better terms than unsecured loans because of the added protection that the collateral provides the lender.
What is Unsecured Debt?
In contrast to secured debt, unsecured debt is provided to a borrower without any specific collateral. For example, credit cards are unsecured debts. If a borrower stops making payments on his or her credit card, the credit card lender is able to sue the borrower for repayment but does not have a right to any specific piece of property. So, while a judge could order that property be sold to satisfy debts, the unsecured lender has no ability to require the sale absent a judicial ruling.
Bankruptcy Rights of Different Kinds of Creditors
While this might sound like an academic discussion since the borrower retains the obligation to repay all of his or her lenders, whether they be secured lender or unsecured lenders, the discussion is far from merely academic. While in theory the borrower has the responsibility to repay all of his or her debts, that is not always possible. If the borrower is defaulting on loan payments then the borrower may lack the funds to repay all of his or her obligations. Often, the borrower is left with no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
In a bankruptcy proceeding, secured creditors are entitled to the collateral which guarantees their loans in the order that the loans were made. For example, if a homeowner has an original mortgage that was properly executed and filed and then a second mortgage that was taken out at a later time and properly executed and filed and both loans were secured by the same property, then the original mortgage loan takes precedence over the second mortgage. It is only after both loans have been fully satisfied that unsecured lenders are entitled to any proceeds from the sale of the property or home.
Loan obligations, including student loans, car loans, mortgages and credit cards, can quickly become overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to understand your creditors’ right to recover payment from you and the priority in which they are entitled to do that.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is it Better for My Credit Than Chapter 7?

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for the same amount of time; about ten years. Although they both have the same effect on your credit score, a particular creditor reviewing your report to decide whether to lend you money might view one chapter more favorably than the other. In particular, a creditor might be more willing to lend to you if you filed for Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7.

Bankruptcy &Your Credit Report and Score

Your credit report is important if you want to borrow money – the potential lender will review the report to determine if lending to you would be risky. Those with good credit are a low risk and are more likely to get loans with good terms; those with poor credit are high risk and may have more difficulty.

These lenders will look at your credit score and your overall credit history when deciding whether to lend to you. Your credit score is based on a multitude of factors, including the amount of available credit you have, the ratio of your balances due to your credit limits, your total amount of debt and any judgments or bankruptcies you have on record.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy both affect your credit score the same – having a Chapter 13 bankruptcy on your credit report will not be any better for your score than a Chapter 7. However, the individual reviewing your report will look at more than your score.

Some Lenders Take Into Account the Difference Between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves repaying some or all of your debt over a three- to- five-year period, while a Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves wiping out most of your debts without paying them back.

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 theoretically leave you in a good position to take on new debt, as they both free you from the burden of old debts and give you a fresh start. Beyond that, if you have a Chapter 13 on your credit report, a lender looking at your report may see it as a responsible way to handle your debt, because you made a good faith effort to repay your debts despite your financial hardship. In that way, a Chapter 13 may be better for your credit than a Chapter 7.

Call Firebaugh & Andrews for your free evaluation today 734-722-2999

Consequences of Bankruptcy for School Loans.

Consequences of Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy discharge is intended for certain borrowers who have filed a petition for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Student loans are not discharged through bankruptcy.

Student Loan Consequences of Bankruptcy

While collection activity may cease under bankruptcy relief laws, borrowers will most likely be responsible for all of their student loan debt.

Borrowers who declare bankruptcy and have loans already in a default status will need to make six voluntary, satisfactory payments to regain federal loan eligibility. Please note that borrowers who filed under Chapter 13 may already have made payment arrangements through their bankruptcy plan. Six consecutive payments to the court-appointed trustee will still be necessary. Questions regarding defaulted loans in relation to bankruptcy may be directed to Rita Ray at 1-800-MGA -LOAN (1-800-642-5626), extension 60614.

Borrowers who declare bankruptcy and have no previous loans in default status will still be eligible for federal student loans in accordance with federal education and bankruptcy laws. A borrower should be aware that if he or she declares bankruptcy, lenders may require the borrower to fill out a new Master Promissory Note and the school to certify entirely new federal loans. Questions regarding loan eligibility for borrowers in bankruptcy with no prior loans in default may be directed to the Michigan Guaranty Agency Customer Services Unit at 1-800-MGA-LOAN (1-800-642-5626), extension 36076.