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Information on this page should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of Roberts & Roberts. The information contained below is of a general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or circumstances.

Bankruptcy/Debt Consolidation
Answer Desk

  1. When do collector calls stop?
  2. Will I lose any assets or property?
  3. How often can I file Chapter 7 or 13?
  4. Must my spouse file with me?
  5. What happens to my credit?
  6. Can I refinance or sell my home? When can I purchase a new home?
  7. Can you stop my home foreclosure?
  8. Does Bankruptcy eliminate all debts?
  9. Do I have to list all my creditors?
  10. Can you remove a lien?
  11. Why try to payback creditors in Chapter 13, why not just file Chapter 7?
  12. Can my co-signor be protected?
  13. Will my employer be notified?
  14. Will my bank account be affected?
  15. Does Chapter 7 or 13 stop lawsuits and judgments?
  16. Can I get out of a contract?
  17. Can you stop wage garnishment?
  18. Can you stop auto repossession?
  19. What about back child or spousal support?
  20. What about back taxes?
  21. Can you help with delinquent student loans?
  22. Can I use credit while in Chapter 7 or 13?
  23. Will I have to go to court?
  24. How long will I be in Chapter 7 or 13?

When do collector calls stop?

Once you retain Roberts & Roberts, the law requires creditors deal with us and leave you alone. Note that the creditors can still take legal action against you until we file your bankruptcy petition.

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Will I lose any assets or property?

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy exempts most assets allowing over 90% of our clients to keep everything and lose nothing. 

Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you keep all assets you choose as debts are paid "as if in full".

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How often can I file Chapter 7 or 13?

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy allows 1 discharge every 6 years. 

Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation lets you file as often as needed, if filed in good faith and 70% of unsecured debts were paid in a previously discharged Chapter 13.

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Must my spouse file with me?

No, in fact we generally prefer to file for only one spouse if possible because of certain exemptions available only to married couples.

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What happens to my credit?

Chapter 7  and Chapter 13 both remain on your credit report for 10 years. But, by not filing, credit bureaus report negative information from the date you become current. By filing, negative reporting stops immediately. This allows you to begin re-establishing credit faster by keeping house, auto or other payments current. Note that after bankruptcy many creditors will extend credit to you because you are now out of debt and have more disposable income each month.

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Can I refinance or sell my home?
When can I purchase a new home?

Chapter 7 - Thirty days after the meeting of creditors you can generally sell your homestead if the trustee or creditors have not filed any objections to your claim exemptions.

Chapter 13 - If your Chapter 13 Plan has been confirmed by the court and the Plan does not deal with the mortgage on your homestead or other property you seek to sell, you may sell it without court authority. In all other circumstances, we must seek court authority for you to sell your property.

Under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you may purchase a new home after discharge without any court intervention.

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Can you stop my home foreclosure?

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy can only temporarily stop foreclosure until your case is dismissed or your creditor receives relief from the automatic stay.

Chapter 13 - Bankruptcy permanently stops foreclosure if back payments and normal payments are kept current via the confirmed Chapter 13 Plan.

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Does Bankruptcy eliminate all debts?

Chapter 7 - A Chapter 7 discharge eliminates almost all secured debts with certain exceptions. Some notable exceptions include your most recent 3-years of income tax liabilities, student loans, alimony and child support obligations. Chapter 7 also does not affect secured debts, except for liens on personal property that are redeemed for the fair market value of the collateral in the bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 - A Chapter 13 discharge eliminates all debts that Chapter 7 does, plus you get a superdischarge. This means that certain debts that are nondischargeable in Chapter 7 are discharged in Chapter 13. You can also modify the rights of secured creditors in Chapter 13, which means that you can strip down a lien to the value of the collateral in your Chapter 13 payment plan.

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Do I have to list all my creditors?

You must list all creditors at filing except creditors with zero balance. 

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Can you remove a lien?

Chapter 7 - If the lien was not incurred to purchase the asset, was not consensual, and impairs an exemption, it may be removed by lien avoidance techniques.

Chapter 13 - Nonconsensual liens are removed the same as in Chapter 7, but you can also modify consensual liens. You can even "strip off" a second mortgage on your homestead if it is completely unsecured.

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Why try to payback creditors in Chapter 13, why not just file Chapter 7?

There are specific reasons that some people cannot file a Chapter 7 and need to file Chapter 13. For instance, if you have disposable income after payment of your living expenses each month, you may not qualify for Chapter 7. Another reason is to protect non-exempt property. An example of this is where you have a car with more than $1,000 in equity.

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Can my co-signor be protected?

All consumer co-signors are protected under Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation but not under Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy.

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Will my employer be notified?

Chapter 7 - No, unless you owe your employer money.

Chapter 13 - Local Rules of our bankruptcy court here in the Southern District of Florida require a Wage Deduction Order for the Chapter 13 payments. This rule does not apply to self-employed persons or if the court permits payments without a Wage Deduction Order.

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Will my bank account be affected?

If your bank or credit union is an unsecured creditor, close your account and move to a bank where you owe nothing. Otherwise, at time of filing, your bank could offset or freeze your account.

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Does Chapter 7 or 13 stop lawsuits and judgments?

Yes, immediately when we file your case. There are certain exceptions to this rule. One major exception is for child support enforcement suits.

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Can I get out of a contract?

Bankruptcy generally cancels unwanted contracts if you discontinue the service and/or return the merchandise.

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Can you stop wage garnishment?

Yes. We make creditors stop garnishing wages when your case is filed. Note that there is an exception is for child support enforcement suits.

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Can you stop auto repossession?

Chapter 7 - The bank cannot repossess your car once you file bankruptcy. You must, however, get the payments current before the case is finished or before the bank receives permission from the bankruptcy judge to repossess.

Chapter 13 - You can cure defaults on your car loan or even lower the payments on your car loan in Chapter 13. We also make the bank return the car if it was repossessed within 10 days before you filed your bankruptcy.

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What about back child or spousal support?

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy cannot protect you after discharge. Child and spousal support and alimony are nondischargeable debts.

Chapter 13 - You pay back child and spousal support in full, without further interest, in your payment plan. 

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What about back taxes?

In Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you pay back taxes without interest, in your payment plan. In Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy, secured taxes, such as property taxes, cannot be discharged. Unsecured taxes, such as income taxes, may be discharged if the taxes are 3 years old, you filed timely, and you have not been assessed in the prior 240 days.

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Can you help with delinquent student loans?

In Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you can pay student loans, without interest, in your payment plan. In Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy, student loans may be discharged if the loans were from a non-government profit institution or they are over 7 years old from final due date.

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Can I use credit while in Chapter 7 or 13?

No, not until you receive a discharge. In Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you must get court permission to incur debt over $250, except in emergencies.

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Will I have to go to court?

Generally only one trustee meeting appearance is required 30 to 45 days after filing. This is normally a short meeting and you do not see the judge. Your creditors may be present to ask questions. Our attorney will be present to represent you.

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How long will I be in Chapter 7 or 13?

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy takes about 5 months, although your dischargeable debts are gone the day we file your case. 

Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation takes 3 to 5 years to repay debts unless you decide to pay faster.

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