Looking for an experienced bankruptcy attorney Lexington KY? You’ve come to the right place. Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows a person in unexpected financial difficulty — due to medical bills, being laid off, divorce, injury or other unforeseen economic hardship — to start putting their lives back together.
This can happen to anyone. Thousands of honest, hard-working people have found themselves in a position where bankruptcy is the best choice for themselves and their families.
Please read below and, if you think this might be your best option or you have other questions, call us at (859) 259-0727 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Let our experience work for you.
Are there different kinds of bankruptcies?
Yes. In 2005 the law that governs bankruptcies was significantly revised and made the process of filing bankruptcy somewhat more complicated for consumers. Essentially, there are two main kinds of bankruptcies most people are likely to find themselves filing: a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all non-exempt* assets are sold and applied to the debt. The remainder of the debt is then essentially wiped out. Please be aware that there are certain classes of debt, such as student loans, which are generally not forgiven as a result of bankruptcy.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is similar, except that a portion of your income over a period of time will be applied to the debt, then the balance will be forgiven. You will retain some non-exempt assets that would normally be liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The process of determining which Chapter you should file can be a complicated one. This often involves questions of what types of assets you own or have an interest in. You will also want to determine what you would like your and your family’s financial future to look like.
*Your bankruptcy attorney will help you identify your non-exempt assets.
Who can file for bankruptcy?
Any individual who lives in the United States, and/or any business (such as sole proprietor-ships, partnerships, and corporations) which has been organized within the United States can file for bankruptcy.
What happens with my creditors once I file for bankruptcy?
One of the first things that happens when you file a bankruptcy case is the imposition of what is known as an “automatic stay.” That means all creditors are legally obligated to cease collection efforts. Harassing phone calls, letters, and any other action designed to collect on the debt must cease.
This is done to stop creditors from essentially racing to the courthouse to try to collect on the debt before another creditor can.
Normally, your creditors will be informed of your bankruptcy petition the moment it is filed and they will stop collection efforts. If creditors continue to contact you, you can inform them of the pendency of the case. If we are representing you, let us know that creditors are still trying to contact you and we will get in touch with them. If they persist, they may be subject to sanctions for violating the automatic stay.
Will my employer or landlord find out about my bankruptcy?
Generally, no. If they are listed as a creditor on the bankruptcy petition, they will not be served notice of it. Keep in mind however that bankruptcies are public records, so there is always the possibility of someone finding out.
Can my employer fire me for filing bankruptcy?
Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because you filed for bankruptcy.
Can I go to jail if I file bankruptcy or don’t pay my debts?
It depends. For most debts, the answer to this question is no. However, if you owe back child support or criminal penalties, the courts can incarcerate you for failure to pay. Debts such as these are generally not dischargeable under bankruptcy.
On the other hand, bankruptcy can wipe out your other debts which in turn allows you to start paying down the non-dischargeable ones.
Does the spouse of a married person also have to file bankruptcy?
No. Just one spouse can file bankruptcy. There is no requirement that the petition has to be filed with a spouse.
Can I keep any credit cards?
You might be able to if it is agreeable to the creditor. Many creditors might very well agree to keep holding your debt, if they know you’ve discharged your debts to other creditors and are able to make payment. Of course, this will mean that you also keep the balance on the card that would otherwise be discharged at the end of a bankruptcy case.
In other words, you may be able to keep some of all of your credit cards, but for those you keep, you will continue to carry that debt. You will have to decide if this is in your and your family’s best interests.
Will I be required to go to court?
Approximately one month after the filing of the bankruptcy petition there will be a meeting between you, the bankruptcy trustee, and any creditors that choose to attend. This is called the first meeting of creditors and you must appear. The creditors may or may not ask you questions about your assets. If we are retained to represent you, one of our experienced attorneys will be with you at this meeting. After that meeting you generally do not have to return to court.
Are there alternatives to bankruptcy?
There are numerous alternatives. There are many reputable credit counseling agencies available that can help to see if you can avoid filing bankruptcy. Also many creditors may be willing to work out a payment plan with you so that you can afford to pay their balance.
What happens if I don’t disclose all my assets?
If you hide assets from the bankruptcy trustee, you can be convicted of a federal crime, face substantial fines and jail time, and be denied a discharge of your debts. This is probably your least successful path.
What should I do to prepare for filing bankruptcy?
Preparing to file for bankruptcy can be a complicated process. It completely depends on your situation, what debts you carry, what assets you have, and what you want your financial future to look like. It is impossible to effectively answer this question without knowing the big picture of your particular situation.
Ready to hire a bankruptcy attorney in Lexington KY – Or maybe you just have some questions?
If you are thinking about filing, please give us a call (859) 259-0727 for a free, confidential consultation. One of our experienced attorneys can help you decide your next step.
Give us a call (859) 259-0727 to set up a free, confidential consultation with a Bankruptcy Attorney in Lexington KY. Let our experience smooth your way to a fresh start!
Baldani, Rowland & Richardson, Attorneys at Law
300 W Short St Lexington, Kentucky 40507
Hours: 8:30AM—5:00PM and by appointment
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