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  • FAQs

    What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

     Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as a straight bankruptcy. All of your non-exempt property will be transferred into a bankruptcy estate, and a trustee will sell those assets. The proceeds will then be distributed to your creditors. The result is to give you a fresh start, free from the burden of overwhelming debt.

    What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

     Chapter 13, also known as a wage-earner bankruptcy, is a reorganization of your debt. You and your attorney will put together a payment plan that is affordable. Once the court agrees to the plan, you will start paying the trustee a monthly payment.  The trustee will then distribute that money to the creditors.

    Will my creditors stop harassing me if I file for bankruptcy?

     YES!  If your creditors even attempt to collect their debt, they can be subject to liability.

    Will my spouse be affected?

    The real answer to this question is IT DEPENDS.  Jointly owned property will be subject to the creditors.  Additionally, your spouse’s credit report may reflect the bankruptcy on any joint debts. However, your spouse will probably be able to insulate his or her own property from the bankruptcy creditors.

    Who will know?

     Your bankruptcy will be a public record, which means anyone can look it up. However, few people will spend their day checking to see if their friends or family have filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will remain on your credit for 10 years. If you do not want friends and family to know, don’t tell them. There is a good chance they may never know.

    Can I keep my credit cards?

     Generally, we inform our clients to plan on NOT keeping their credit cards.  Although the final decision is made by the credit card companies, we negotiate aggressively on behalf of our clients who want to maintain their cards.

    When will I be discharged from bankruptcy?

     As a general rule, you can expect to be discharged in 3-5 months. However, each case presents its own challenges. Some steps of the process are beyond the control of the attorney and the client, which means we can never give an exact time frame.

    Will I have good credit again?

     Absolutely!  In as little as 2 years, you may be approved for a home mortgage. After that, your income may be a bigger factor for creditors than the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. After 10 years, your bankruptcy will no longer be on your credit report.

    How much of my property am I allowed to keep?

     An individual can keep up to $20,000 equity in his or her home ($40,000 for couples), and $2,500 in his or her car ($5,000 for couples). Additionally, retirement plans, pension plans, home furnishings, clothes, burial plots, health aids, personal injury settlements, animals and tools of trade are exempt to a certain amount. See the Utah Bankruptcy Law Handbook for more detailed information. Give us a call and we can explain to you in detail what you will and will not be able to keep.

    I have filed bankruptcy before. When can I file again?

     Generally, a person can file bankruptcy after 8 years have passed since the previous bankruptcy.

    What debts are erased by a bankruptcy?

     Almost all unsecured debt (such as credit cards and personal loans) will be discharged. However, there are exceptions. Alimony, court fines, child support, taxes, and student loans will not be discharged.