When an unexpected financial crisis hits, it doesn’t take long for debt to spiral out of control. A job loss, sudden illness, or serious accident could leave you struggling to pay bills and avoiding harassing calls from collection agencies. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you wipe the slate clean and get your finances back on track.
At Carmichael Law Group, we understand that good people can get into bad debt. We proudly serve clients throughout Alabama and Georgia. Contact us today to learn more about practical solutions that can help you find much-needed relief from crushing debt.
Is Bankruptcy Right for You?
Bankruptcy no longer carries the stigma it once did — it is simply a legally authorized means of eliminating debt and rebuilding after a financial disaster. It also offers individuals a variety of significant benefits, especially the automatic stay.
Once you file for bankruptcy, all collection actions against you must stop. That means that your filing stops the harassing phone calls, letters, and threats of legal action from your creditors. If you are facing foreclosure, repossession, or wage garnishment, the automatic stay can provide valuable protection.
You have two primary options for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. However, there are other means of debt relief as well. For example, some creditors are willing to negotiate reductions in debts in exchange for prompt payment. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you assess your situation and explore your options to determine which course of action best suits your needs.
Eliminate Your Debt With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sometimes called liquidation bankruptcy, is a streamlined process that can eliminate your debt fairly quickly. Under Chapter 7, you will have to sell your nonexempt property and use the proceeds to pay off your debts. Any remaining unsecured debt, like credit card and medical bills, are wiped out. Notably, if you do not have nonexempt assets, your creditors will receive nothing.
While bankruptcy exemptions vary from state to state, you will typically be eligible for a homestead exemption, vehicle exemptions, and exemptions for some types of personal property. In order to qualify for Chapter 7, however, you must meet a strict means test. If you have too much disposable income, you may be ineligible. Your bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine your eligibility, as well as how bankruptcy exemptions apply in your case.
Reorganize Your Debt With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you still have options. Under Chapter 13, you can create a payment plan where you pay off some or all of your debt over three to five years.
While Chapter 13 bankruptcy takes more time, you get to keep your nonexempt property and do not have to liquidate your assets. If you miss payments under your plan, however, the court may revoke your bankruptcy agreement. So it’s important to assess whether your income is consistent enough to support your payment plan
Which Bankruptcy Chapter Is Right for Me?
While bankruptcy can put an end to harassing collection calls and help you rebuild financially, it is not a simple or easy process. For some, other forms of debt relief, such as debt counseling, are a better fit. However, if you and your lawyer believe that bankruptcy is the best option, you’ll need to pick the correct chapter for your needs. While nothing compares to a personalized assessment from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, it’s important to consider the following factors.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be best if:
- You have limited assets and financial resources
- Your property is mostly exempt
- Most of your debt is unsecured and can be discharged by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- You’re unsure whether you can stay current with a strict Chapter 13 payment plan
Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be best if you:
- Do not meet the Chapter 7 means test
- Want to retain your nonexempt assets
- Have nondischargeable debt, such as unpaid income taxes, that you want to repay as part of your payment plan
- Have secured debt, such as a home or car, that you want to save from repossession or foreclosure
- Are disciplined enough and have the necessary income to make timely payments.
How Can a Bankruptcy Attorney Help Me Find Meaningful Debt Relief?
Bankruptcy is a complex process. You’ll need to select the correct debt relief option, carefully identify your debts, complete a series of forms, attend hearings, and cooperate with your bankruptcy trustee who will oversee the entire process. Without experienced counsel, you can easily make mistakes that derail or delay your bankruptcy.
When you work with Carmichael Law Group, you will receive personalized attention and strategies from an experienced bankruptcy attorney. You can rely on us to:
- Advise you of the best options for your unique situation
- Build a practical and efficient bankruptcy plan that aligns with your long- and short-term goals
- Identify unsecured debts that can be eliminated through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
- File the required forms and documentation to initiate your bankruptcy
- Attend hearings and respond to queries related to your case
- Ensure that the bankruptcy trustee acts appropriately at every stage of your bankruptcy
- Guide you patiently through the process, providing information and support to you and your family
We understand that filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision, but it can also be the first step towards rebuilding your future. We treat all of our clients with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Consult With a Bankruptcy Attorney Today
When you work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Carmichael Law Group, we can help you understand your debt relief options and build a plan that works for you and your family. For more information, contact our office for a confidential assessment.