Tag Archives: Can I keep my home?

How is Chapter 7 different from Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

When consumer confidence is high and the financial markets are doing well it may be time to drop some of your financial dead weight to clear space for new jobs, more money and less debt. Many people have added it all up and said, “If I only had this amount of extra money, I could clear everything up and actually start getting ahead.” What do you do about those bad decisions or unfortunate situations that were not your fault, but still have a hefty price tag? When you are saddled with debt you cannot pay, you may start thinking about bankruptcy options. Do not be dissuaded by the anti-bankruptcy ads on television, paid for by debt repayment and restructuring companies. Most of them do not get people the fresh start they need to really be successful. If you want to get out of debt and do it right, there are two consumer bankruptcy options for you, Chapter 7 discharge and Chapter 13 restructuring.

What are the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy. When you qualify for a Chapter 7 liquidation (or think of complete discharge) you can literally wipe the slate clean. Note that only certain debts may be discharged, such as court judgments against you, credit card debts and loans you cannot pay. You cannot however get rid of child support obligations, student loans or certain tax or municipal fines.

Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge, you may be able to file a Chapter 13 petition for bankruptcy. You will be able to repay a portion of your debts, every month, over time. In a Chapter 13 you get to keep all your property, including non-exempt assets. When you have the income to pay debts, but need some time to spread it out and get caught up, a Chapter 13 can be your best path to financial freedom.

Note that when you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the Automatic Stay provision kicks in which prevents bill collectors from doing anything to collect a debt while you are in bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you pay the Bankruptcy Trustee every month and they make the negotiated payments on your debts. For people who want to keep their house and other valuable assets and still get bankruptcy relief, Chapter 13 is a great thing.

How do I know whether I qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

To qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and get a full discharge of qualified debts, you must show financial need and hardship through a means test calculation. Your bankruptcy attorney can do the math and let you know whether you qualify. In the event, you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you can always file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. Let’s say you make just a little bit too much money or have a little more equity in your home you want to preserve, the Chapter 13 will still help you and you will repay only a portion of your debts over time.

How long will a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy take to be completed?

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be filed and discharged within several months. Your bankruptcy attorney collects all the necessary information, files the petition, appears with you at the Notice to Creditors Meeting, after which time you wait to see if any of your creditors file any objections to your bankruptcy. In a few months, you have a full discharge. In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you can get caught up on missed payments and non-dischargeable debts over a three to five-year period.

What steps can I take to make sure I have good credit after my bankruptcy case?

When preparing for credit worthiness after bankruptcy, remember that the only thing that matters is what you do with your finances after the bankruptcy. Your credit score determines how risky it may be to lend you money or credit. To reduce that risk, many companies offer secured credit cards. Anyone can get a secured credit card by paying a deposit of $200. If you never pay the bill, you forfeit your deposit. Without a bunch of missed monthly payments, there is nothing to negatively affect your credit score. Keep up with the secured card and you will start receiving regular credit card offers in no time. Buy a new car or a new home in a handful of years after a bankruptcy. There are many people who tell success stories about the new opportunities they seized after getting out from behind the eight ball.

If you have a question about any of the bankruptcy details mentioned in this article, it costs you nothing to call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. and find out what bankruptcy law may mean to your financial future.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!


PODCAST: September 2016 Chicago Bankruptcy Question and Answer Podcast with Joseph Wrobel

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel shares news and updates in bankruptcy law as well as business and consumer financial matters. It has been documented that financial troubles can cause all sorts of ailments, the most common of which is sleeplessness. Joseph Wrobel helps clients alleviate their anxiety created by the inability to pay bills and the embarrassment of financial distress. Click/tap here to listen to this podcast interview anytime.

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Can I stop a debt consolidation and file bankruptcy instead of continuing to make payments?
  • As a foreign resident in the U.S., can I also file for bankruptcy protection without being citizen?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy to discharge personal tax liability to the state in which I live?
  • I am facing an eviction and worried about the money I may owe, should I file for bankruptcy?
  • Can I file for bankruptcy if a creditor threatens to revive a money judgement against me?

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Homeowners keep their home using Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws

Falling behind on mortgage payments can lead to foreclosure. When a homeowner is unable to delay the foreclosure through attempts at refinancing or otherwise negotiating additional time to get caught up, such as a forbearance, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, the mortgage lender will likely begin the legal process to foreclose and sell the home at auction to receive payment towards the loan. If a foreclosed home sells at auction for less than the amount owed, the lender will likely obtain a deficiency judgment and attempt to collect amount from the homeowner as well. Homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments for many reasons, and the bankruptcy laws help the homeowner save their home from foreclosure sale.

Filing a bankruptcy triggers the automatic stay provision, stopping a foreclosure and sale of the home.

Depending on the homeowner’s income and complete financial situation, they may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a full discharge, or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, to reorganize and catch up on payments, sometimes a partial amount of the debt amount. When the homeowner files a petition for bankruptcy, the “automatic stay” provision of the bankruptcy code stops the foreclosure proceedings. The court automatically issues an order for relief including the automatic stay. If there is a scheduled foreclosure sale, the bankruptcy postpones the date of sale during the bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy both offer options for homeowners who want to keep their home.

If homeowners qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, based on their income and financial status, the bankruptcy and automatic stay will stop the collection of other debt collectors, which can free up more money to catch up on bankruptcy payments. The state exemptions for equity in the home may allow a homeowner to keep the home and the mortgage if there is not too much equity in the home and the payments are brought current. If however, the payments are not brought current, as soon as the bankruptcy terminates, so does the automatic stay, and a lender may proceed with foreclosure on a delinquent mortgage. If however, either the homeowner does not qualify for Chapter 7 or they need more time to catch up on mortgage payments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a better choice.

A Chapter 13 notice also stops a foreclosure sale and the lender’s collection actions. Chapter 13 allows a homeowner to “cure” a mortgage default by making up the past due payments, spread over several months of the Chapter 13 repayment plan. Many bankruptcy payment plans last between three and up to five years, which allows the homeowner a long period to cure the mortgage default and catch up on the late payments. It is assumed that the homeowner is making the regular monthly mortgage payment during the repayment plan. When other debt collection is stopped by the automatic stay, the homeowner should have more money available to pay the current mortgage and a portion of the past due amount over the period of the repayment plan.

Bankruptcy can eliminate a homeowner’s liability to pay mortgage deficiencies.

If the lender forecloses on a home when the mortgage is default, the court can order the sale of the home. If the homeowner owes more than the proceeds of the sale of the home at auction, the homeowner is responsible for paying the shortfall; however, the bankruptcy laws allow homeowners to eliminate the mortgage deficiency. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies can eliminate liability for a deficiency judgment. The bankruptcy laws are certainly beneficial to homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage and depending on the individual homeowner’s financial situation, a home can be saved. The attorneys at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. are experienced in all the complex provisions of the bankruptcy code and they can help homeowners get a fresh start, in their home, and with more money to keep current with monthly bills.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can “Like” the firm’s Facebook page and “Follow” Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.