At Self Legal Group, PLLC, we’ve helped clients resolve financial stress and mounting debts while keeping their assets for over 12 years. Our bankruptcy lawyers understand the stress and complexities associated with financial hardships. Most people file for bankruptcy for one of three reasons, injury, job loss, or divorce. These life events are unplanned and unwanted and often cascade into a cycle of never-ending calls and harassment from unsympathetic creditors. The bankruptcy lawyers at our firm help people regain control of their finances and stop creditor harassment. Life is stressful enough without having to worry about whether your car is going to be repossessed or your home is going to be taken through foreclosure. You can stop repossessions, foreclosures, and garnishments by exercising your lawful right to file for bankruptcy.
What is Bankruptcy?
Historically, countries worldwide would imprison individuals if they couldn’t repay a debt. There were harsh penalties for failure to pay a lawful debt. Many families were separated, and debtors' prisons ruined lives. Fortunately, this practice was eventually deemed cruel and eventually stopped. Today, we have laws that protect debtors as well as creditors by allowing individuals and business entities who have fallen on hard times to rid themselves of debt. In certain circumstances, an individual or business is permitted to wipe out debt that would otherwise become so burdensome that the individual or business would die before the debt would be paid off. In essence, these laws prevent someone from being a slave to his or her creditors for life. This area of the legal system is called bankruptcy law.
Types of Bankruptcy
There are several types of bankruptcies, but most individuals file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The chapter means the actual chapter where the law can be found in the bankruptcy code.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy meaning that all eligible debt is discharged. There is no repayment of any portion of these debts, and if the debt is eligible for liquidation, it goes away.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated in that you may have to pay a small portion of the eligible debt over a three to five period, and in some rare cases, you may have to pay all of it back. Even if you must pay some of it or all of it back, chapter 13 bankruptcy provides you with relief because interest does not accrue during the payback period. There are other rules associated with Chapter 13 bankruptcies that can save you money as well and will depend on the particular facts of your case.
Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions
Filing for bankruptcy can be an emotional and stressful experience. With all the legal requirements, forms to fill out, and decisions to make, it’s important that you understand the process before taking any action. There are many issues that may impact your case and determine how much or if you will have to repay any of your debt. The information below can answer some of your questions but contact one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys if you have a question not listed.
- How do I determine if I am eligible for chapter 7? If you make too much money, you cannot file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Each case is different, and there is not one determining amount as it depends on many factors specific to your case. Our experienced attorneys will look at all the facts of your case and let you know early in the process whether you qualify for chapter 7 or must file chapter 13.
- How long does a bankruptcy take? The bankruptcy process can be as short as a few months or, in the case of chapter 13, could take three to five years. Each case is different, but chapter 7 bankruptcies are generally relatively quick.
- Does bankruptcy hurt my credit score? In the short term, yes. Your credit score will not be impacted as much or as drastically as creditors would lead you to believe. In most of our cases, you will see substantial improvement in your credit score within 18 months of filing your case. The reason is simple; you have less debt and more money to pay new creditors. Bankruptcies do stay on your credit report for some time, but that does not mean that it impacts your credit score the same each month or year. Your credit score will become better as time passes, and you pay your bills on time and don’t get behind again.
- Can I keep my car? For most people, yes, but it depends on how much your car is worth and whether you have any liens associated with it. If you are willing to keep making your car payments and you don’t own a Ferrari, you can probably keep your car.
- Can I keep my home? Oklahoma has a very generous exemption for a home. If you are not in default on your mortgage, you will be able to keep your home. In some cases, even if you are behind on your mortgage payments, you may still be able to keep it.
- What doe Bankruptcy cost? A simple chapter 7 bankruptcy costs are as low as $1250, and you can get started for as little as $250 down. The attorney fee must be paid in full before the case is filed. A chapter 13 bankruptcy is more expensive due to the complexity and the length of the case, but unlike chapter 7, you may pay the attorney fee over time through the bankruptcy case, which means you just need to pay $250.00 down to get started. An average fee for chapter 13 is $3500.
- Are there any other costs or fees? Each bankruptcy case requires a filing fee that you pay to the federal government. Think of it as a tax to file. You pay this and, in most cases, must be paid at the time of filing. Additionally, you are required by law to complete two credit counseling classes that average about $25 per class, although you may be able to find ones cheaper. You must complete the first one before you are eligible to file in most cases.
Filing for bankruptcy in Oklahoma can be a complex and daunting process. If you're considering filing for bankruptcy, it's important to seek qualified legal advice before taking any action. Self Legal Group PLLC is here to help guide you through every step of the way with personalized representation tailored specifically to your needs. Call today at (405) 451-3534 if you have further questions or would like more information about our services!