Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Our knowledgeable and affordable Memphis Bankruptcy Lawyer at the Law Office of Nakeshia Hawkins, Esq. is dedicated to helping those in financial need obtain a fresh start. For a low flat fee, our affordable Bankruptcy Attorney will complete the paperwork, file it, and represent you at the Bankruptcy hearing. Contact our knowledgeable Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney today to get your Bankruptcy paperwork started.
To learn more about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, check out our frequently asked questions below. To the following link to learn more about our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Package.
To schedule an initial consultation, click the link below.
What type of Bankruptcy cases do you handle?
The Law Office in Nakeshia Hawkins, Esq. located in Memphis, Tennessee handles Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies. However, because only about 35% of Chapter 13 plans pay out, we recommend that our clients file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy instead of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This is to prevent our clients from running the risk of having to go to Court many times and having their payments raised by the Chapter 13 Trustee in the event that for some unforeseen reason they are late making their required payments. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation. It is a process provided for under Federal law that entitles you to make a fresh financial start. Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy eliminates most of your unsecured debt and is normally suggested for someone with few or zero assets. 'Unsecured debts' released by Chapter 7 bankruptcy include credit cards, medical bills, most personal loans, and judgments resulting from car accidents and deficiencies on repossessed vehicles. However, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is complicated; hence, you should contact a knowledgeable Memphis bankruptcy attorney from the Law Office of Nakeshia Hawkins, Esq. to guide you through the entire legal process. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an attempt to "reorganize" an individual's debt by paying certain creditors over a period of time. Chapter 13 is one of the more commonly used bankruptcy chapters, behind Chapter 7. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 does not involve liquidation. Usually, a Chapter 13 debtor is permitted to keep all of his property, whether it is exempt or not, as long as the Chapter 13 plan complies with the law. Chapter 13 may also involve more expense than a Chapter 7 in terms of attorney's fees, as the process is more complicated and drawn out. The debtor's income is analyzed by the means test, which determines the disposable income of the debtor. The disposable income will then be used to make the monthly plan payments. Depending upon the means test calculation, there may be no allocation at all to unsecured creditors, such as credit card companies and medical bills. However, the Chapter 13 plan must always pay priority claims, such as domestic support obligations, child support and tax debt. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
What are the benefits of filing Bankruptcy?
In addition to freeing you from your debt, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy normally allows you to retain some of your property. If your car and mortgage payments are current and if there is no significant equity in your property, you should be able to make arrangements to reaffirm the debt. Keep your home, keep your car, keep your personal belongings, but eliminate your debt; that is the function of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Conversely, if you do not file Chapter 7, you may lose your home to foreclosure and your car to repossession due to missed or delinquent payments. When you call for your free initial phone consultation, you will get reliable advice from a caring and knowledgeable Memphis Bankruptcy lawyer at The Law Office of Nakeshia Hawkins, Esq.
As soon as you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be protected from credit agency harassment. Creditors are forbidden to call and pester you once bankruptcy proceedings have started. Also, the ability to reestablish your credit after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is better than it has ever been before. Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, you can start reestablishing your credit right away. Although you may have to pay slightly higher interest rates, you should be able to purchase a home or car and qualify for credit cards very soon after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Attorney Nakeshia Hawkins will complete your bankruptcy paperwork, file it, and represent you at your Bankruptcy hearing (Meeting of Creditors) for a low flat fee. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney.
By filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you can:
• Wipe out most or all of your unsecured debt (credit card bills) or loans, civil lawsuits and/or medical bills,
• Stop harassment by credit card companies,
• Stop any collection efforts by most creditors,
• Protect your home and personal property (stop a foreclosure), and/or
• Stop any attempt to garnish wages.
Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
What are the steps to filing for Bankruptcy? What does the Bankruptcy process consist of?
There are six steps to filing for Bankruptcy:
1. Qualifying to file bankruptcy- applying and passing the Means test,
2. Preparation of your detailed bankruptcy Petition and supporting documents,
3. Taking the mandatory credit counseling,
4. Filing your bankruptcy paperwork,
5. Attending the creditor’s meeting,
6. And taking a budget class.
Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Do I qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
To qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy your gross annual income must fall under a certain amount in relation to the number of people in your household. This is called a Means Test. Every year the United States trustees update their data with regard to the acceptable income level for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy as compared to the number of people in a household. The means test states that a 1 earner, 1 person household may file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if that person earns less than approximately $48,000 gross per year. If there are 2 people in the household the maximum income jumps to approximately $63,000. If there are 3 people in the household, the allowable income goes up to approximately $69,000 and if there are 4 people in the household the maximum income moves to approximately $79,000.
For each individual in excess of 4, you could add $7,500 to the allowable gross income. Our Memphis, Tennessee Bankruptcy Lawyer can explain what is included in the gross income and what factors impact this--such as ownership of property. Your lawyer can also explain who would be included as family and who would be excluded.
All the Bankruptcy paperwork can be completed in one day from our office in Memphis, Tennessee. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
What if I do not qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which would discharge your unsecured debt, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may make sense for you.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help with mortgage payments, reduce, and sometimes eliminate your overall unsecured debt while allowing the reduced debt to be paid off over 3 to 5 years. In effect, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a payment plan and is a good option for those who do not qualify for a Chapter 7 and/ or for those who have debts that are secured by property. Your Memphis, Tennessee Bankruptcy Attorney can determine which bankruptcy is best for you. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Will I lose anything if I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Typically, people file a bankruptcy and retain all of their personal belongings, including their house, car, and all household goods. Bankruptcy laws called “exemptions” allow you to keep certain assets like household goods, and even home and car equity. Our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney will aid you in properly claiming all of the exemptions you are entitled to, to help ensure that all of your belongings are protected before filing your case.
The reality is that you may be more at risk of losing property if you don't file bankruptcy. Without the protection offered by bankruptcy, creditors can sue you and attach your bank accounts, garnish your wages, and attach and seize your property. As a result, you may miss rent, mortgage or car payments, making it difficult to provide even your most basic necessities. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
When do I get relief from creditor harassment?
You get relief from creditors immediately after filing your Petition for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. After retaining the Law Office of Nakeshia Hawkins, Esq., you can refer all future creditor calls to your Memphis, Tennessee bankruptcy attorney at The Law Office of Nakeshia Hawkins. We will advise you to stop making credit card payments and refer any creditor calls to us immediately upon retaining our Bankruptcy attorney. Collection agencies are not allowed to harass you once they know we are representing you. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
How long does Bankruptcy take?
Chapter 7 is a comparatively brief process, which often lasts several months. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will last from 3 to 5 years. This lengthy time period is due to the fact that Chapter 13 involves regular monthly payments to the Chapter 13 trustee for the plan period. The plan period will vary from 3 to 5 years, depending upon your income. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Does my spouse have to file jointly with me?
If the majority of your debts are in both of your names, it would be advantageous for you and your spouse to file for bankruptcy jointly. If all or most of the debts are in your name only, your spouse may not have to file. Creditors usually cannot pursue a non-filing spouse, unless he or she is legally a co-debtor on the debt. Additionally, the bankruptcy should not be reflected on the non-filing spouse's credit report. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Who will know about my bankruptcy case?
Your creditors and the bankruptcy court are the only parties who will receive notice of your bankruptcy case. Your employer will not be notified of the bankruptcy unless your employer is also one of your creditors. However, bankruptcy filings are public record, so if anyone wanted to find out, they could determine that you filed by conducting a search. Generally, however, only you and your creditors will know about the bankruptcy. Just in case, strict anti-discrimination laws are available to protect you from employment discrimination if your employer takes any action against you because of your filing. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Will I be able to rent after I file bankruptcy?
There are typically over a million bankruptcies filed each year in the United States. Common sense will tell you that these people are not all living on the street. If you are presently renting a home or apartment, usually your present landlord will renew your lease without running an updated credit report, and may not even know you filed a bankruptcy.
If you are applying for a new lease, you may be asked to explain the circumstances that led to your blemished credit history and bankruptcy filing. Remember that it is the blemished credit report, not necessarily the bankruptcy that will reflect poorly on your application. If you are already having difficulty making payments to your creditors, the credit damage may already be done. In those cases, bankruptcy can actually help to improve your credit score and your ability to obtain a lease. After filing for bankruptcy, you may have little or no outstanding debt; hence, you may appear to be a better renter than other applicants who have lots of outstanding debt. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
How do I know if I should file bankruptcy?
If you are being sued and you own a home, it would be in your best interest to contact a Memphis Bankruptcy attorney immediately about your options. A bankruptcy will stop a lawsuit immediately and prevent your creditors from placing a lien on your home or garnishing your hard-earned wages.
If you are behind on your mortgage or car payments your home could be foreclosed on, or your car repossessed. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can prevent the foreclosure or repossession from proceeding, allow you to consolidate your mortgage arrears or automobile balance, and make payments on those debts over time through a payment plan. As long as you can make these payments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to keep these items. If you wish to surrender the house or car, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate any remaining balance owed on them after foreclosure or repossession.
Do your credit cards or medical bills have you so deep in debt that it is hard for you to save for the future? If you are only paying the minimum payment on the credit card bills from month to month (generally from two to three percent of the outstanding balance), and the interest rate is only 15%, you will take about 20 years to pay off a $10,000 debt. Do you really want to be in the same financial situation for the next twenty years? A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide you with the fresh start that you need to better you and your family’s financial security. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Is filing bankruptcy immoral?
No, it is not. Many times, events occur in people's lives that cannot be expected. You may have had a sudden loss in income, a family medical catastrophe, a work injury, or any one of numerous other difficulties that would have been almost impossible to plan for. Most of the people that we represent are good people who have encountered unfortunate circumstances and just want to get a fresh start. We understand that for most of our clients bankruptcy is the last resort. Many of our clients have a very difficult time determining if bankruptcy is the right decision for them.
The credit card companies are not concerned about your financial difficulties. If you are paying your creditors instead of saving for your children's education or your retirement, or considering selling assets or drawing funds out of a 401k to pay down debt, Bankruptcy may be the best option for you. Unfortunately, many of our clients come to us only as a last resort, and have already spent thousands of dollars of their retirement funds, incurred large tax penalties, or wasted money on failed attempts at paying or settling their debts by the time they come see us. Bankruptcy relief should not be seen as only a last resort after all else fails; it is a legally available option that allows you to protect your retirement and provide for your family. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Can I get rid of student loans by filing for bankruptcy?
Student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy unless there is an “undue hardship.” The majority of courts apply the Brunner test. The test requires that 1) the debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a “minimal” standard of living for the debtor and the debtor’s dependents if forced to repay the student loans; 2) additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans; and 3) the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans.
Our Memphis, Tennessee Bankruptcy Attorney can help you evaluate the possibility of discharging your student loans in chapter 7, or can help you obtain some relief from your student loan debts through the use of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we can consolidate your student loan debt, along with any other outstanding bills, and arrange an interest free repayment plan, so that you do not have to suffer through the burden of garnishments, harassment and other collection efforts by student loan agencies. We may even be able to reduce the amount paid to the student loan agency during the course of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that your consolidation payment is as low as possible. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Can I get rid of tax debt by filing for bankruptcy?
Dealing with tax debts in bankruptcy can be complex. As a general rule, tax debts can be discharged if they are old enough (at least three years old) when you file your bankruptcy case. However, there are other requirements for discharge, such as when the returns were filed, when the IRS assessed your tax liability, and other more complex issues. This is one example where the timing of when your case is filed with the bankruptcy court is so vital. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to guide you in ensuring the best possible outcome for your situation.
Even tax debts that cannot be discharged can be dealt with through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We will be able to assist you in determining the best solution depending on your specific situation. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.
Can I get credit after filing bankruptcy?
The fact that you filed a bankruptcy can be listed on your credit report for up to 7 to 10 years, depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you file. However, it is important to point out that you can begin to reestablish your credit immediately after your case ends. Because "credit" is your ability to borrow money, lenders consider consider your debt-to-income ratio. It is likely that you already have more outstanding debt than you have the ability to pay. So, arguably, you already do not have "good" credit. Filing bankruptcy eliminates most, if not all of your debts, thereby reducing your debt-to-income ratio, which can improve your ability to borrow money in the future.
Also, some financial institutions actively solicit business from people who have filed bankruptcy. This is because lenders are in business to make money by lending you money and charging you interest. Hence, they look to minimize their risk by offering loans to consumers with the ability to repay those loans. If you have lots of other debts in the way, you look like a high risk borrower. However, once you have a clean slate with no other debts to prevent repayment of your new loan, you may be more attractive to financial institutions. Contact our Memphis Bankruptcy Attorney now so that we can help you get out of debt.