Answers To Common Questions About Bankruptcy
Here are some of the questions we hear most often at The Law Offices of Jonathan Stone in Hackettstown. Bring your own questions to our attention by contacting the lawyers at this firm. Initial consultations are free.
Is bankruptcy a sign of weakness or failure?
In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question is a resounding no. Most people who file bankruptcy do so because of extenuating circumstances such as divorce, job loss or unmanageable medical bills. Some have gotten in too deep with credit card debt after they overspent on car or home repairs and other pressing needs. Addressing your debts through bankruptcy or any other method means you are accepting your responsibility to resolve or repay your debts.
What can I keep if I file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Most of our clients at The Law Offices of Jonathan Stone are able to keep all their personal property when they file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is not always true, of course, but a review of your assets, income and overall financial picture will help us answer this question for you.
Can I keep my car if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
A better question might be, “Do you really want to keep that car — and car loan?” If you can afford to keep making car payments after your bankruptcy is complete, you may opt to reaffirm that car loan immediately. If you cannot afford the payments, your bankruptcy may be the perfect opportunity to let the car and car loan go.
Can I file bankruptcy and keep my house?
If your home is at risk of foreclosure, bankruptcy may be the only way to keep it. If you are behind on mortgage payments, but can continue making current payments, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can structure repayment of the late premiums over three to five years with little or no interest. Individual circumstances vary when it comes to home ownership and bankruptcy. Talk to me, Jonathan Stone, and I can give you a personalized answer to the question.
Will I ever get credit again if I file bankruptcy?
If you are like most bankruptcy filers, you will be surprised by how quickly lenders will extend credit to you after your debts are discharged. Your credit score may be higher than it has been for a long time. Also, lenders know you cannot file bankruptcy again for eight years so you are a better credit risk than most people after a bankruptcy is complete. You may receive offers for credit cards and car loans within just a few months. You may be able to get a mortgage again after about two years.
Remember the alternative, though: If you do not file bankruptcy but end up having your assets seized, you will end up in much worse financial shape. Filing bankruptcy is a perfectly legal way to deal with unmanageable debt.
Will I be stigmatized socially or otherwise by filing bankruptcy?
It is up to you whether to share with your immediate family members that you going through bankruptcy. Your spouse may or may not be included in the bankruptcy, but regardless, he or she should know, of course. If you have gotten personal loans from relatives, you will need to explain to them that they will likely hear from the bankruptcy court after you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After the bankruptcy is complete, you may voluntarily repay any loans that were discharged.
Otherwise, in most cases, it is completely your choice to disclose your bankruptcy to people or not. Your friends, neighbors, coworkers and extended family members will not likely know about the bankruptcy unless you tell them. Your bankruptcy case will be part of the public court records, but rarely will other people dig into that information.
The bankruptcy will remain visible on your credit report for 10 years, so employers or others who do background checks may discover it. Keep this in mind when you apply for jobs or attempt to sign a lease, but do not assume your bankruptcy history will be a problem. For many people, it is not.
What about my individual questions about bankruptcy?
Please let us know what topics are on your mind and we will do our best to help you find answers to your own bankruptcy FAQ (frequently asked questions).
How Can I Arrange To Meet With Attorney Jonathan Stone?
We are a federally designated debt relief agency, proudly helping people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.