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The following are some frequently asked questions about bankruptcy. These FAQs are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys to answer any additional questions about bankruptcy and to help determine if bankruptcy is the best financial strategy in your situation.
Do I qualify for bankruptcy?
If I declare bankruptcy, will I ever be granted credit again?
Should I attempt to settle my debts rather than filing bankruptcy?
If I file bankruptcy, what happens to alimony and child support payments I’m supposed to make or receive?
Will filing bankruptcy eliminate all of my debts?
Will I lose my home if I file bankruptcy?
What happens to my student loan if I file bankruptcy?
What assets may I keep in a bankruptcy filing?
How long will a bankruptcy filing remain on my credit report?
1. Do I qualify for bankruptcy?
This is one of the most complicated questions about bankruptcy to answer in general terms. Qualification depends upon your individual situation, household income and living expenses. If your income is above the average family income, you will have to pass what’s called a “means test”. This test determines if you are financially eligible for bankruptcy and, if so, which type. Kurtis Loomis, Emilie Pla, and Jason Greene are experts in analyzing your individual financial circumstances and helping you determine whether bankruptcy is your best option.
2. If I declare bankruptcy, will I ever be able to get credit again?
You can start rebuilding your credit right after filing a bankruptcy petition. Many people find that their credit actually improves after bankruptcy and are often offered credit again. When this happens, it’s often a good idea to apply for a credit card and use it responsibly.
3. Should I attempt to settle my debts rather than filing bankruptcy?
That depends a lot upon your individual circumstances. As a general rule of thumb, if you can completely pay your unsecured debt within 18 months, bankruptcy may not be the best option. If you cannot completely pay such debt within 18 months, then bankruptcy usually becomes the better option, in that you normally pay nothing back, you can immediately start to rebuild your credit, and you do not have the financial and mental stress that would otherwise continue with a repayment plan. Contact us today to determine your best course of action.
4. If I file bankruptcy, what happens to alimony and child support payments I’m supposed to make or receive?
If you pay alimony or child support, you will continue to make such payments as you normally would. If you receive alimony or child support, these payments will be protected if you file for bankruptcy.
5. Will filing bankruptcy eliminate all of my debts?
Bankruptcy eliminates most, but not all debts. Exceptions include: student loans, recent taxes, alimony and child support, debts obtained through fraud, restitution or fines, and certain cash advances taken within 90 days of a bankruptcy filing. Ask us for specifics on non-dischargeable debts in your individual situation.
6. Will I lose my home if I file bankruptcy?
Not necessarily. The chances of losing your home vary according to the type of bankruptcy you file and whether you are a homeowner or renter. It is very rare, however, for a debtor to lose a home they wish to keep. Our attorneys can counsel you on exactly what may happen with your home in the event you file bankruptcy.
7. What happens to my student loan if I file bankruptcy?
With very few exceptions, student loans are not discharged in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies, as it is very difficult to prove the kind of hardship that would grant discharge of a student loan.
8. What assets may I keep in a bankruptcy filing?
This is a complex matter and can change drastically depending on your age and situation. Generally speaking, Colorado residents may keep the following assets when filing a bankruptcy petition:
- $75,000.00 – $105,000.00 of equity in a homestead
- Equity in a car, from $7,500.00 – $12,500.00 for each person filing
- Basic furniture, household goods, appliances, clothes and pets (up to $3,000.00 for each person filing)
- Jewelry, not exceeding $2,500.00 for each person filing
- Tools of the trade, from $10,000.00 – $30,000.00
- IRA, 401K or pension plans are completely exempt
- 100% of Veterans Benefits, Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, and personal injury proceeds
- 100% of Earned Income Tax Credits and Additional Child Tax Credits
- 75% of earnings, wages, commissions
- To determine exactly what property you will be able to keep if filing a bankruptcy, speak with our bankruptcy attorneys.
9. How long will a bankruptcy filing remain on my credit report?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years; a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 7 years. You may rebuild your credit score in a much quicker fashion, depending on how you handle your credit after filing.