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Bankruptcy can be a viable solution for helping individuals and businesses eliminate or restructure debts that they can’t afford to repay. However, there are consequences. A bankruptcy can remain on credit reports for up to a decade, which makes getting a loan difficult. For some, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but it’s important to understand each type of bankruptcy before making a decision.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge most unsecured debts. Secured debts, including alimony, child support, taxes, and student loans, cannot be discharged. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can temporarily stop the foreclosure process, but debtors will need to catch up on their mortgage payments to avoid losing their homes. People whose income is above the state median may not qualify, and debtors choosing Chapter 7 won’t be able to file for this type of bankruptcy again for eight years. The process takes about four months to complete, and some assets may have to be sold to help repay creditors.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors set up a payment plan to repay all or most of their debts. Payments will be made over three or five years. Most remaining unsecured debts will be discharged after the repayment period. This type of bankruptcy allows debtors to keep their assets. It can also put a stop to the foreclosure process, allowing past-due mortgage payments to be made through the repayment plan. There are no income limitations for Chapter 13 bankruptcies, but secured and unsecured debts can’t exceed certain amounts. This form of bankruptcy falls off of a debtor’s credit report after seven years and can be filed for again in two years. Individuals considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy should hire a bankruptcy attorney to help them submit their repayment plans in court.
Two additional types of bankruptcy, Chapter 11 and Chapter 12, also seek to eliminate or restructure debt. Corporations and large businesses typically file for Chapter 11 bankruptcies; while farmers and fishermen generally choose Chapter 12 because of its higher debt limits, flexible repayment plans, and other benefits.
Despite the prevalence of misinformation about bankruptcy, it can be a useful tool. If you’re looking for a way to restructure your debt, let attorney Stephen P. Levesque help you decide if bankruptcy is your best option. He can answer your questions, recommend a course of action, and help you navigate the legal process. To schedule a consultation, call The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque at (401) 216-4188 or contact us online.
Misinformation about bankruptcy is often repeated among those who don’t understand exactly how it works. Individuals who are struggling with debt should learn the facts when determining whether bankruptcy is a viable solution. These are the truths behind three common bankruptcy myths.
Many people think they will lose their home, vehicles, and other assets if they file for bankruptcy. However, most individuals who file for bankruptcy keep their possessions, including any items essential to their daily lives. Valuable assets, such as luxury items, may be sold to settle a portion of the debt.
In Chapter 13 cases, the value of assets is weighed against the amount of debt when creating a court-approved repayment plan. However, an individual can opt to keep his or her car or home if payments can be made under the terms of the plan. A bankruptcy attorney can advise about this process.
It’s possible to rebuild credit after a bankruptcy filing. Many individuals who file for bankruptcy can actually qualify for credit cards, car loans, and other forms of credit soon after the case is discharged. However, rates are typically higher than those offered to individuals with perfect credit. A bankruptcy remains on a person’s credit report for up to 10 years.
Common wisdom suggests that debts should be paid even if an individual can no longer afford to do so and that bankruptcy should only be pursued in the absence of any other option. In fact, it can be advantageous to file for bankruptcy when compared to accruing interest, fees, and other costs associated with debt repayment. In general, a consumer should consider bankruptcy if he or she pays more than 50 percent of his or her annual income toward debt and the total amount of that debt will not be repaid within five years.
Families in Rhode Island who are considering bankruptcy can use the legal counsel of The Law Offices of Stephen P. Levesque to weigh their options. We can provide helpful resources and answer questions about the process. Call (401) 490-4900 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.
At our law firm, we promise you knowledge, compassion, and experience. Since 1997, his years of courtroom experience means you will know all your options and you will have a lawyer with the experience to represent you no matter how complicated your case may be. Stephen will fight for you and fight for your best interests. This results in exceptional representation. Stephen is that lawyer you know you can count on to stand by you. Whether at court, during negotiations, or through every legal document, motion, or pleading he prepares, Stephen is aggressively advocating for you. Stephen uses his insight, knowledge, and experience to provide valuable legal information to many people with his radio show on News Talk 630 WPRO. Whether it’s a large or small legal matter, he offers helpful advice that can point listeners in the right direction.