A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer from Therman Law Offices provides personal and business bankruptcy services in Chicago and the entire state of Illinois. With more than 20 years of experience, our lawyers know how to help you through difficult times while also getting you back on your feet financially. Whether you need assistance with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we can help you develop a plan to get out of debt and put yourself back on the right financial track. We look forward to working with you!
What Is bankruptcy?
Before we begin our discussion of how to find a bankruptcy lawyer, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what bankruptcy is. A chapter 7 bankruptcy is officially known as an individual case and involves unsecured debt. This means that your debts are not secured by assets like a house or car, so those items will not be taken away from you if you cannot pay back what you owe. The bankruptcy court wipes out debts such as credit card balances, medical bills, payday loans and personal loans; when these debts are wiped out, they’re said to be discharged or canceled. People who need to file for bankruptcy may also do so under Chapter 13 if they can pay back at least part of their debt over time through court-ordered payments.
How Does The Process Work?
The process is fairly simple and straightforward, but there are still steps that must be taken to ensure a positive outcome. Therman Law Offices will take you through the process step by step and answer any questions you may have along the way. Here’s a brief description of how bankruptcy works: after filing, the debtor is generally released from his or her debts approximately three months after being declared bankrupt. Being released means you no longer have to make payments on your debts. A bankruptcy can also lead to reduced interest rates and payments on debt that wasn’t eligible for discharge (such as taxes). The stigma surrounding bankruptcy has all but disappeared over the years; it’s now become more of a financial solution rather than something people only turn to when they fail.
In addition to securing a fresh financial start, declaring bankruptcy can help you manage a number of issues, such as eliminating old debts that are negatively impacting your credit score. Depending on where you live and work, there may be other options available to help you get back on track financially. For example, some states allow filers to convert certain types of debt into a court-approved payment plan rather than wiping it away entirely. This is called debt restructuring and can give people breathing room to try and get back on their feet without being forced into bankruptcy. It is important to know all your options, and a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer from Therman Law Offices will walk you through all this.
How To Avoid Personal Liability
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, make sure that your actions don’t jeopardize your own personal assets. For example, you shouldn’t transfer property to other people if you want to keep it out of creditor hands during bankruptcy. As a general rule, avoid taking any action that would endanger any of your property or financial holdings while you’re waiting to file a petition with your local bankruptcy court. You may not know exactly what to do — but getting advice early can help make sure everything goes smoothly before, during and after your petition is filed. If you have further questions regarding personal liability and bankruptcy, contact our team at Therman Law Offices right away; we’ll get back to you quickly and work tirelessly until we find an answer!
Can Bankruptcy Stop Repossession of a Vehicle?
A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer understands that many people hit a financial roadblock occasionally where there is a struggle to pay their bills. One of the largest monthly debts many people have is their vehicle payment. Not only do you have the vehicle loan to pay for, but you also have to carry expensive vehicle liability insurance. This is on top of all the other expenses you may have, rent or mortgage, utilities, food, clothing, daycare. . . the list goes on and on. None of these are optional expenses. You need your vehicle to get back and forth to work to earn money to pay your bills.
It can feel like a vicious cycle, especially if you fall behind on your vehicle payment. All it takes is to get behind one or two payments and the bank or loan company will likely threaten you with repossession of the vehicle if you don’t hurry up and get caught up.
What’s even more frustrating is that you probably owe more for your vehicle than what it is worth. Vehicles are notorious for depreciating in value as you drive them out of the dealership parking lot. So, if your vehicle is repossessed and auctioned off, you will probably still owe thousands of dollars on the loan even after the auction sale price is deducted from your total balance owed. In addition, the bank will add the cost of the repossession, the interest, and late charges to that total. Therefore, surrendering your vehicle is the last thing you should do.
Filing for Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy can help you keep your vehicle. Your Chicago bankruptcy lawyer will help you determine which type of bankruptcy will be your best option.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help get rid of most of your other debt and this could allow you to be able to afford the current vehicle payment. Your other option with Chapter 7 is to surrender the vehicle and whatever the deficiency balance is after it is auctioned off can be included in your bankruptcy and charged off.
But Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the least desirable choice to save your vehicle. Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you more options that our clients find more favorable than Chapter 7.
Chapter 7 does not allow you to change the vehicle loan terms. Chapter 13 does if you owe more on the vehicle than what it’s worth. Your lawyer can negotiate a cramdown deal with the bank or loan company. This will make your monthly payment lower, as well as lessen the total amount you owe. And it does not require you to catch up with your current arrears in order to cram down your current loan.
Call Our Office Today
If you are facing repossession, foreclosure, or other difficult financial situations, filing bankruptcy may be your best option. Call Therman Law Offices, LTD today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Chicago bankruptcy lawyer.
Common Mistakes for People Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer
A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer knows that determining whether bankruptcy is the right decision for you depends on a number of factors. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in pro se bankruptcy filings. Most consumers file for bankruptcy hoping that it will afford them a fresh start, but federal reforms lawmakers made to bankruptcy laws in 2005 have made consumer bankruptcy cases more complex. It is important to understand common mistakes that can be made along the way for individuals who have considered filing for bankruptcy without an attorney. The following are some of the most common errors.
Bankruptcy May Not Be the Best Option
It may be that bankruptcy is the wrong option for you in the first place. Individuals should start by exploring all of their debt relief options and understanding what can and cannot be accomplished in bankruptcy. You must take the time to evaluate your specific financial situation and research the types of debt that would or would not be dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Choosing the Wrong Bankruptcy Chapter
Most individuals file for either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. A person must qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy and the process generally involves selling assets to discharge debts. Chapter 13 allows individuals to develop a plan demonstrating how they will repay their debts over a period of time in exchange for keeping certain valuable property. It is important to understand the pros and cons of both categories and to take your specific financial situation into account. A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can provide you with all the information you need to help make that decision.
Not Using Proper Exemptions
Exemptions vary from state to state. For example, you cannot file your bankruptcy in Illinois unless you have lived in the state for more than 180 days. Exemptions have different implications depending on whether you are filing for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. These exemptions can help consumers protect their assets but choosing the wrong ones could be a very costly mistake.
You Should Speak with a Bankruptcy Lawyer
When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, it can be easy to think that you have a straightforward case. However, properly filing and preparing for bankruptcy can be the difference between keeping and losing valuable assets. Even if you would ultimately like to represent yourself, talking to an attorney prior to filing for bankruptcy can help you avoid these common and potentially costly mistakes.
If you are struggling with overwhelming debt, bankruptcy may be the solution for you. Call Therman Law Offices, LTD to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Chicago chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer and find out how we can help.