Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer
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!
- Can Bankruptcy Stop Repossession of a Vehicle?
- Chicago Bankruptcy Statistics
- Common Mistakes for People Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer
- Chicago Bankruptcy Infographic
- Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions
- Therman Law Offices, LTD Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer
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.
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.
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.
Chicago Bankruptcy Statistics
According to the United States Courts, in 2021 there were 10806 bankruptcies filed in Cook County. The benefits of filing for bankruptcy do not happen overnight. Before applying, consider the pros and cons of what bankruptcy would mean for you, and be realistic about what it will offer. In some bankruptcy chapters, there are six, which may allow for a debtor to pay back creditors using a repayment plan over a span of 3-5 years. For others, they may use their assets to liquidate and essentially pay off their creditors. Under bankruptcy, there are some debts that are dischargeable, and others are not. Be sure to ask your lawyer which debts would be eradicated, so that you don’t make the mistake of assuming all your debts will be gone, when they may not be.
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.
Chicago Bankruptcy Infographic
Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions
If you are deep in debt, you may want to consult a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer. You may be a good candidate for bankruptcy. However, you may have heard different untruths about bankruptcy that are making you hesitant to file for bankruptcy.
Here are a few common misconceptions about bankruptcy that you should not believe.
What should I know before filing?
As a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer debtors trust at Therman Law Offices, LTD understands, the process of bankruptcy can be stressful and demanding. But bankruptcy is a resource that is designed to offer people a fresh start. By deciding to file for bankruptcy, you have already taken a huge step towards achieving secure financial stability for your future. Before taking that next step, here are some guidelines to consider to help make the process smoother.
When should I start to compile my information?
If you have yet to do so, make a list of your financial documents and anything related to your debts as soon as you know you want to file for bankruptcy. Your list should include your debts and amount owed, deeds and titles to property, tax returns for the last three years, identity proof like social security card, loan paperwork, child support orders, divorce decrees, and statements from retirement and brokerage accounts. The more information you have to present to your bankruptcy lawyer, the sooner they have all that they need to properly assist you.
Can I avoid paying my bills in the meantime?
Continue to pay your bills such as car payments, rent, insurance, and other expenses. When filing for bankruptcy, your credit card debts will be deemed unsecured debt and covered by bankruptcy protection. Your Chicago bankruptcy lawyer may make a point to suggest that you must avoid maxing out on your credit card debt close to the time you want to declare bankruptcy. The reason for this is that the bankruptcy courts do not like to see big purchases near the time of bankruptcy filing, as it may show you are taking advantage of the situation and hoping to get more debts discharged than you actually need.
Who can I rely on most to help me with bankruptcy?
As stated above, talking with a lawyer is a helpful step as you file for bankruptcy. You really want to have someone who understands bankruptcy law on your side, who can advocate for you and ensure your paperwork is complete. If you make a mistake or fail to provide required fields on your filing, it can delay your bankruptcy status even further. If you told anyone in your life that you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, they may have their own advice on what to do. This is of course well-intentioned help, but it may not be completely accurate. Your Chicago bankruptcy lawyer is a great person to rely on for advice that applies to your situation only.
Will my credit rating be ruined forever?
This is one of the most common myths about bankruptcy. Although your credit score will take a hit after declaring bankruptcy, it won’t stay that way forever. In fact, you can start working on improving your credit right away. Pay all of your bills on time and pay more than minimum on your credit card bills. If you are unable to qualify for a traditional credit card initially, get a secured credit card, which requires you to make cash deposits. After you make your payments on time, you may be able to qualify for a traditional credit card.
Is bankruptcy only for financially irresponsible people?
There is still a stigma behind bankruptcy. That is why some people are reluctant to file for it. They assume others will look down on them. However, just because you file for bankruptcy, does not necessarily mean that you are financially irresponsible. For example, you may have experienced a life-changing event, like a divorce or medical emergency, that hurt your finances. You do not have to be ashamed about declaring bankruptcy.
Will I lose everything I own?
Some people are scared to file for bankruptcy because they assume they will lose everything. However, as a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can confirm, you might not lose anything at all. There are state and federal protections to save your property.
Will a record of bankruptcy be easily obtainable by the public or people I know?
This is another reason why some people shy away from filing for bankruptcy. They think everyone will find out about it. However, unless you are a famous person, the only ones who will know about your bankruptcy are your creditors and the people you tell.
Should I expect creditors to harass me?
If you are behind on your bills, you probably have creditors calling you regularly. This can definitely cause you more stress. However, once you declare bankruptcy, an automatic stay is issued. This prohibits creditors from contacting you.
Can I get fired for declaring bankruptcy?
Fortunately, this is another myth. Federal law prohibits employers from terminating workers just for filing for bankruptcy. If you declare bankruptcy, you do not have to worry about losing your job.
Do I need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?
While you are not required to hire a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer, it is in your best interest to do so. Filing for bankruptcy can be quite complex and you do not want to make costly mistakes. An experienced lawyer can make sure that you fill out all the paperwork accurately and make sure that you do not do anything that could harm your bankruptcy case.
Therman Law Offices, LTD Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer
8501 W Higgins Rd #420, Chicago, IL 60631
Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Google review
“I couldn’t be happier with the services I received at Therman Law. They took care of all of my needs in a timely manner, were easy to get in touch with and answered all of my questions. Mr. Therman, Anthony and Kelly all worked diligently to ensure I relieved a fair settlement in a reasonable amount of time! Absolutely recommend!!” – Jen H.
You Should Speak with Our 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.