Bankruptcy Questions Answered
Bankruptcy is a complicated process, full of confusing legal terminology. At the Law Office of Laura Sanford, we want you to be informed. We’ve taken the questions most frequently asked about filing for bankruptcy and simplified them so that you are completely informed of all of your options.
How can bankruptcy help me?
Bankruptcy helps the debtor regain control over their finances and create a fresh start by either completely eliminating the debt (Chapter 7), or by restructuring their debt into a more manageable payment plan (Chapter 13).
Does everyone qualify?
Not everyone qualifies for bankruptcy. Qualification is determined by your amount of debt vs. how much income you bring to the household. The Law Office of Laura Sanford will help you decide if filing for bankruptcy is your best option.
How long does it take to file bankruptcy?
The amount of time it takes to file bankruptcy is up to you. You can take as long as you need or can be as short as the day of your visit. We work according to what works for you. Emergency filings are also available.
Will filing for bankruptcy stop repossessions, foreclosures, or garnishments?
Upon filing for bankruptcy, creditors become prohibited from taking any sort of collection action including repossessions, foreclosures, and garnishments.
What do I need to do to be sure my bankruptcy case succeeds?
Bankruptcy laws are designed to help individuals get out of debt. However, your case could be dismissed if you fail to show up for your hearing, or make the necessary payments. It is also mandatory to disclose all assets and to complete credit counseling. The Law Office of Laura Sanford has a proven track record of success with bankruptcy cases.
Getting Out of Debt
How exactly does my debt go away?
Filing for bankruptcy creates an agreement between you (the debtor) and your creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically has you repay your debts over a 5-year plan. Chapter 7 bankruptcy relieves you of all responsibility to pay all debts and creditors cannot contact you. This process is called a discharge of debts.
How long does the discharge take?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually discharged within 90 to 120 days after filing. Chapter 13 discharge is complete as soon as all payments are made within the five-year period.
Will all my debts be discharged?
No. Debts like child support or other debts incurred from a debtor’s inappropriate behavior (debts from a drunk driving charge, etc.) are not discharged.
What effect will this have on my credit score?
Initially, filing for bankruptcy has a negative impact on your credit score. However, your debt to income ratio is improved and the negative effects of having delinquent accounts are stopped.
Why the Law Office of Laura Sanford
Does your firm inform its clients of meeting times and dates or do I have to find that information on my own?
Yes. You will always be notified of any upcoming events or hearings in your bankruptcy case. At the Law Office of Laura Sanford, we strive to make sure you are kept informed every step of the way.
What happens at my free bankruptcy consultation?
At your consultation, you can ask attorney Laura Sanford any questions you have regarding your bankruptcy filing. From there, Ms. Sanford will help you decide your options regarding bankruptcy and give you all the appropriate information and paperwork.
Do I have to make a decision at the meeting?
No. This consultation is for your benefit. Many clients wish to take the information home and discuss it with a family member or spouse. You can take as much time as you need to decide to file bankruptcy.
After my consultation, will I be able to contact the firm if I have more questions?
Yes! If anything is not clear or you think of any questions that you forgot to ask, you may call the firm and speak to Laura Sanford or her assistant.
Under state law, if you are late on your car payments or have defaulted on your lease or finance contract for your car, the creditor has the right to repossess the car, sell it and then possibly sue you for the rest of the debt. If they sue you and get a judgment, they can garnish your wages and levy your bank accounts to try and satisfy the debt.
Does bankruptcy stop repossessions?
Yes. Filing bankruptcy can prevent your car creditor from repossessing your car. In many cases, bankruptcy provides a structured repayment of the debt and can even reduce the balance and interest rate that you have to repay.
I am late on my car payment and the creditor says they want the car back. Now what happens?
Once you have defaulted on the note, the car creditor will likely send someone and take the car back.
Can they come on my property?
Tennessee law requires that the vehicle must be repossessed without breach of the peace. Depending on where your vehicle is parked, as long as it is repossessed without breach of the peace, they can take it.
What happens after my car is repossessed?
Once your car is repossessed, the car creditor will likely auction the car off. Usually, the price they get for it at auction will not cover what you owe them under the contract. If state law allows, the car creditor will then turn around and sue you for the rest of the money owed on the contract.
My car was already repossessed. Can bankruptcy help get it back?
Sometimes. If your car was recently repossessed, filing bankruptcy can stop the sale and force your car creditor to return the vehicle to you.
Note: Even if your car was repossessed and already sold, filing bankruptcy can still help you prevent the car creditor from suing you, getting a judgment, and garnishing your wages. It does not guarantee that your vehicle will be returned to you.