Determining whether chapter 7 in Tampa Bay is right for you can be challenging. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you make the ultimate decision, but it helps to understand a bit about your options before you even contact a bankruptcy expert. You’ll be able to ask the right questions and really make an informed decision based on your circumstances.
What are the most important things to understand about filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Discharge Eliminates Debt
In general, bankruptcy offers two options: restructuring debt to make it easier to pay and discharging debt so you aren’t obligated to pay. The latter is chapter 7. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge certain debts, including credit cards and medical bills, so creditors no longer have a legal means of pursuing you for that debt. You must meet certain qualifications to be eligible for debt discharge, but it is one of the best ways to get a fresh financial start.
Chapter 7 Doesn’t Eliminate ALL Debt
There are some debts that are non-dischargeable, so you’ll still have a responsibility to pay. Debts not eliminated in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing include spousal and child support payments, income taxes owed within the last three years, student loan debt, and criminal fines and fees.
Creditors are also given the opportunity to dispute whether their debt is dischargeable, so it’s important you understand the rules of debt discharge in advance. If much of your debt is not dischargeable, chapter 7 might not be your best option.
For a complete list of dischargeable and non-dischargeable debts, visit USCourts.gov.
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is Not Free
It surprises many to realize they need money to file for bankruptcy. After all, if they had money they wouldn’t be in this mess, right? Unfortunately, filing can cost a few thousand dollars, so you’ll need to look at your current financial situation and determine whether you have the money to file for bankruptcy or whether you’ll need to wait and focus on filing in the coming months. Fees vary based on your situation, so it’s important to speak to a bankruptcy attorney before you decide whether or not now is the right time to file.
You’ll Still Have Financial Responsibilities
Filing for bankruptcy can release you from the obligation to pay some debts, but it doesn’t absolve you of all financial responsibility. The bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for several years, so anyone assessing your credit history will be aware of your situation. You’ll also be required to attend classes to learn how to better manage your money in the future. Bankruptcy is not a way to be irresponsible and scam the system, it’s a tool available to help you get back on track and create a better financial strategy for the future.
If you believe chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you or you have questions about filing for bankruptcy in general, we can help. Contact the Tampa bankruptcy Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696.