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Bankruptcy Solutions from The Owens Law Firm.

Although millions of Americans have resorted to bankruptcy to find relief from these devastating economic times -- including some of the most rich and powerful -- most people still feel uneasy when they first consider it for themselves. You should not.

Most of the time, we know that the financial distress facing you is not your fault and often could not have been prevented. That is why bankruptcy laws were created.  So that good people could find relief from situations beyond their control, get out from underneath the mountain of debt burying them and start a new life.

These laws are not meant to only help people like Harry S. Truman or E. Howard Hunt or Larry King or Gloria Vanderbilt (although you may feel just a bit better knowing people like these, too, have faced tough times and even gone broke). Our laws are meant to help each and every American find a responsible, reasonable way to deal with financial adversity, survive debt and restore their financial stability.

What it is Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who cannot pay his or her bills can get a fresh financial start. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you, at least until your debts are sorted out according to the law. It will stop all creditor calls, collections activities and harassments, wage and paycheck garnishment, repossession of your car or other personal property, postpone or stop foreclosure on your home, and eliminate all or most of your debts. It will also restore or prevent termination of utility services and allow you to challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud or who are otherwise trying to collect more than you really owe.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy-(Straight Bankruptcy). The basic idea in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to wipe out (discharge) your debts in exchange for you giving up your non-exempt property to be sold, with the money distributed to your creditors. In most cases, all of your property will be exempt.

If you want to keep property like your home or car and are behind on mortgage or car payments, Chapter 7 will probably not be the right choice for you since it does not eliminate the right of mortgage holders or creditors to take your property.

If you income is above the median family income in your state, you may have to file a Chapter 13 case. The national median family income for a family of four in 2009 was about $69,000. If your income is higher than this, you must fill out “means test” form with detailed information about your income and expenses. Based on this information, if you have enough income left over that could be paid to unsecured creditors, the bankruptcy court may decide that you cannot file a Chapter 7 case unless there are special extenuating circumstances.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy will cancel most if not all of your debts but you may have to let the bankruptcy court or trustee's office sell some of your property for the benefit of your creditors. However, most people do not have a lot of non exempt property and can therefore keep all of their property and still receive the benefits of the bankruptcy discharge. We will perform an analysis on the property that you have and any property that you wish to keep and explain to you if this property would be exposed by filing a bankruptcy.

Even if you otherwise qualified a bankruptcy court may dismiss your case if it thinks you've tried to cheat your creditors or conceal assets. Red flags typically occur when you transfer assets to friends or relatives, run up debts immediately before filing, concealing property or money and generally being untruthful or deceptive in any filing with the court.

Chapter 13 (Reorganization). You should consider filing a Chapter 13 plan if you 1) own your own home and are in danger of losing it because of money problems; 2) are behind on debt payments, but can catch up if given some time; 3) have valuable property which is not exempt, but you can afford to pay creditors from your income over time.


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