Frequently Asked Questions
ANSWERS FROM OUR BOARD-CERTIFIED JACKSONVILLE BANKRUPTCY LAWYER
If you’re facing significant financial burdens, it’s normal to have a lot of questions about the possible ramifications of your situation and your access to debt relief options. Below, Roger A. Moore, Attorney at Law provides reliable answers to some of our prospective clients’ most frequently asked questions.
WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who is unable to pay his debts can get a fresh start in his financial life. Filing for bankruptcy, in most cases, immediately prohibits your creditors from contacting you in an effort to collect debts.
WHAT CAN BANKRUPTCY DO FOR ME?
- Compromise certain secured debts such as mortgages, vehicle loans, and furniture loans, in which you can force creditors to take payments over time or even lower vehicle & furniture payments based on the value of the collateral). Generally, you cannot keep the collateral unless you pay the debt.
- Discharge (eliminate) certain types of debts such as child support, alimony, student loans, criminal fines, & most taxes.
- Protect co-signers on consumer debts, except in certain consumer Chapter 13 cases.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BANKRUPTCY?
- Chapter 7 – “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation.” Eliminates most unsecured debt as well as the unsecured balance on any secured debt which is surrendered or returned to the creditor. Debts for any secured property which you wish to keep, such as your home or vehicle, must be current at the time of filing and you must continue to make those payments or make arrangements to repay them.
- Chapter 11 – “reorganization” for certain businesses
- Chapter 12 – bankruptcy for farmers
- Chapter 13 – “debt consolidation/adjustment”: A repayment plan, through the Bankruptcy Court, allowing you to pay your creditors to the best of your ability, based on your income and monthly expenses. A Chapter 13 may enable you to keep your home or vehicle if you are behind on your payments.
WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
In most cases, a debtor will only have to attend court once for a “meeting of creditors.” This meeting is generally short and simple and generally requires a debtor to answer a few questions about his or her bankruptcy and financial situation.
WILL BANKRUPTCY WIPE OUT ALL MY DEBTS?
Generally, the answer is yes but there are exceptions, as set forth below:
- Child support or alimony
- Most taxes
- Debts not listed on your bankruptcy petition
- Loans obtained through false information or fraud
- Mortgages and other secured debts not paid as a part of your bankruptcy
- Most criminal fines and penalties
WILL BANKRUPTCY AFFECT MY CREDIT?
Bankruptcy can appear on your credit record for up to ten (10) years from the date you file. Credit, however, can in certain instances be rebuilt and, ultimately recovered following a bankruptcy.
CAN A LAWYER OR ANYONE ELSE CLEAN UP OR REPAIR YOUR CREDIT REPORT?
No, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), this is a fraud which preys on consumers in financial difficulty. The FTC says it has never seen a legitimate “credit repair” company.
Any consumer, at little or no cost, can remove incorrect or inaccurate information on their credit report directly, without paying a so-called “credit repair” organization or lawyer. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), accurate, up-to-date information cannot be removed from a credit report.