Will I lose my home?
Most people keep their home after filing bankruptcy. But this question relates more to whether or not you can make your mortgage payments. We take great care in insuring that you don't lose your home through the bankruptcy process by doing an appraisal and verifying mortgage balances to make sure that your equity does not exceed the Connecticut Exemptions or Federal Exemptions. We are aware of what will happen with your home before you file.
Can I keep my car?
Most often people keep their cars after going through bankruptcy. Like your home, we are aware what will happen with your cars, most often, prior to filing. If the equity in your cars exceeds your exemptions, we know that ahead of time and can plan for it.
Will I have to go to Court?
If you are filing a Chapter 7 petition, this often requires just one trip to the court house, but not to see a judge. You will be meeting with a bankruptcy trustee. A trustee is appointed to oversee your case and insure that what is in your petition is accurate. If you are filing a Chapter 13 petition, you will meet with the trustee once and then attend court for the confirmation hearing, which is where the Bankruptcy Judge approves of your plan to repay creditors.
Where do I go for the meeting with the Trustee?
•¨ If you filed your case in the Hartford Bankruptcy Court, you will go to 450 Main Street, 7th Floor, Hartford, Connecticut.
•¨ If you filed your case in the New Haven Bankruptcy Court, you will go to 150 Court Street, 3rd Floor, New Haven, Connecticut.
How long does bankruptcy take?
That depends on what chapter you are filing. A Chapter 7 case lasts approximately 90 days from the time it is filed until you get your discharge. A Chapter 13 case lasts up to five years while you repay creditors. That sounds like an awfully long time, but the active portion of the case is in the first three to six months. This is the period of time that it takes for your case to be prepared for confirmation. Prior to your case being filed, it does take some time to prepare your case for filing. This requires documents and information that you give to our office.
What documents do I have to provide to your office?
To file your bankruptcy case, you will need to provide the following documents and information to our office:
•¨ Last two years of filed tax returns.
•¨ Last six months of paystubs.
•¨ Last six months of bank statements.
•¨ Last two months of statements from each creditor (including mortgages, car loans and leases).
•¨ A completed Bankruptcy Questionnaire (I give you that at our first meeting).
There are always other documents needed on a case - by - case basis, and often based on what I learn about you at our initial meeting. For instance, if you were divorced in the last 4 years, I will need a copy of your divorce judgment. Also, if you sold a house during the last 4 years, I will need a copy of certain documents from that closing.
What's the deal with Credit Counseling and Debtor Education?
As part of the substantial changes to the bankruptcy laws in 2005, Credit Counseling and Debtor Education is now required. Credit counseling MUST be done prior to filing and Debtor Education MUST be done after filing. Your discharge will not enter unless you do the Debtor Education course (which cannot be done until after your case is filed). I like to think of these as hoops you need to jump through in order to get your bankruptcy discharge, but there may some legitimately helpful information given as part of these courses. The important thing to remember, however, is that no matter what they tell you in the credit counseling course, advice regarding whether or not you can or should file bankruptcy should come exclusively from your attorney. Your attorney only looks out for you and what is best for you and your family. A list of
Are there income limits?
In a word... no. As part of the bankruptcy amendments from 2005, Congress established a "Means Test" to determine who should qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (and discharge their debt completely) and who must file a Chapter 13 (and repay some or all of their debt). As a benchmark, Congress tied this determination into the State Median Income. There are rumors afloat that if your family (husband and wife) income is above the State Median Income, you cannot file a Chapter 7. This is not true. Regardless of your income you should consult with an attorney regarding bankruptcy relief if you are interested in exploring that option.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have other questions, please feel free to contact me. I will also be updating this blog reqularly as I think of more questions I feild from clients on a regular basis.