Typically, the Chapter 7 case will stay on your credit report for ten years. It is ten years from the date you file your case. I would not be surprised if when you file your case within literally a day or two, it shows up on your credit. It will happen very quickly. A Chapter 13 case will stay on your credit for seven years and again, it reports pretty much the day you file. So if you file the case today, and this is one of the beauties of a Chapter 13, is if you are in bankruptcy and you are in it for three years, when you are out of the bankruptcy case, it is only going to be on your credit for four more years. So it tends to go by a little bit quicker simply because you are in the case for a minimum of three years.
How Long Do Bankruptcies Generally Take To Resolve?
The bankruptcy case for a 7 is going to be around four to six months and a Chapter 13 is going to be a minimum of three years, maximum of five years. Those are just the averages. There are circumstances that can make a Chapter 13 case get done earlier and that is, you can file a motion to pay it off early and get it done. In Chapter 7 cases, there are some that go on longer simply because they become what we call an asset case, meaning the trustee is going to seize assets and administer the estate, meaning they are going to sell something and they are going to payback money to creditors. I have seen cases that have taken five or six years that are Chapter 7 cases, because they become asset cases. Usually those are more complicated involving non-parties to the bankruptcy case who own property jointly with the debtor. So there are complications to those cases that make them go longer but typically they are not very long.
The Emotional Impact Of Filing A Bankruptcy On An Individual
Typically, it is a big relief for people once they have filed. Think about being in foreclosure. On a certain date, they are going to sell your home at public auction and then you are going to get evicted. There is nothing more comforting to a person than hearing the words the foreclosure sale has been stopped and you get to stay in your home. It is a huge relief and it helps people sleep at night. Even in Chapter 7 cases, most of the times when people come to a bankruptcy attorney, it is because they have been bombarded with either lawsuits or creditors calling them and harassing them and they are just sick and tired of having to take those calls and just deal with the facts of life. Getting that filed will stop that harassment, the calls, and you are free. You can take a deep breath and you can get yourself together and you can move forward.
What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Bankruptcy Cases?
Most bankruptcy law firms are what I would call mills. They pump you in and they pump you out. They hand you paperwork to do and then they tell you to complete the paperwork and then they simply file the paperwork. You, as the client, have a lot more work to do at other firms than in ours. In our firm, we say, “Get us this paperwork, you give it to us and we will prepare all the paperwork for you. You don’t have to hand fill out all these documents and forms, we’ll do it for you.
Just give us the essential information”. A lot of times, we can do what we call an intake over the phone or in person where we are simply asking questions and soliciting from the person the information so we can prepare the file in our office, they simply then review the file and then sign off on it once it is completed. If there are any changes, we make those changes. In that way, we give kind of more of a personal touch but we also take that burden from them. Instead of them having to sit down at a table and try and fill out forms that they have never seen before, we simply take care of that for them.
Advice For People Contemplating Filing For Bankruptcy
There are two things that come to mind that are important issues in bankruptcy. One is if you are in bankruptcy and you are having trouble whether you have an attorney or not, you can always go seek an attorney. You can seek advice from attorney even if you file paperwork on your own. There is an attorney in my office just last week who sat down with someone for an hour and went through paperwork for them and did not even end up hiring the firm. Our goal is not just to get clients and make money, it is also to help people. One of the ways we do that is we answer questions. Sometimes if you are in bankruptcy, you just need someone to review things, come on in and schedule your free initial consultation and we go from there.
Another thing to think about is tax refunds. They become a big issue in bankruptcy cases in Chapters 7s or 13s. Anytime you are going to get a tax refund, if there is going to be a bankruptcy issue to deal with, if you are in bankruptcy, you are going to file shortly. I would recommend anybody that is either going to file or is in a bankruptcy, to make sure they speak with their attorney or an attorney about it because you do not want to get a $10,000 tax refund or even $3,000 tax refund ending up losing at all. There are things you can do to protect it. It may be too late to protect it depending on what stage of the bankruptcy case you are involved in, but it is important to review that, and at least know that in advance.
Can Someone Hire Or Change A Bankruptcy Attorney After The Process Has Been Initiated?
Absolutely. So you can be a year and a half into your Chapter 13 case and you can feel the need to get another attorney and you do not like the one you have, you can always get another attorney. You can always file the case on your own and then get an attorney later. We have substituted into different cases several times over the years, especially if people started the case and figured out that it cannot be more complicated than perhaps they anticipated.
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