Missouri Bankruptcy Attorney
At the Affordable Legal Services , we believe everyone deserves a second chance, and we would be happy to help you achieve a fresh start. Bankruptcy laws are meant to help people have a chance to start over after suffering financial difficulties. Whether such difficulties were the result of certain decisions that were made, our perhaps were outside of your own control, we believe that all people, and businesses, should be given a second chance.
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding meant for individuals or businesses who are unable to pay off their debts. Federal law gives you the right to file for Bankruptcy, and bankruptcy is filed in Federal Court, where the Judge will examine your assets and liabilities to determine if you are eligible to have your debts discharged.
Filing Bankruptcy is meant to give people a second chance and a fresh start. When you go into debt, and the interest that keeps growing, it causes an incredible amount of stress. However, when a Bankruptcy is filed, and a judge discharges your debts, you will likely feel a great deal of relief. You will have a second chance at life without the continued burden of financial stress.
What Can Bankruptcy Do for Me?
Bankruptcy is created to give you a fresh start. Below are some of the ways it can help you:
- It can eliminate your legal obligation to pay the debts. However, the court will decide what part of the debt obligation is removed from you.
- Allow you to handle the missed mortgage payments and thus avoid foreclosure of your home. (However, you are not automatically eliminated from the mortgages and other liens on your property without payment)
- Creditors may be forced to return your car and/or other property, even after it has been repossessed.
- Stop debt collection harassment from creditors.
- Restore or avoid termination of utility service.
- Allow you to challenge creditors who have committed fraud and are trying to collect more than you owe.
What Can’t Bankruptcy Do?
Note that Bankruptcy cannot cure all your financial problems. Bankruptcy depends on many circumstances, and not everyone can file for it. In Bankruptcy, it is usually not possible to:
- Eliminate certain rights of “secured” creditors. A “secured” creditor means someone who has taken collateral such as a mortgage or other lien on property, for the loan. Typical examples are car loans and home mortgages.
- Bankruptcy cannot eliminate your tax debt. A Chapter 7 filing does not eliminate the debtor from state or federal income tax debts. However, with chapter 13 filing, you may be able to wipe out some of the debt depending on the type, time and amount of the debt.
- It cannot eliminate your support obligation. If you have other types of obligations such as child support, alimony, or anything else related to divorce, Bankruptcy will not eliminate those debts.
- Bankruptcy does not protect co-signers on your debts. If someone has co-signed on your loan, and you attempt to discharge the loan in Bankruptcy, the co-signer may still have to repay all or part of the loan.
What Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?
The cost of filing Bankruptcy under chapter 13 is $310, and chapter 7 is $335, whether for one person or a married couple. In case you are unable to pay this fee at once, the courts may allow you to pay this in installments. This is just the court fee; the attorney fee is separate.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
You will have to go to a court proceeding called “the meeting of creditors”. In this session, held outside the presence of a judge, you meet with the creditors, (if they choose to come) and the Bankruptcy trustee. These meetings are usually (but not always) short, where you are asked some questions about your financial condition.
If some complication arises, you may be asked to appear in court for a hearing. In that case, you will receive the court’s notice with the date and time.
Should I file Bankruptcy?
The decision whether to file Bankruptcy is a serious one, and depends on many elements of your circumstances. Often it is best to consult with an attorney when making this decision. An experienced Bankruptcy attorney can advise you on how best to resolve your financial circumstances under the law.
Do I need to have an attorney?
If you’re a business debtor filing Bankruptcy, you must have an attorney in a proceeding involving the presentation of evidence. If you are filing Bankruptcy as an individual, you are not legally required to have an attorney. However, Bankruptcy law is complex, and not everything will make sense to all people. Additionally, under 28 U.S.C section 955, the clerk’s office is unable to give you any legal advice or help you with any forms. Therefore it is usually advisable to have an attorney represent your case.
What information do I need to file for bankruptcy?
Below is some of the information you will need to file Bankruptcy:
- Completion of the Credit Counseling Course within 180 days before filing Bankruptcy
- A list of all your major property (for example real estate, automobiles, boats, furniture, etc.)
- A copy of your federal and state tax returns for the past two years.
- Home address
- Social Security Number
- Employer’s address
- Salary and wage information
- A list of all those to whom you legally owe money
- A list of all your personal sources of income
- A list of all your financial accounts (for example: checking and savings accounts, savings bonds, etc.)
- A list of all your monthly expenses (for example rent, food, child support, transportation, etc.)
Missouri Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Advantages
- This entitles you to receive a completely fresh start. Once the Bankruptcy is discharged, the only debts you will have will be for secured assets. You can choose to sign a “Reaffirmation Agreement” for secured assets debt.
- Right from the date of filing, you have immediate protection from wage garnishment and creditor’s collection.
- After the date of filing Bankruptcy, the wages you earn, and the property you acquire are yours, not the creditors or Bankruptcy court.
- No minimum amount of debt is needed to qualify.
- It usually takes only about 3 to 6 months for your case to be completely discharged.
Missouri Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Disadvantages
- You would end up losing your non-exempt property, as it will all be sold by the trustee.
- If you’re facing foreclosure on your home, chapter 7 is not a good option. The automatic stay only gives you temporary relief against the foreclosure.
- If your loan has co-signers, they are also required to file for Bankruptcy protection; or else they get stuck repaying the loan.
- You can only file a chapter 7 Bankruptcy once in 8 years. Meaning, if you received a discharge of your debts, you can only file the next one after 8 years.
Missouri Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Advantages
- You can keep all your property, whether they are exempt or non-exempt, if you can afford the payment plan.
- In chapter 13, your debts will not be cancelled as they are in a chapter 7 discharge, but it will get reduced under a chapter 13 payment plan.
- You will receive immediate protection against wage garnishment and creditor’s collection efforts.
- In chapter 13, a large number of debts are considered to be dischargeable. This includes the debts you incurred as credit card charges for luxury items etc.
- The co-signers are protected from the creditor’s collection efforts, as chapter 13 provides full payment.
- Your home is immune from foreclosure, as long as you abide by the terms of the plan.
- You get more time to pay debts that are not discharged by either chapter, such as taxes or child support.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can be filed at any time.
- You can file this repeatedly, without having to wait 8 years as in Chapter 7.
- You can choose to differentiate your creditors by class, so different types of creditors will receive different portions of payment.
Missouri Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Disadvantages
- Since you create a payment plan, you will have to pay with your post-Bankruptcy income.
- Chapter 13 requires a higher legal and attorney fee due to its complexity.
- Your debt will last until the plan is active, which is usually 3-5 years.
- A 3-5 years plan also means you are involved in the Bankruptcy court process for the same duration.
- Commodity brokers and Stockbrokers are exempted from filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition.
We hope you found this Bankruptcy information useful. If you or someone you know is facing Bankruptcy, please click the button below to contact us now. We will do our very best to get you the second chance that you deserve.
* The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor The Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. Certain cases may be referred, or may involve outside co-counsel arrangements, in which event you would be notified.