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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a bankruptcy attorney do?

    Bankruptcy attorneys help clients understand whether they qualify for bankruptcy and what their best options are. They also prepare and file petitions, answer questions during the proceedings, and educate clients about potential best steps for a positive bankruptcy outcome. Bankruptcy attorneys might also file motions or paperwork if creditors dispute the bankruptcy, or to stop creditors from taking collections actions forbidden by the bankruptcy.

  • What happens when you file bankruptcy?

    Bankruptcy is a formal process that individuals, married couples, or businesses can enact when they are no longer able to pay creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, filers are allowed to reduce debt to more manageable levels to best pay off money owed.

    Once the bankruptcy process is initiated, debt collectors can no longer seek repayments outside of the arrangements detailed in the bankruptcy settlement. Some forms of bankruptcy result in the liquidation of assets to pay back debts, while others allow filers to retain most of their possessions and investments. Many types of unsecured debt can be managed with bankruptcy filings, but not all.

  • Can you file bankruptcy on student loans?

    Under most circumstances, student loans aren't dischargeable and aren't included in bankruptcy proceedings. In rare cases, it may be possible to eliminate student loans through bankruptcy, but only if the courts determine that continuing to pay the loans would impose an undue hardship. Meeting the criteria for undue hardship is challenging, and most bankruptcy filers don't qualify.

  • What is bankruptcy fraud?

    Bankruptcy fraud is a blanket term that refers to any kind of dishonest bankruptcy proceeding, which can include:

    • Hiding assets by transferring them to another person or entity
    • Intentionally omitting assets when reporting to the court
    • Destroying or withholding required documents
    • Knowingly making false statements to bankruptcy trustees or creditors
  • How long is bankruptcy on public record?

    How long bankruptcy stays on public record depends on the kind of bankruptcy filing in question. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the record for 10 years as there isn't necessarily a repayment component. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the record for seven years as some obligations are repaid following filing based on the terms of a discharge settlement.

  • Does bankruptcy clear tax debt?

    Bankruptcy can clear tax debt, depending on the circumstances. Taxes are dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not Chapter 13, and only if the tax debt is:

    • Federal income tax debt related to current properly filed tax returns
    • Honestly incurred with no fraud or evasion
    • At least three years old
    • Assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy filings

    Existing liens are not eliminated with bankruptcy.

  • Can they take my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    In many cases, it's possible to keep a vehicle following Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Motor Vehicle Exemption allows filers who own their vehicles outright or who are up to date with payments to keep their cars. However, those behind on making car payments are required to arrange a repayment plan. Otherwise, the vehicle may be repossessed as a part of the proceedings.

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