How Bankruptcy Can Stop Creditor Harassment and Save Your Home
Creditors will resort to numerous aggressive tactics when attempting to recoup debts, many of which are illegal under the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA). Though you can exercise your rights and ask debt collectors to stop calling, collections agencies will eventually file lawsuits against you for unpaid debts. These legal actions can lead to bank account garnishments, levies, liens, and other serious financial consequences.
If you fall behind on mortgage payments, your bank or lender may attempt to initiate foreclosure proceedings. A foreclosure will result in the loss of your home, and you may also be responsible for paying deficiency judgments if the sale price does not cover your outstanding balance.
Filing for any type of bankruptcy freezes foreclosures and all other collection actions, including vehicle repossessions, bank account garnishments, and creditor lawsuits. Debt collectors will also not be allowed to directly contact you. This is accomplished through the “automatic stay,” a court order promptly granted after filing. In most cases, the automatic stay will remain in effect until your bankruptcy filing has concluded. This means that Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 filers can have up to 5 years of protection from creditors.
Though filing for bankruptcy does not allow you to discharge all types of debt, including mortgage debt, the process can still give you the time, flexibility, and resources you need to effectively reorganize your finances. Our Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyer at The Messerli Law Firm, PLLC can help you understand what types of debt you can expect to discharge and provide comprehensive financial guidance.
Fort Worth Bankruptcy Attorney
Securing Relief for Clients in Denton County and the Surrounding Areas
It can be easy to feel helpless in the face of overwhelming debt, but relief options are available. If you are facing foreclosure, are fielding calls from angry creditors, or know you will not be able to pay your obligations, it may be time to consider bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy provides immediate and long-term relief from creditors and allows you to discharge certain types of unsecured debts, including credit card debt, medical debt, and unpaid utility bills. Our Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney at The Messerli Law Firm, PLLC can help you navigate the process and make the most of your filing. We have over 20 years of business experience and are familiar with all elements of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Our team can leverage our extensive knowledge and resources to help you secure a future free from debt.
Types of Bankruptcy
There are several major types of bankruptcy, each with its own process and eligibility requirements. Whether you are an individual or a business as well as your current financial circumstances will generally determine which type of bankruptcy you can apply for. We can help evaluate what types of bankruptcy you qualify for and help you understand the implications of filing.
Our Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney can assist you with:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is intended for consumers with limited assets and income. Filers must qualify to file for Chapter 7 by passing the state’s Means Test, which compares current income with the median average for your household size and measures your monthly disposable income. Filers will go through a “liquidation” process where nonexempt assets are sold, or “liquidated,” to repay creditors. Once this process has been completed, filers can discharge unsecured debts. Though liquidation can sound scary, the reality is that many filers lose little to nothing. Texas’s exemptions include equity in your home, vehicle, furniture, personal possessions, clothing, and more. We can help you leverage these exemptions and minimize the impact of liquidation.
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is generally intended for business organizations. Individual consumers can sometimes file if they do not qualify for other types of bankruptcy. Filing for Chapter 11 involves proposing a plan to repay creditors through a reorganization of business assets and liabilities. Filers retain control of their business during a Chapter 11 bankruptcy but must create a plan that will survive creditor objections. We can assist business organizations throughout the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process and can develop a reorganization plan that will satisfy creditors and the court. Our team can also pursue and facilitate streamlined Chapter 11 procedures for small businesses.
- Chapter 12 Bankruptcy. This unique type of bankruptcy is reserved for family farmers and fishermen. Individuals in these occupations with “regular annual income” can be eligible to file if a majority of their debts are connected to their commercial operations. Filers will propose a plan that combines their debts into a lump monthly installment that must be paid over a 3- to 5-year period. Once this repayment plan has been completed, farmers and fishermen can discharge unsecured debts.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Individuals that do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will likely instead qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, especially if they have consistent income. Filers will need to propose a plan that reorganizes their obligations into a single monthly payment. This payment amount will be rooted in your current monthly disposable income and must be paid over a period of 3 to 5 years, after which you will be permitted to discharge unsecured debts.
In addition to our bankruptcy filing services, our firm also offers tailored debt counseling. We realize that bankruptcy is not the right choice for everyone and can help you explore all available relief solutions. This can include working directly with creditors to negotiate refinancing compromises. Our firm also provides a full suite of financial planning services that can help you make strategic short- and long-term decisions and avoid accumulating debt.