HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?

Bankruptcy attorney fees in Amarillo vary depending on the complexity of the case and which Chapter (7, 11, or 13) you file. On most ordinary consumer bankruptcy cases (Chapter 7 Bankruptcy), I charge several hundred dollars less than most Amarillo bankruptcy lawyers due to my very low overhead. Call me and I'll let you know how much I can save you from average Amarillo bankruptcy lawyer fees.

The only other fee is the Court's filing fee. This varies depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, which is about $300.

It's important for you to know that you don't have to have any money in hand to call me and come in for your first appointment. I'm happy to talk with you without you first paying me so that you know all your options before you commit to paying anything. Often, you can stop making some payments on debts, which allow you to afford to get all fees paid out of your current budget.

I'll work with you to get make filing a bankruptcy affordable.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FILE BANKRUPTCY?

Bottom-line: In getting your case filed, I'll go as fast or slow as you want or need to go. While each case is different, the typicalChapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed in a matter of a few days of hiring me, but of course we can go much slower if that is a benefit to you.

After filing, it takes about 100 to 120 days for your case to be finished and receive your discharge, which eliminates your dischargeable debts.

Remember, that upon filing, your creditors and debt collectors have to stop contacting you and must communicate with you through your bankruptcy attorney. If you are facing foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure process.

Lastly, you have to complete a short credit counseling course, which you can do online or on the phone. It takes about 30 - 45 minutes to complete. The job of your bankruptcy attorney is to assist you in doing everything necessary to get your bankruptcy case filed.

HOW WILL MY CREDIT RATING BE AFFECTED AFTER FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY?

Filing bankruptcy is a negative incident on filer's credit report. However, the negative effect of filing bankruptcy can be greatly reduced and even eliminated over time.

Regarding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: The vast majority of people that file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy have damaged credit prior to filing. If you fall into this category, the bankruptcy itself will have a minimal impact on your credit score. In most cases, filing bankruptcy is the best way to position yourself to re-establish a solid credit score, because it addresses all of the negative activity in your past with just one action. Call for your free consultation and I will explain exactly how to get back to a more positive credit score.

Regarding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: The best way to re-establish your credit if you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy is to make your chapter 13 plan payments on time. Often, if your able to timely pay a significant amount of your debt the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee can help you gain new credit after your case is finished. Also, FHA, the federal housing authority, has mortgage programs for people that have successfully completed their chapter 13 plan with on time payments that you can qualify for the day you complete your chapter 13 plan. The best way to ensure that your plan is successful is to ask for a wage withholding order, which means that you don't have to manually write a check for your plan payment, you can set up automatic deductions from your paycheck. Past history shows that Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plans with a wage withholding order are far more successful than those without. Call for your free consultation and I will explain exactly how to quickly re-establish your credit.

WHAT KINDS OF DEBTS WILL BE DISCHARGED IN BANKRUPTCY?

There are four primary categories of debts:

1. General Unsecured Debts, which are eliminated in bankruptcy. The vast majority of the time, you no longer have to pay these debts after you file:

  • Credit Cards
  • Medical debts
  • Many Tax debts (including interest and penalties - when you filed the tax return more than 3 years before you filed)
  • Personal Loans
  • Payday Loans
  • Deficiencies on Car Repossessions and Foreclosures or,
  • Judgments now attached (abstracted) to exempt property like your homestead
2. Non-Dischargeable Unsecured Debts. These debts cannot generally be discharged in bankruptcy.
  • Student Loans (there are a few exceptions based on hardship situations)
  • Property Taxes
  • Criminal or Traffic Fines
  • Some General Unsecured Debts where you borrowed the money shortly before filing bankruptcy (if challenged by the creditor)
3. Priority Unsecured Debts - these debts are not dischargeable.
  • Child Support and Alimony
  • Tax Debts (where you filed the return within 3 years of filing bankruptcy of have not filed the tax return, and wages that you owe employees of your business or other fiduciary taxes)
4. Secured Debts - these debts must be paid (at least part of it) if you want to keep the property that is the collateral on the loan.
  • Car Loans
  • Mortgages
  • Purchase Money loans on personal property
  • Statutory (established by law) liens

CAN CREDITORS HAVE ME ARRESTED?

NO - end of story!!

You can only be arrested by law enforcement officers, and they do not arrest folks that owe civil debts. (We eliminated "Debtor's Prisons" since colonial days, before the United States existed.)

Nor do you have to let them into your house to repossess collateral (Exception: In the VERY RARE case they've sued you and have a judgment and a sheriff deputy is with the creditor.)

WILL I LOSE MY JOB WHEN I FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?

NO!!

In most cases, employers will not find out about the bankruptcy unless you choose to tell them. Either way, employers are not allowed to fire or refuse to hire someone (or take other adverse action) for filing bankruptcy. No employer may fire you because you filed for bankruptcy. Nor may an employer discriminate against you in other terms and conditions of employment (for example, by reducing your salary, demoting you, or taking away responsibilities because you filed bankruptcy).