Wright Law Offices, P.L.C. – Bankruptcy Lawyers Mesa AZ
Below are some questions, frequently asked of our bankruptcy lawyers, presented by Ben Wright, founder of Wright Law Offices, P.L.C. and practicing bankruptcy attorney Mesa AZ residents and businesses have called upon since 2007. If you’re considering filing bankruptcy and have specific questions, please call an AZ bankruptcy Attorney, here at Wright Law Offices, P.L.C. for a free initial consultation with our bankruptcy attorneys. We have professional bankruptcy lawyers Arizona can depend on for effective debt relief solutions.
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Will filing for bankruptcy stop a garnishment? Will creditors stop harassing me as well?
YES. When a creditor or bill collector is noticed of a bankruptcy filing, they must immediately stop all collection attempts, in any form. In some cases, your Mesa bankruptcy attorney should contact a creditor immediately after the filing, to stop certain creditor action (e.g. garnishment). Filing for bankruptcy protection WILL STOP A GARNISHMENT. If a creditor continues to garnish, or collect once noticed of the bankruptcy, they may be liable for sanctions and attorney fees.
What is reaffirmation? You become personally liable for the debt after the bankruptcy. Example: if you keep your car and make payments the creditor will probably want you to sign a new contract to reaffirm the vehicle. There are advantages and disadvantages to reaffirmation, depending on the Debtors situation. Be sure to discuss this with your bankruptcy attorney.
Can my boss fire me because I filed for bankruptcy?
No, U.S.C. Sec. 525 doesn’t allow employers to discriminate against employees because they filed bankruptcy.
What does it cost to file bankruptcy?
There are three fees associated with filing for bankruptcy in AZ. The first cost is the attorney fee. Each case, is different in its own unique way, therefore it’s impossible to quote a flat fee, until we go over all the facts of your bankruptcy case in detail. There are different types of bankruptcy and there are different efforts required to prepare documents, schedule meetings, negotiate with creditors, etc. In every case, you will know what the attorney fee is before you make a decision to retain our office. When you meet with our Arizona bankruptcy attorneys for your free consultation, you will be quoted a fee and given a copy of any agreement before you leave the office.
The second cost is for mandatory credit counseling in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. On average, the cost for credit counseling for an Arizona bankruptcy case is around $50 for a single person or couple. Ask your Mesa bankruptcy lawyers which agency they recommend for this.
The third fee is the court’s filing fee. Here are the fees for an Arizona Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The current filing fees in Phoenix Mesa Arizona, subject to change, are:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: $306
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: $274
Contact a Mesa bankruptcy lawyer for a free consultation and we’ll let you know exactly what the costs will be.
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Can taxes and student loans get discharged?
Some taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy, if they are income taxes, and you did file the returns on time, and they were filed more than three years plus eight months ago. If you filed late, they must have been filed more than two years ago. Student loans are usually never discharged in bankruptcy. For student loans to be discharged, one must show an extreme hardship. This became the law in October 1998. If you feel that your student loans may qualify for discharge, it’s important to mention this to your Mesa bankruptcy attorneys.
Will I have to go to court?
In every bankruptcy case in Arizona/Phoenix/Mesa/Gilbert/Chandler, there is at least one appearance that you and your Mesa Arizona bankruptcy lawyer must make at the office of the U.S. Trustee. Your AZ bankruptcy lawyers should be there with you, to represent you. The Trustee is appointed in each bankruptcy case to administer the case for the judge. This meeting does not take place in a courtroom, and an attorney from our office is with you at all times. The meeting is called a Section 341 meeting, and it is held at the office of the U.S. Trustee. We will take care of you during the meeting. You have already gone over all the details with the AZ bankruptcy attorneys from our bankruptcy law firm. There will be no surprises for us at the meeting.
How do I know if I’m eligible for bankruptcy in Arizona?
It depends on the chapter of bankruptcy. Generally most individuals or families in Arizona file for Chapter 7 of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy qualifications are based on your gross monthly income, and your family size. There are 2 ways to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona. Generally, if you are under an income limit based on your family size, you will qualify for Chapter 7. If you pass a “means test” (a test that takes into account certain expenses, and your ability to pay back your debts) you will also qualify for Chapter 7. An experienced AZ bankruptcy attorney will tell you whether or not you qualify to file chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do not qualify for bankruptcy at that time, the Mesa bankruptcy attorney will let you know if you have a shot in the future. To qualify for chapter 13, you have to have a regular source of income, as well as the ability to pay back the necessary creditors in your chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. Your bankruptcy lawyers in Mesa AZ will go over all of this with you at your free initial consultation.
What information will my attorney need when we meet?
Probably the most important thing your bankruptcy lawyers in Arizona will need to know is your gross monthly income, and what assets you own, and their value. If you have paycheck stubs available, or if you own a business or are an independent contractor, profit and loss statements.
You should also have a very good idea of your debt situation. How much do you owe in credit card debt, medical debt, etc. If you owe for taxes of child support, it is very important that you let your attorney know.
If you own a home, it’s very important to know how much your house is worth (hard to do these days), how much you owe on all mortgages, and whether or not you’re going through a loan modification, or considering short sale.
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If I own a business, can I file for personal bankruptcy?
The question isn’t can I, it’s should you. As most Arizona bankruptcy lawyers like to start their sentences, it depends. You have an exemption for business assets. If you are over that exemption in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will pay the bankruptcy estate or face liquidation. In a chapter 13, you will pay the estate back for the amount you are over exempt during your plan. It’s important to have experienced business bankruptcy attorneys when you are in this situation.
Be sure to make your business bankruptcy lawyers aware of the fact that you own a business. The Wright Law Offices, P.L.C. has handled hundreds of cases where the debtor has filed with a business, and we have the bankruptcy attorneys Mesa businesses have come to trust for these situations. We are more than capable of making sure your situation is handled properly when you own a business.
What assets do I lose if I file bankruptcy?
Hopefully none. In Arizona, when you file bankruptcy, you get exemptions, or allowances for property. You and your attorney will decide how to approach your case so that you do not lose any assets.
Can I keep my home if I file bankruptcy in Arizona?
Yes. As long as everything is OK with you and your lender you can, and will. You are allowed to have a certain amount of equity in a home in Arizona when you file bankruptcy. This is why it’s imperative to know exactly how much equity you have. If you are over the limits on this exemption in Arizona and are considering filing bankruptcy, all is not lost. For example, in a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, whatever you are over can be paid back to the bankruptcy estate. Keep in mind that bankruptcy exemptions vary from state to state. There are numerous bankruptcy attorneys in Arizona, that’s why it’s important to hire a bankruptcy attorney Arizona residents have successfully used in the past.
Will I lose my car if I file bankruptcy in Arizona?
No, as long as your under your Arizona bankruptcy vehicle exemption. You get an exemption for a vehicle when you file bankruptcy. That means you’re allowed to have a certain amount of equity in a vehicle without any penalty when your bankruptcy petition is filed in Arizona. In Chapter 7, you probably want to make sure you’re under your exemption. All is not lost if you’re not however. If you are over, you can pay the bankruptcy estate for the amount over. In a Chapter 13, the amount you’re over the limits on will simply be paid back through the Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. Contact a bankruptcy attorney in Arizona for more information.
Will creditors stop calling me when I file for bankruptcy?
Absolutely. The filing of a bankruptcy case automatically stays, or forbids collection and other actions against you and your property when you file. After filing for bankruptcy, the Arizona District Court will notify all creditors listed of your filing via the U.S. mail. If a creditor attempts to collect a debt or take other action in violation of the Bankruptcy Code, they may be penalized if they do not cease and desist. The Mesa Arizona bankruptcy attorneys at our office will write letters to inform these creditors if they do not stop.
What do I tell creditors after I file for bankruptcy?
When you file, the court will notify your creditors via U.S. mail, and that they are not to contact you. It usually takes a week for all creditors to get notice of this. Usually, right after filing if you were already getting collection call, you’ll still receive calls for a few days. You can answer the phone, tell them you’ve filed bankruptcy, and give them your case number. You do not have to say anything else.
What is a “Motion To Lift the Automatic Stay”?
A “motion to lift the automatic stay” is sometimes filed by a lender/creditor (usually for a home or vehicle) after a Debtor has filed bankruptcy (most of the time, after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy). It is a process by which said lender/creditor obtains the bankruptcy court’s permission to foreclose on real, or repossess personal property (such as a vehicle), that is liened by said lender/creditor. See our article on this topic on the home page.