Harrisonburg Bankruptcy Lawyer
At MartinWren, P.C., our team of Harrisonburg bankruptcy lawyers residents trust has seen how much people’s lives have been impacted by financial instability. For many, living costs are equal to or exceed their living expenses, making it difficult to pay off any debts they have accrued. Filing for bankruptcy may seem like an intimidating option. However, for those who fit the criteria, it can set them on track towards recovering financially in the long run. If you have not talked with a lawyer yet about whether bankruptcy is the right option for you, we encourage you to reach out today to receive a brief, free initial consultation.
Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
There are six bankruptcy chapters: Chapter 15, Chapter 12, Chapter 11, Chapter 9, Chapter 3, and Chapter 7. But in most cases, a person is going to apply for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is often called “liquidation” bankruptcy, as it can discharge your unsecured debts, such as credit cards and personal loans, through selling off certain belongings. Before being approved for bankruptcy, it will be necessary for you to pass a “means test,” which confirms you are eligible.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is commonly referred to as the “reorganization” bankruptcy chapter. In this option, you will establish a plan for repaying at least a portion of your debts over several years. Your property will not be liquidated to pay off your debts, but you will have to commit to a 3-5 year repayment plan based on what you can afford. After that, the rest of your debts may be discharged.
Bankruptcy Will Impact Your Credit
As your lawyer for bankruptcy in Harrisonburg may tell you, filing for bankruptcy will likely affect your credit. One of the biggest deterrents to a bankruptcy filing is that it will cause your credit score to go down, in addition to a bankruptcy status remaining on your credit report for around ten years. You may also be required to declare a bankruptcy filing to employers in the future on related medical forms and other types of government or state reports.
Most lenders and landlords will look at your credit score when approving your application, so it is crucial to understand how this may impact your opportunities in the years to come. With all that being said, it may still be worth filing, depending on the circumstances.
Many consumers assume that bankruptcy means that they will automatically have their debts eradicated. This assumption is not entirely correct, as in most cases, the debtor will have to pay at least a portion of their obligations back. It is possible to have all of your debts discharged, but this is less common and is not the general outcome.
If you require more information about bankruptcy, please call MartinWren, P.C. to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in Harrisonburg today.
Understanding the Advantages and Disadvantages of Bankruptcy
As a trusted Harrisonburg bankruptcy lawyer will tell you, it will be necessary to carefully consider whether the bankruptcy process is the right step for you. For many struggling with debts, experiencing constant calls from creditors, and managing the emotional weight and stress debt can have on a person, bankruptcy may be met with some sense of relief. At Martin Wren, P.C., we want to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of bankruptcy by presenting you with your options and assisting you in making critical financial decisions for your future.
Advantages of Bankruptcy
While many people with debts can manage their finances without taking further action, others may need to consider bankruptcy for the many advantages it provides. In cases of Chapter 7, bankruptcy offers those filing with a fresh start, free from the overwhelming debts they have managed. Typical benefits of bankruptcy are:
The Automatic Stay
Once a debtor files for bankruptcy, the automatic stay will be granted. This means creditors must halt all efforts to collect debts. Meaning, all phone calls, letters, wages garnishments, home foreclosures must come to a stop. Creditors cannot resume these efforts until the automatic stay has been lifted or after the bankruptcy has been resolved.
Discharge Some of Your Debt
While you won’t eliminate all of your debt through bankruptcy, you will no longer be responsible for the dischargeable debt. Our bankruptcy lawyer in Harrisonburg shares that this would include credit cards, mortgage payments, car payments, and personal loans.
One of the benefits includes the exemptions that are allotted in the bankruptcy process. While it’s essential to keep in mind that this can vary depending upon the state where you live and the type of bankruptcy you file, having the ability to retain some of your assets can be a significant advantage. Keep in mind that bankruptcy intends to help people manage their debt, not leave them destitute.
Keep in Mind There Are Disadvantages
With advantages, there are also disadvantages to bankruptcy. In some cases, these can have a significant impact on your future. However, be aware that, while there are many disadvantages, bankruptcy can give you the opportunity for a fresh start:
- Your credit score will decline, and it will take time to rebuild
- A bankruptcy will remain on your credit for 7-10 years depending on whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
- It may be challenging to obtain a mortgage loan
- Your ability to access credit through unsecured credit cards or personal loans will be impacted
- Many of the credit cards you hold will likely be canceled
- Some of your debts cannot be discharged through bankruptcy
When weighing out your options, there are a variety of things to consider. Timing is critical, and you won’t want to pursue bankruptcy as an option if you could have otherwise resolved debts on your own. The last thing any person wants is to lose property they would have been able to keep if they were to pursue a different process. Additionally, the bankruptcy process can be very complicated, and choosing the right type of filing will be critical to receiving the most favorable outcome possible. To learn more about our Harrisonburg, Virginia bankruptcy lawyer and how we can help, contact Martin Wren, P.C. to get started.