Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you find yourself in financial difficulty from which there appears no end in sight, it may be time to consider the possibility of filing for protection from your creditors under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. While there are several different types of bankruptcy, one of the most common options for individuals facing financial difficulties is Chapter 7. If you have questions about whether you qualify to file for federal bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7, or if you are wondering whether other alternatives exist, experienced Oakland County bankruptcy lawyer Ronald S. Siegel can explain the various options that may be available to you and guide you through whichever option you choose.
When someone says that they filed “Chapter 7,” they are referring to a particular section of the federal bankruptcy law – specifically, discharging of debts under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Like other sections of the bankruptcy code, Chapter 7 provides protection for people who do not have the means to pay their bills by relieving them of their obligation to repay their most if not all of their debts.Eligibility for Bankruptcy Relief Under Chapter 7
Because Chapter 7 provides the maximum protection to filers (usually resulting in no obligation to repay unsecured debt), it has the most stringent eligibility requirements, and not everyone who has financial problems may be eligible for Chapter 7 protection. The 2005 changes in the bankruptcy laws made the requirements for Chapter 7 eligibility more stringent than in the past. One of the most important reforms contained in the bankruptcy laws was the requirement of a “means test” designed to prevent higher-income filers from filing Chapter 7 (although they may still find protection under Chapter 13). Unless a debtor has income that is above the median income for their state, however, the means test typically does not preclude them from Chapter 7. Even if the means test seems to suggest Chapter 13, it is still possible that the debtor may qualify for Chapter 7 relief, depending upon their current income, their monthly living expenses and the amount and nature of their debts and other obligations.
For those who do qualify for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7, a trustee will be appointed by the court to oversee the case. The trustee’s main function is to identify and examine the debtor’s assets to see if the debtor has any property that has value over and above the limits that the Bankruptcy Code allows them to keep. (The Bankruptcy Code provides certain specific protections, commonly referred to as “exemptions,” that usually exclude or protect the assets of Chapter 7 filers from being taken by the trustee.) Although not every debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy (examples of non-dischargeable debts include child support, alimony, and certain taxes), a Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually eliminates, or “discharges,” most if not all unsecured debt such as credit card and medical bills, and thus provides a “clean slate” to help many debtors get back on their feet financially.Alternative Solutions
We can also help with filing for other types of bankruptcy, as well as addressing related situations like foreclosures and tax levies. In some cases, we may even be able to help you a avoid bankruptcy by negotiating and reaching reasonable settlements with creditors. We always look for an appropriate solution for each client’s personal situation, and we look forward to serving your legal needs.Discuss Your Financial Situation with an Oakland County Lawyer
If you are struggling to make ends meet and are wondering whether bankruptcy may be an option, knowledgeable consumer law attorney Ronald S. Siegel can help. He has more than 30 years of experience representing Michigan families who are going through difficult financial times, and he can help you find a way out from crippling levels of consumer debt. You can reach us at 248-646-4600 or contact us online to schedule a no-charge initial consultation to discuss your options. Our office regularly represents debtors from Farmington Hills, Pontiac, Southfield, Waterford, Detroit, Livonia, Dearborn, Flint, Sterling Heights, and Roseville, as well as other areas of Oakland, Wayne, Genesee, Macomb, Livingston, and Washtenaw Counties.