Austin, Texas Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer
For more information about a practice area, click on the heading.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Austin bankruptcy lawyeris a good option to consider if you are current on all debts secured with collateral you want to keep (such as home mortgages and vehicle loans) and you have an unmanageable amount of unsecured debt such as credit card debt. With certain exceptions, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows people to obtain relief from personal loans, credit card debts, deficiency claims on repossessed vehicles or foreclosed real estate, auto accident claims, judgments, business debts, leases, personal guaranties, and negligence claims.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the proper option if you are behind on home mortgage or vehicle payments and want to keep the property. It can also be a good option if you want to alter unfavorable terms of a loan agreement.
Debt negotiators will often create a debt management or payment plan as an alternative to filing bankruptcy. In this alternative to filing bankruptcy, you will be asked to pay the debt negotiator a certain amount each month and that person will use that money to pay your creditors. The concept behind debt negotiation is that creditors will accept a reduced amount of what you owe in exchange for you not filing bankruptcy. However, if you are not able to adhere to your debt management plan, you may have to file bankruptcy anyway, and then you will be out the up-front fees you paid to the negotiator.
Bankruptcy Means Test
Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, you must undergo a means test to determine whether you are qualified to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your current monthly income is below the Texas adjusted median income, then you are automatically presumed to have filed bankruptcy in good faith.
With proper counseling from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, even people who earn more than the Texas adjusted median income can still qualify for relief.
Exempt Property in Bankruptcy
Exempt property is property that you are allowed to keep when filing bankruptcy, subject to any valid liens that may exist. When an asset is exempt, a bankruptcy trustee cannot take the property to pay your debts.
Foreclosure & Repossession
Once you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will issue an automatic stay which will stop your creditors from making any attempt to collect their debt, including attempting foreclosure of a home or repossession of a car.
However, it is extremely important to note that if you are behind on making your payments, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy will delay but not permanently prevent a repossession or foreclosure. The automatic stay will expire approximately 60 days after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed. Only a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to cure delinquent payments and keep your property.
Bankruptcy & Tax Debt
The rules relating to the discharge of tax debts are more liberal in Chapter 13 bankruptcy than Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. The rules are complex, so you should consult a Board Certified bankruptcy lawyer about what about what taxes cannot be discharged.
Choosing to file bankruptcy is a serious decision that has consequences that last several years. Although the Bankruptcy Code does not require you to owe a certain amount of money before you can file bankruptcy, there are many situations that may not warrant a bankruptcy filing. Your initial consultation with Austin bankruptcy lawyer Fred E. Walker will include a discussion of whether filing bankruptcy is appropriate, which form of bankruptcy relief is best for you, bankruptcy alternatives, the bankruptcy process, and credit considerations of a bankruptcy filing.