Do you have bills that you can’t afford to pay? Maybe you have recently gotten divorced, lost a job or had a medical emergency, or maybe your monthly expenses are so high that your credit card bills have gotten out of control. Are you wondering what your options are?
For many people in situations like yours, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way to get meaningful debt relief and start over with a clean financial slate. At John T. Turco & Associates in Omaha, we help Nebraska and Iowa clients understand their options and file bankruptcy if they choose to do so.
Clearing Your Debts Through the Bankruptcy Process
The Chapter 7 process is what many people think of as traditional consumer bankruptcy. It allows you to discharge (permanently eliminate) certain types of debt, particularly credit card debt and medical bills. In return for the discharge of your debts, you may have to give up certain assets, which can be liquidated (sold off) by the bankruptcy court to partially repay your creditors.
Many types of personal assets are exempt from liquidation in Chapter 7. Most people who file Chapter 7 are able to complete the bankruptcy process without giving up any assets.
We will carefully evaluate your personal circumstances to determine whether you would be required to give up your house, car or any other assets in order to get Chapter 7 debt relief. If so, we can help you consider whether Chapter 13 reorganization of your debts is a better option. We will not take any steps without explaining the consequences to you.
Determining Whether You Qualify for Chapter 7
The federal bankruptcy law adopted in 2005 set new qualifications for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is now a means test — based on your income and the size of your family — that attempts to screen out people who can afford to at least partially repay their debts.
Most people who are considering bankruptcy genuinely cannot afford to pay their bills, so the means test is usually not a problem. Also, if your bankruptcy is caused by problems with your small business, the means test may not apply. We understand the new law and can help you determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7.
We can help. Contact us to speak to one of our experienced bankruptcy lawyers or to arrange a free initial consultation. If you cannot come to our Omaha offices, we can consult with you by telephone.