Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows debtors to discharge certain unsecured debts, enabling them to make a fresh financial start. At one time this process was relatively affordable. Now, due to increased bankruptcy filing fees, mandatory credit counseling and debt management classes, and increased costs to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, many debtors do not have the funds to file bankruptcy.
Despite what some have called an economic recovery, many individuals and families are struggling to make ends meet. Recently on our bankruptcy forum a user asked, “I lost my job last month and need money fast. I have heard about the dangers of getting payday loans, but I don’t see another option. I live in California. If I do decide to get a payday loan what do I need to know?”
If you are a widow without income, life insurance, and increasing debts, you may need help. Recently on our bankruptcy forum a debtor wrote, “I was widowed eight years ago after my husband died suddenly of an aneurysm. He did not have an insurance policy. We never had much credit card debt but with the costs of living and my inability to find work I am facing a financial crisis after his death. What can I do?”
Although politicians may claim the great recession is over, there are still millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills, including credit card debts. Recently on our forum a debtor asked, “I received a summons and complaint from my credit card company, and they said they have filed a lawsuit against me. Is this legal and what are my options?”
Most bankruptcy filers will receive a Chapter 7 discharge within three or four months from the date they submit their bankruptcy petition, but this may not mean your case is over. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not end until the court issues a Final Decree. Recently on our bankruptcy forum a debtor asked, “I have received my bankruptcy discharge. Does this mean it is done or do I have continuing responsibilities?”
Recently on our bankruptcy blog a user asked, “If I have initiated a home foreclosure do I need to leave right away or can I stay a few months?” Although home foreclosures have been in decline from their highs a few years ago, some home owners are still facing a financial crisis and have been unable to meet their mortgage obligations. So what do you do if you have missed a few payments? Should you leave right away or is it better to stay put until you are forced to leave?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is awarded to claimants who have a severe medical health condition which is so severe it does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. Recently on our bankruptcy forum a user asked, “I have received SSDI benefits for about 10 years. Recently the SSA determined I was no longer disabled but did not stop my disability benefits for several months. Now they are telling me I owe them $10,000. Can I discharge this debt if I file for bankruptcy?”
Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow bankruptcy filers to discharge certain unsecured debts, it does not discharge secured assets such as a house or car. Secured debt, such as a car loan, is by definition collateralized by the asset. So in this case the creditor does not have to simply write off the car loan. Instead they have the option to repossess the property to satisfy the terms of the car loan agreement.
If you have a home mortgage, you and your bank own your home. If you fail to meet the contractual requirements of the loan the bank has the legal right to repossess the home, a process called foreclosure, and potentially charge you for legal fees, home foreclosure fees, and a deficiency judgment. So whether you have lost your job, your adjustable rate mortgage has readjusted to a higher rate, or you have become seriously injured, if you are facing home foreclosure, you need a help.
Close to one million people file bankruptcy last year. Although this number was substantially lower than the number a few years ago, it is clear that the U.S. economy has not improved for everyone. Although filing bankruptcy still has a negative connotation for some, many people who have struggled with unemployment, high medical bills, foreclosures, lawsuits, or delinquent debt may not have another option and may be considering whether or not it is right for them.