Bankruptcy Attorney in Maryland
Get fast and efficient debt relief from a highly qualified attorney familiar with the Maryland bankruptcy laws. Don't wait any longer to get the fresh start you deserve. Take our free, confidential legal evaluation and a lawyer from a well established and well respected Maryland law firm will contact you. We can help you decide if filing Chapter 7, Chapter 13 or a Bankruptcy Alternative in Maryland is the best financial solution for you.
Don't wait to get debt relief in Maryland, filing bankruptcy with an experienced lawyer may be the only option to wipe your financial slate clean.
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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Maryland
Due to the changes in bankruptcy law that took effect in October 2005, many individuals will not be able to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Many other people will not want to liquidate their property and assets. Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Maryland may be another option. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will not allow you to immediately discharge your personal debt, but will allow you to maintain your property and restructure your debt obligations under a three to five year debt repayment plan.
To file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you can contact a Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney who will review your financial situation. A Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer will also file the bankruptcy petition, the schedules and help you complete your bankruptcy repayment plan. One of the benefits of filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is it will stop repossessions, wage garnishments and home foreclosures. A trustee will be assigned by the bankruptcy court to repay your creditors according to your bankruptcy repayment plan.
Certain assets will be protected from the bankruptcy process and will not be sold to repay your creditors. Property and assets that are protected all called exemptions. Exemptions are outlined under federal bankruptcy law and are created to allow you to have enough property and assets to start over after bankruptcy. Certain states have created their own list of bankruptcy exemptions and depending on where you live, you may have a choice between the federal exemptions or the state exemptions.
Certain other states will only allow you to use their state bankruptcy exemption list. In the state of Maryland, you are not allowed to use the federal exemptions and may only use the State of Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland
Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy. A trustee is assigned to your chapter 7 bankruptcy case to sell your non-exempt assets and use the proceeds from the sale to repay your creditors. Your creditors will be paid according to their priority outlined by federal bankruptcy law. Chapter 7 is considered the easiest, cheapest and least expensive type of bankruptcy. Individuals, partnerships, corporations, and married couples all may qualify to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
The first step in filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland is to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy attorney can review your income and determine if you qualify to file Chapter 7. If you do, they will file all the necessary bankruptcy forms in the appropriate Maryland bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy forms will include the bankruptcy petition and a statement of financial affairs. The statement of financial affairs will list the types of debt you have, your creditors, your property and all of your expenses and income.
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will temporarily halt debt collection efforts under an "automatic stay". Debt collection efforts may continue if a bankruptcy judge determines there is cause. Filing bankruptcy may discharge unsecured debt such as hospital bills, unsecured personal loans and credit card debt. Certain types of debt will not be discharged. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will take from four to six months to discharge all qualifying debt.
In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Act (BAPCPA), made it more difficult for individuals to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The goal of the BAPCPA was to require more people to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and pay all or a portion of their debt under a bankruptcy repayment plan. The BAPCA also added several additional requirements when filing Chapter 7. Individuals must now take a certified credit counseling course prior to filing bankruptcy, a financial management course prior to the discharge of their debt and pass an income test.
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The Means Test and Maryland Bankruptcy
The income test reviews your median income over the last six months and compares it to other Maryland families of equal size. If you median income is less than other Maryland families, you may file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If your income is more than other Maryland families, you will have to pass more "means testing".
The goal of means testing is to determine if you have enough disposable income to repay your unsecured debt. To determine this, you will take your net income and subtract pre-determined expenses including your mortgage payment, automobile payment, school tuition (up to $1650), taxes owed and child support. If after this calculation is made you can pay $6,000 ($100 per month) in debt repayment over the next 60 months, you may not be able to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If you fail this test, but you could pay 25% of you disposable income in debt repayment, you may not be able to file a Maryland Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Means testing can be complicated and the information provided above is very general. It is a good idea to discuss your income and expenses with a qualified Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney who can help you determine if you can qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Maryland's median income is published by the United States Trustee program in the State Median Income List. For the state of Maryland, after March 15, 2009, the average median income for a single wage earner is $55,543. For a family of two it is $73,947 and for a family of three it is $84,952. For a family of four it is $103,719.
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Need Help Filing a Maryland Bankruptcy?
If you live in Maryland and you're considering bankruptcy, please complete the form below. A local Maryland Bankruptcy attorney will contact you and answer your questions for free. Don't wait -- Get Help Today!