Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer
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When you find yourself overwhelmed by your financial situation, it may be time to consider declaring bankruptcy. Recent changes to the bankruptcy laws, which were enacted by Congress in 2005, have made it more difficult to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and to receive a complete discharge of debt. Many consumers are instead now forced into Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and will therefore face three to five years of payments to their creditors. These new changes also make it virtually impossible to go at it alone. You need the services of an experienced bankruptcy attorney to navigate this complex system.
Bankruptcy is a legally declared inability, or impairment of ability, of an individual or organization to pay its creditors. Creditors may file a bankruptcy petition against a debtor, in an effort to recoup a portion of what they are owed or initiate a restructuring. In the majority of cases, however, bankruptcy is initiated by the debtor.
Your attorney can evaluate your financial picture and offer the best options for you. You may be required to attend credit counseling before filing. You may be required to complete credit counseling or a financial skills course before your bankruptcy can be discharged. The court will now decide, based on your financial situation, if you can file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Your financial situation will be reviewed to determine if your income and expenses allow you to repay some debt over a three- to five-year repayment program.
Federal bankruptcy laws provide for a means test, which is an evaluation of your finances in order to determine whether you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is below the median income for families in Texas, based on Census Bureau statistics, you will be eligible. If you make more than the median income for families in Texas, your income over the past six months is considered, along with mortgage and car payments, back taxes and child support due, and school expenses up to $1,650 per year.
You will not be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if, after deducting these amounts, and the living expenses provided in the Internal Revenue Service\'s national collection standards, you can still pay at least $6,000 ($100/month) to unsecured creditors over a period of three to five years. If you don\'t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your only option would be a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you are unable to pay approximately $100.00 a month over a three- to five-year span, you will be allowed to file Chapter 7. When your attorney files your bankruptcy claim at the Texas District Bankruptcy Court, your filing fee will be $274.00. You can petition the court to pay that fee in installments, but it cannot be waived. Your case will then be assigned to a trustee, who will decide if you have assets that can be liquidated to pay a portion of what you owe to creditors. There are many assets that are exempt from liquidation under Texas law. You can also opt to follow the federal standards for exempt assets, instead of following the Texas statutes. These assets may include cars, a house, personal items, livestock, pensions, insurance policies, future wages, public benefits or equipment necessary to your livelihood.
Contacting a Texas bankruptcy attorney lawyer ensures that you are taking the best path for your situation. There are other types of bankruptcy for family farmers, businesses and people with very large debt. You cannot protect co-signers or discharge most school loans, alimony or child support, among other debts. Yet for some people, and in certain circumstances, bankruptcy can be the fresh start you need to have a successful future.
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