North Dakota Bankruptcy Lawyer

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If you are struggling to pay your debts and regain your financial freedom, filing for bankruptcy might be a viable option for you. With the right preparation, professional skills and experience, you'll be able to improve your situation and get back on your feet, so that you can eventually rebuild your credit. Your first step is to contact a qualified North Dakota bankruptcy attorney.

Bankruptcy is a legally declared inability or impairment of ability of an individual or organization to pay its creditors. In the proper circumstances, and for certain people, bankruptcy may be a way for individuals to either discharge their debts, or reduce them to a more manageable level. Bankruptcy may not be easy, but hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make the process easier and less stressful. An attorney can help you navigate the recent changes to bankruptcy legislation, enacted in 2005 and intended to ease the overloaded bankruptcy courts and to prevent repeat filers under the Chapter 7 bankruptcy plan.

Additionally, it's harder than it used to be to discharge your debt under this form of bankruptcy. Fewer people qualify than before. In order to determine your eligibility, you must lay out your financial situation for the court to evaluate. This is known as a means test. In the state of North Dakota, if your income falls under the state median income level as determined by the United States Census Bureau, you will automatically qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income falls above the median level, other factors will help determine whether or not you will qualify. If you do not, you will necessarily have to file instead under Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In North Dakota, for cases filed after March 15, 2009, the median income for a single wage earner is $38,226; for a family of two, it is $53,389; for three, $67,644; and for four, $71,751. Add $6,900 for each individual in excess of four.

Chapter 7, which is also known as the liquidation plan, is a total liquidation of all nonexempt assets. Such assets may include a homestead or mobile home worth up to $80,000; a motor vehicle valued under $1,200; livestock and farm implements to $4,500; provisions and fuel for one year; all clothing, family pictures, and other personal property. A court-appointed trustee will take charge of the remainder of your assets and sell them in order to pay back your creditors, and additional debts will be discharged.

Chapter 13, in contrast, will allow the debtor not only to repay a portion of his or debts, but also to retain some of his or her assets, including a home or a car. Often called the 'wage earner's plan,' Chapter 13 reorganizes debts and allows the debtor to become current on mortgage payments or automobile titles. While some debt may be forgiven under this form of bankruptcy, the debtor must commit to repaying a portion thereof. Over the period of three to five years, depending on one's particular economic circumstances, the debtor will turn over payments to a court-appointed trustee, who will then make payments to creditors.

A bankruptcy lawyer will analyze your financial situation, review the applicable statutes, and analyze the results of your means test in order to formulate a solution to your financial struggles. He or she will also complete the necessary paperwork and represent you in bankruptcy court.

To file for bankruptcy is never an easy decision. Usually, it's a last resort for the debtor, who may have struggled for years to pay down debt. Any qualified North Dakota bankruptcy lawyer will also be able to advise you on alternatives to bankruptcy, since they will be well-versed in other forms of debt management. If bankruptcy does happen to be a good option for you, however, you'll want the experience and expertise of a bankruptcy lawyer working for your best interests.


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