If you file for bankruptcy, do you still have to pay your debts and how long does it affect credit and has it changed in the past 5 years? 22 Answers as of October 16, 2012

My fiance is considering filing chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, but has been ill-advised by his family and coworkers. Upon my research I have found that even filing bankruptcy, debts still must be paid, correct? Also, it will stay on his credit for the next 7-10 years. His mother's boyfriend filed and said that he didn't have to pay any of his debts when he filed and his credit is great after 3 years, the research I have done does not support that at all. So that makes me wonder has it changed in the last 5 years? I can continue doing research and talking to him until I'm blue in the face, but that won't change a thing. Could you possibly provide me with some straight-forward answers to the questions above regarding this subject? Other questions as well, such as how will this affect his life, and mine after we get married? What steps need to be taken to file bankruptcy? Any information that you think someone should know before filing would be helpful. Also if you know websites aside from uscourts.gov to get more information, I would appreciate it.

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LAW OFFICES OF MANUEL A JUAREZ | MANUEL A. JUAREZ
If your fiance qualifies for Chapter 7, he does not have to pay his unsecured creditors )i, credit cards). However, spouse ans child support, taxes and college loans are not dischargeable. If he files Chapter 13, he gets to keep his house, assets and if there is disposable income left after his monthly living expenses, then he enters into a plan in which he has to pay the unsecured creditors for 3 or 5 years. If he completes the plan without missing one payment, then he will get a discharge. Hope this clarifies your inquiry.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/16/2012
Law Office of Norman Moore
Law Office of Norman Moore | Norman P Moore Jr
Well, to start off I am afraid to tell you that your sources are suspect. When you file a bankruptcy, the whole point is to get a "fresh start." If you still had to pay your debts once you had your discharge, that would not be much of a "fresh start", would it? There are certain debts which are not discharged by bankruptcy. your boyfriend will want to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to see if any of his debts fall into these categories. Perhaps this is what you are thinking of? Bankruptcy does stay on his credit report for 10 years, but if he needs to file, his credit is probably already bad. Bad credit card debt stays on for 8 years after the last activity. So potentially, it could stay on forever if he doesn't do something. Your credit starts to get better as time goes by. There was a major overhaul of the Code in 2005, but nothing in that would have caused the changes you see. I would not recommend any site other than the one you mentioned. Getting the information straight from the horses mouth is always best.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 10/16/2012
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
The mother's boyfriend is correct.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 10/16/2012
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
Most of your research is absolutely incorrect. And since what happens in a case hinges on specific numbers, the one way to get accurate answers is for your fiance to sit down with a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/16/2012
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
Please call an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 10/15/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    If you file a chapter 7 successfully, then you do not pay any of your debts. In a chapter 13, it is a repayment plan of some or all of your debt. The bankruptcy is on your credit for 10 years, but your credit should be good within 12 months if you prepare properly. Under current mortgage guidelines, he can get a mortgage within 2 years or so after your bankruptcy discharge. You should just sit with a local attorney to get the information relative to your case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    What if anything gets paid deepens on a number of factors. You need to see a lawyer to determine this. You will not be able to figure this out from the net, there are too many variables. Many people do quite well after bankruptcy, some not so much. Depends on income and post bankruptcy payment history ( on things like cars and homes).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    Your research is not accurate. If someone qualifies to file bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will eliminate most debt including credit cards, personal loans, medical debts & even court judgments. If someone does qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy because they can afford to pay some, but not all of their debts, then they can pay what the court feels that they can afford over a 3 - 5 year period of time. I would suggest that your fiance participate in online credit counseling to see if he qualifies for the Chapter 7 program. Although bankruptcy does remain as a notation on a credit report for 10 years, lenders make the decision to lend money based on the FICO score and seldom read a credit report to look at notations. With appropriate effort, the damage from a bankruptcy filing and the prior bad credit can be cleaned up in as little as 2 years. It is not paying debt on time month after month that causes most people to have bad credit.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    LAW OFFICE OF MARGARET L. EVANS, PC
    LAW OFFICE OF MARGARET L. EVANS, PC | Margaret L. Evans
    He must first decide if he CAN file a Chapter 7,* *or he doesn't qualify for a Chapter 7 (determined by the MEANS TEST), then maybe he could file a Chapter 13, PROVIDED he had enough disposable monthly income as determined by Schedules I & J, to support a confirmable plan. Bankruptcy law was massively reformed in 2005. It is now harder to qualify for a Chapter 7 than it was before 2005. A chapter 7 can stay on his credit report for a period of 10 years after the date of discharge. It does negatively impact his future credit rating, but if he can't possibly repay all of his debts now within a 3-5 year period, why not get the "fresh start" and let his credit start to come back better, stronger and faster than it otherwise would? He should really consult a BKY lawyer to have this discussion as each person's situation is vastly different.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You should really seek the advice of an attorney. There are different chapters you can file. In some chapters you make a payment, and in other chapters you don't.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    I strongly encourage your fiance to meet with an attorney who could explain the process and ramifications of filing a bankruptcy. Depending upon what type of debts he holds, they may be required to be paid. For example, student loans, support obligations, secured debt (if you plan on keeping the asset securing it) must all be paid. If he files a 7, any prepetition debt such as credit cards, medical debt, repossession or deficiency judgments he does not have to pay. If he files a 13, he makes a monthly payment to the trustee who then disburses the monthly payment to his creditors who filed claims in his case, pro rata, for 3-5 years, after which he will receive a discharge of the balance owing.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Law Offices of J. L. Haddock, PLLC
    Law Offices of J. L. Haddock, PLLC | Jared L. Haddock
    It sounds like you have been doing a little too much research online, as it is. There is a lot of incorrect information and pure myths out there, so be careful. The best way to get good and accurate information that will actually apply in a particular case (rather than non-specific and possibly non-applicable speculation) is to actually consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Bruning & Associates, PC
    Bruning & Associates, PC | Kevin Bruning
    If you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and successfully obtain a discharge, meaning that your case doesn't get dismissed or a creditor or trustee doesn't successfully object, then after obtaining the discharge, you no longer have personal liability for the debts you included on your bankruptcy petition (which, if done correctly, needs to contain all of your debts). This means that you no longer have to make payments on those debts. Certain debts, however, you may want to keep paying, and might reaffirm - these include car loans and mortgages, because if you stop paying them, then the creditor can repossess the car or foreclose on the house. You should check your local laws to see if it is a good idea to reaffirm a mortgage in your jurisdiction. If you have assets above your state's exemptions, then some of them may be liquidated to pay a portion of the debts before you get your discharge - however, anything unpaid after the liquidation is discharged. If your assets are below the exemption level, then you can get a discharge without paying anything other than the filing fee and any attorney's fees for your bankruptcy. If you file a chapter 13, you will make payments on your debts for 3 to 5 years before you obtain a discharge of any remaining balance at the end of that time. A chapter 13 is more complicated, however. In either case, you should discuss this with an attorney before proceeding. Bankruptcy can make a lot of sense for people who have too much debt that they cannot pay off, and can improve someone's credit if it is very bad before filing.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
    Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
    Your questions are very complicated and change depending on the chapter type, etc. Please understand that filing for bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step. Most Arizona bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation about the basics of bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Whether a debtor is required to pay their debts in bankruptcy depends on the type of bankruptcy the debtor files. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debts are not paid and instead are discharged in about 90 days following the filing of the petition. If the debtor files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, some or all of the debts are paid back over a 36 or 60 month period, depending on the debtor's "disposable income". Whether a debtor qualifies for a 7 or a 13 depends, again, on the debtor's "disposable income" based on the outcome of the required Means Test. I suggest your fiance contact a local bankruptcy attorney to discuss his options and answer any questions he has on the subject.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    In a chapter 7 bankruptcy you usually do not have to pay your debts after filing, except for any debts secured by assets you want to keep. Also, some debts, such as child support and student loans do not get discharged.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Bordeaux Law, P.C.
    Bordeaux Law, P.C. | Clifford Bordeaux
    I suggest you schedule to meet with a bankruptcy attorney to ask questions and get information about your specific situation. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations with no obligation to file a bankruptcy case. Whether you are able to discharge debts depends on the type of bankruptcy and the type of debt. If you file Chapter 7 and get a discharge, then credit cards and medical bills and most other types of unsecured debt are typically discharged. Student loans and taxes are typically not discharged. But there are a lot of limitations and exceptions. In Chapter 13, typically some percentage of the debt is repaid but in some cases, all of the debt must be repaid in Chapter 13, it depends very much upon the individual circumstances of the debtor. There is no "one size fits all" answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You can download the pamphlet I have written from my website. Most of what you have said is inaccurate. In a Chapter 7, all dischargeable debt is discharged. Credit after bankruptcy depends upon the lending practices of the banks you apply for credit with. Bankruptcy does not carry the social stigma that it once did. Not much has changed in the last five years.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Clayton Law Offices | Rose Clayton
    The bankruptcy laws changed back in 2005 making it harder for high income earners to file for bankruptcy. If you are a high income earner, than you have to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy and repay a portion of your debts through a court ordered plan. However, many clients that I see are not considered high income earners and they are able to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy (you don't pay back any of the debt) and rebuild their credit right away. After a chapter 7, it will take about two years to get your credit back to good. If you wanted to, you are able to purchase a home two years after a bankruptcy (assuming you have put in the work rebuilding your credit. Before you get married, his filing won't have any impact on you. After marriage, if he tried to file, your income would be considered. As for how it will affect his life, it will most likely improve it. If he is struggling with debt he cannot afford, it will just hang over his head (eventually the creditors may sue him) and be added stress that no one wants to have to deal with. The first step (after your research) is to talk to a good bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is something you don't want to do on your own. There are many things that are assets for bankruptcy purposes that one wouldn't think of as assets and could cause serious problems.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A.
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A. | Jane Downey
    The best thing to do is for him to consult a certified specialist. He may not have to pay back all his debts. It can stay on the credit report for a long time, but that doesn't mean he won't get credit for that long.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    William Bidwell, Attorney at Law | Bill Bidwell
    The appropriateness of Chapter 7, 13, or some other option is case and fact specific. There is generally a 2 year wait period to qualify for a mortgage. You should contact an attorney for an initial, no-charge consultation for all of your questions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/15/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    His determination of a 7 or a 13 will depend on his income and that of his household. If a 7, then debts not paid back. If a 13, then partial payment. Yes, it will be on his credit for 7-10 years but in today's economy, and if his credit is already bad, then bankruptcy usually helps. In order to file, he will need to take credit counseling. Each attorney has his or her favorite agency to be used. The price for that is between 35 and 50 dollars. He will need to gather his last three years of tax returns, last 6 months of pay stubs, and all his bills, his drivers license and SS card. After that, get into an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/15/2012
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