What Chapter to file? 25 Answers as of July 30, 2011

I have two cars and a mortgage that is two months behind. My wife was laid off in Feb from her paralegal job. One car is paid off in 2014 and the other next year. I have credit card and signature loan debts. What would an attorney recommend we have over $60,000.00 in debt.

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Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
No answer. You have not disclosed the value of your house and the amount of the loan, and if you want to keep your home. Full disclosure is necessary in order to get good advice. Seek a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney so you can share ALL of your financial situation.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/29/2011
Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
It depends on how much your total gross income is for both of you, if you're able to bring your loan current or not (and a bigger question of whether or not the mortgage is still affordable to you given your current situation) and determining any other assets or secured debts you have. If your income is low enough, you may be able to qualify for a chapter 7 discharge, but that would not resolve your mortgage situation, as ch. 7 will not help you with past due mortgage payments. So, if you could file for ch. 7, you would have to make other arrangements for your mortgage. If your mortgage is past due, and/or if your income is above the cut off or if you cannot pass the means test, then you would be in a ch. 13, which would include your past due mortgage payments with your unsecured debt into a repayment plan. As far as your cars go, you would have to see if there is any equity in them, and if that equity is exempt. I would probably recommend that you speak with an attorney who can help you with the filing because you do not appear to be a simple bankruptcy case and you want to ensure the process is completed properly.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/27/2011
Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
If you are eligible for a chapter 7 and if you can catch up the two months you are behind, then a Chapter 7 might be right for you. If there's no way you can catch up the arrears without having five years to do so, then a chapter 13 might be best. But there's too little information here to give you a definitive answer. You should meet with a bankruptcy attorney and review your entire situation.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 7/27/2011
Cartwright Law Firm
Cartwright Law Firm | Andrea Cartwight
There are 2 main types of bankruptcies for a consumer like yourself: Chapter 7 & 13. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, some of your property may be sold to pay down your debt. In return, most or all of your eliminated. However, most people get to keep all of their property like house, car, household furnishings and clothing. Though bankruptcy can eliminate many kinds of debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills, secured and unsecured loans, there are many types of debts, including child support and spousal support obligations and most tax debts, that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy. However, not everyone can qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is sufficient to fund a Chapter 13 repayment plan then you won't be allowed to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, you keep all of your property, but must make monthly payments over three to five years to repay all or some of your debt. A Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize to pay back your creditors like a car or house to prevent repossession or foreclosure or if you make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/27/2011
Colorado Legal Solutions
Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
Whether a Chapter 7 filing is even an option will depend on your household income. If you have the choice between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the decision will likely depend on how much your cars are worth and whether you can catch up your mortgage on your own or if you need the help of the bankruptcy court. If you need the court's help, then Chapter 13 is your best choice. You have not provided the right information to determine the best option. You should speak to an attorney who can explore your information in full and give you proper advice.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/27/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You sound like a chapter 7. It is not the end of the world...
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    The answer to your question depends on your income and the size of your family, so I cannot respond directly. You need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine what your actual options are.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Assuming you qualify, I would recommend a ch 7. This would not rectify the arrears on your home. At some point you would have to get current on the home loan or you could lose it. The Ch 7 will not have any effect on your home and you may have to look into a chapter 13.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    One of the best and most common use of chapter 13 is to pay home arrears. Other debts, such as car loans, can be included. Credit card debts can be paid a percentage of what is owed, the amount of which depends on your ability to pay. The unpaid amounts are discharged upon completion of the plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    That will depend on such things as your income, if you want to catch up the payments on the house through bankruptcy, the equity or lack of equity in the car. Bankruptcy is not a "cookie cutter" process. You should meet with an attorney to see what your particular situation is, what you would like to achieve, and then with the facts of your particular case, can give you the options. If you are trying to do it yourself and just fishing for an answer which Chapter to file, that is already is a red flag that you may not do it correctly and should use an attorney to make sure you do not lose any assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    You would most likely file a Chapter 13, unless you could get caught up on your mortgage payments.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    Usually you file Chapter 13 to catch up with Mortgage payments but you need to see an Attorney to make sure you can afford a Chapter 13 Plan.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C.
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
    Asset planning and chapter determination is based on the individual debtors' situation. All situations are different. What works for one may not work for another. Chapter selection is a function of income, non-exempt asset values, and client goals. Meet with a bankruptcy attorney to really hammer out the situation
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
    Assuming you have little or no equity in your home, a chapter 7 will most likely be your best bet.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC
    Florio Law Firm, PLLC | Amber Morgan Florio, Attorney at Law
    If you are behind on your mortgage, and you would like to keep your home, a Chapter 13 is the only way to keep your home. However, there are a number of factors that go into determining what Chapter is best for you. It would be wise to seek a FREE consultation to evaluate all of your options. Based on the limited information provided, I would think a Chapter 13 would be a better bet if you are not able to come current on your mortgage and wish to keep the home. Please note: in order for a Chapter 13 to be helpful, you must propose a plan of which the court approves. A Chapter 13 is a repayment plan, and as such will require you to show that you have the disposable income each month to make payments on the items you wish to keep. You stated that you have decreased income, and this would need to be evaluated to ascertain whether you have sufficient income to make a Chapter 13 plan work. If you do not, then a Chapter 7 would be in your best interest. Chapter 13: 3-5 year plan with trustee payments - can prevent your home from being foreclosed on, as it allows you to pay the months that you are behind on the mortgage through the bankruptcy. Chapter 7: 3 months, no plan payments - however it is a complete discharge, and will not keep a home from being foreclosed. Therefore, you would have to be current on your mortgage to file a Chapter 7 if you wish to keep the house. It would discharge all other unsecured debt, and any secured debt you wish to surrender.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    That's really not enough information. We'd want to know whether you want to keep your house, whether it's financially worth keeping, whether you could pay the arrears in a Ch. 13, what your total family income is, etc. You really need to lay it all out for an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You need to know what your income is and who is responsible for the debt before you can see what you are eligible for. In addition, when multiple choices are available, there is more information that is necessary to see what will work best for you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Since no one here has seen your family expenses, other assets, past transactions, etc. there is no way to answer without seeing those numbers. Many people think they get to choose between chapters in bankruptcy. Rarely is that true. The numbers that will make a 13 work usually mean a 7 will not, and vice versa. Regardless, an attorney will be best equipped to protect as many assets as possible, and have you spend as little as possible, so don't cost yourself money and assets by not using a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    You have to talk to a bankruptcy attorney
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    If no income, go Ch 7. If income sufficient to pay house and basic living needs, consider 13, especially if there is a 2nd mortgage that's completely under water.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Hard to know with the facts that you have given (still need more) but I'm guessing that without her income, you are breaking even or upside down each month with regard to just the living expenses. If that is the case, and if the house does not have equity above what you're entitled to keep, you're probably looking at a Chapter 7, which is a straight liquidation. Chapter 13 is a repayment plan, and even if it's a partial repayment plan, you would need some surplus income, and with your wife out of work, that seems unlikely, but again, I need more facts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Bobby Yaghoubian
    Law Office of Bobby Yaghoubian | Bobby Yaghoubian
    What chapter of the bankruptcy code to file really depends on several factors: your household income, debt, assets, and whether you would benefit from a repayment plan and lien stripping. Your household income is compared to the average income. If it is below the average, you may qualify for a chapter 7. Of course, more information is needed from you. With a bit more information, we would be able to better assess your situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
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