WHAT ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS SHOULD I CONSIDER BEFORE PURSUING BANKRUPTCY?

Before pursuing bankruptcy, you should discuss your case with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Depending on your situation, bankruptcy may not be your best or only option.

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ARE THERE EXEMPTIONS IN BANKRUPTCY?

In most bankruptcy cases, real property and personal property have exemptions that cap out at specific dollar amounts depending on whether you're single or married.

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HOW DOES STATE COURT COLLECTIONS WORK?

In order to get paid, creditors and bill collectors might enlist the help of a collections agency or an attorney. There are three potential ways you could respond to a creditor complaint.

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WHAT IS AN UNSECURED DEBT AND WHAT HAPPENS TO IT IN A CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?

Unsecured debts are stand-alone bills that aren't tied to any property. If you're eligible, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get those unsecured debts forgiven or "discharged."

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HOW ARE DEBTS COLLECTED IN STATE COURT?

Once a judge declares the official amount of money you owe to a creditor, that creditor can take extreme measures to collect. Among these measures are wage garnishment, property liens, and levies.

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WHAT IS THE END GOAL OF BANKRUPTCY?

I like to define the end goal of bankruptcy as eliminating financial risk. My job is to help you identify potential risks like liens and wage garnishments and guide you to resolve them.

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I FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY BUT MY CREDITORS ARE STILL TRYING TO COLLECT. WHAT CAN I DO?

Once you've filed for bankruptcy, creditors and bill collectors should leave you alone. If they don't, start by making sure they know you filed. If they persist, get your bankruptcy lawyer involved.

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WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CREDITORS AND BILL COLLECTORS ONCE I FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?

After you file for bankruptcy, the court will stamp your case with the words "relief ordered" and "stay in effect" — both of which tell creditors they need to stop contacting you.

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WHAT HAPPENS TO MY HOUSE OR CAR IF I FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a great option for people who are afraid they'll lose their car or home because it allows them to make controlled payments while keeping their property.

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WHAT KINDS OF DEBTS ARE NOT TYPICALLY DISCHARGED IN BANKRUPTCY?

In most cases, you cannot use the bankruptcy process to eliminate unpaid taxes, student loans, or debts you've incurred from illegal activity. Some exceptions do apply.

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HOW LONG DOES MY BANKRUPTCY APPEAR ON MY CREDIT REPORT?

Bankruptcy appears on a credit score for 10 years following the completion of the bankruptcy process. It's important to be strategic when it comes to choosing when and how you file.

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HOW LONG DOES THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS TAKE?

Chapter 7 bankruptcies generally take about 4 months, whereas Chapter 13 bankruptcies take 3 to 5 years. Which one you choose will depend on your unique circumstances and goals.

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REAFFIRM A DEBT?

Reaffirming a debt is the legal equivalent of taking responsibility for a piece of property that you owe money on but don't want to lose while going through the bankruptcy process.

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DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?

Alabama courts won't turn you away if you try to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. However, they will warn you heavily that it's extremely risky to proceed without one.

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WHY WOULD SOMEONE FILE CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?

Generally speaking, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to repay your debts through a realistic, customized payment plan while holding on to your home and other property. This appeals to many debtors.

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WHAT STEPS DO I TAKE TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?

Filing for bankruptcy requires you to fill out some paperwork with as much detailed, accurate information as possible. The courts also expect to see that information formatted and presented according to their standards.

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MY WAGES ARE BEING GARNISHED BY A CREDITOR. CAN BANKRUPTCY HELP THAT?

Absolutely! Once you've filed for bankruptcy, you are protected on a federal level from creditor harassment and wage garnishment. If the creditor persists, you can even take steps to stop them.

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WHAT ARE “SECURED DEBTS”?

Secured debts are those tied to property that you're making payments on. Vehicles, houses, and furniture are all examples of secured debts because creditors can take them back if you don't keep up on payments.

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WHAT IS A “PLAN OF REORGANIZATION”?

The term "plan of reorganization" refers to rearranging your finances in such a way that you can discharge (that is, eliminate) your debt in the long term.

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WHAT IS AN “AUTOMATIC STAY”?

An automatic stay is a legally binding order for creditors and bill collectors to stop trying to contact you. This order comes into effect automatically once you begin the bankruptcy process.

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WHAT IS THE “BANKRUPTCY CODE”?

The bankruptcy code is the book that lays out the various chapters of bankruptcy. At Jeffrey B. Irby, P.C., we focus specifically on Chapters 7 and 13 because they help everyday individuals and families in debt.

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WHAT WILL I NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO REBUILD MY CREDIT FOLLOWING A BANKRUPTCY?

Rebuilding your credit is a multi-layered process that starts with educating yourself on how credit works. Fortunately, we offer our clients a credit rebuilding class free of charge to help them succeed in this goal.

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WILL I HAVE TO SELL OFF MY BELONGINGS TO PAY BACK MY DEBTS IN CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?

If you're filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then liquidation will almost certainly be a vital part of the debt elimination process. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you decide if this option is right for you.

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