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Jonathan Petts

Jonathan Petts

Bankruptcy Attorney

Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and CEO of Upsolve. Attorney Petts has an LLM in Bankruptcy from St. John's University, clerked for two federal bankruptcy judges, and worked at two top New York City law firms specializing in bankruptcy.


All ArticlesAfter BankruptcyBankruptcy BasicsBefore FilingCarsChapter 11Chapter 13Chapter 7Consumer RightsCourtCredit Card DebtCreditors MeetingDebtsDeciding To FileDuring Bankruptcy CaseHow To FileMeans TestNon BankruptcyNondischargeable DebtsProperty ExemptionsStudent LoansTaxesUpsolveWage Garnishment

Articles written by Jonathan Petts

Can I File for Bankruptcy Online?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated May 21, 2024

Most bankruptcy courts don’t allow individuals who are filing bankruptcy without an attorney to file their bankruptcy forms online. However, filing your bankruptcy case with the court is only one of 10 steps to filing bankruptcy. Many of the other steps can be done online, like accessing the required bankruptcy forms, taking the two required credit counseling and financial education courses, and attending your 341 meeting of creditors (usually).

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Should I File For Bankruptcy or Try Debt Relief?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 21, 2024

When you’re trying to figure out the best debt relief option, first consider how much debt you have, whether you want to call in outside help or support, how quickly you’re hoping to repay the debt, and how important your credit score is to you right now. You have several debt-relief strategies available to you, and each has its pros and cons.

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Should I File For Bankruptcy or Try Debt Relief?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 21, 2024

When you’re trying to figure out the best debt relief option, first consider how much debt you have, whether you want to call in outside help or support, how quickly you’re hoping to repay the debt, and how important your credit score is to you right now. You have several debt-relief strategies available to you, and each has its pros and cons.

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What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy & When Should I File?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law GradLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated May 21, 2024

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a common legal process to clear your debt, but it’s not right for everyone. One good question to ask yourself if you’re considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Do I have more debt than I’ll ever be able to pay back, given my current income and property? If the answer is "yes," then Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the right option.

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How Do You Answer a Summons for Debt Without an Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2024

If you receive a summons and complaint from a debt collector or creditor, it means you’re being sued for unpaid debt. It’s important to respond to (or answer) the lawsuit. You do this by filing official paperwork with the court. Be sure to address every point in the complaint, raise any defenses you have, and file the paperwork within the time frame provided. Debt collectors are counting on you not to answer the lawsuit so that they can win by default. Don’t be intimidated! Take control and learn how to file an answer by reading this guide. You do not need an attorney to answer a debt collection lawsuit successfully.

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How To Find Out Which Collection Agency You Owe

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2024

If you have a debt that gets sent to collections, you may be confused about who you owe. To find out which collection agency you owe, you can contact the original creditor or check your credit report. If a collection agency has been in contact with you, ask them to verify the debt. Compare this information with the information on your credit report and your personal financial records so you don’t pay more than you owe or get scammed.

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What Does It Mean To Be Judgment Proof?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2024

Being judgment proof means that you do not have anything for a creditor to collect if they sue you and win. As you can imagine, this means that they are not likely to sue you. It does not mean that they can't sue you, just that they probably won't be able to collect if they do decide to take you to court.

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Debt Consolidation – 5 Things You Should Know

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

Debt consolidation does not erase debt, but it can be helpful in reducing your interest rate on debt you owe.

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Debt Consolidation – 5 Things You Should Know

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 19, 2024

Debt consolidation does not erase debt, but it can be helpful in reducing your interest rate on debt you owe.

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How To Deal With Wakefield & Associates

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 17, 2024

Wakefield & Associates is a prolific debt collector in the United States that specializes in collecting medical debts. If Wakefield & Associates contacts you, the first thing you should do is validate the debt. This article explains the validation process and discusses your available options, like filing a dispute, negotiating a debt settlement, or ignoring the debt (which isn’t recommended).

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How To Deal With Penn Credit

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 4, 2024

Penn Credit is a third-party debt agency that collects on past-due bills from hospitals, governments, toll road operators, and utility companies. If Penn Credit contacts you to collect a debt, validate the debt before you pay anything. If the debt isn’t yours or the amount is incorrect, dispute it. If the debt is yours but you are unable to pay it, consider negotiating a settlement.

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How To Win Against Penn Credit

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 27, 2024

If Penn Credit reaches out to you, they may be looking to collect a debt they think you owe. Before paying anything, validate that the debt is legitimate and yours. If you agree that you owe the money, you can figure out how much of the debt you can pay and begin debt settlement negotiations to pay less than the full amount. If Penn Credit sues you, respond immediately by filing an answer form. Most importantly, try not to stress — you’ve got this!

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What Are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 27, 2024

The Chapter 7 income limits were added in 2005 when Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). Since Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn’t involve a repayment plan of any kind, Congress worried about an abuse of the bankruptcy process by filers who could afford to pay their debts. To prevent this, Congress added a credit counseling requirement for anyone filing any type of bankruptcy and set income limits for Chapter 7 relief. The bankruptcy means test calculation determines whether someone can afford to pay a portion of their consumer debts as part of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which requires a 3–5 year repayment plan.

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What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 27, 2024

Filing for bankruptcy relief doesn't mean that you have to give up everything you own. Bankruptcy exemptions are laws that protect your property in a bankruptcy. The majority of Chapter 7 filers don't lose any of their property when they file bankruptcy. This article covers how exemptions protect your property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What Can You Keep?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 27, 2024

Exemptions are the laws that designate what property you can keep during and after your bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions allow most filers to protect all their property during their bankruptcy case. Property includes everything from you home and car to household goods and personal items.

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Your Guide to Oklahoma’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 25, 2024

If you live in Oklahoma, your best line of protection against unfair debt collectors is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is a federal consumer protection law. Oklahoma hasn’t passed any state-specific debt collection laws to protect its residents. The statute of limitations for written debt contracts — including medical debt and credit card debt — is four years in Oklahoma.

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Breaking Down the True Cost of College: The Harsh Reality of Student Loan Debt in 2023

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 25, 2024

As of 2023, the average amount of student loan debt for a borrower with a bachelor's degree is over $35,000, which has increased sixfold in the last two decades. About 93% of all student loan debt comes from federal student loans, while the rest is from private loans. Although federal student loans offer various repayment options, including income-driven repayment plans, forbearance, and deferment, many borrowers still fall behind on payments, leading to delinquency or default status. The student loan debt crisis has far-reaching implications, affecting not only individuals but also the U.S. economy.

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What Is Community Property?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 25, 2024

There are nine community property states. Alaska also allows married couples to opt into a community property arrangement. Community property states typically consider any property acquired during a marriage to be jointly owned by both spouses, regardless of who made the purchase or what the title says. This is important in bankruptcy because creditors may be able to access community property if one spouse files bankruptcy.

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How To Win Against Frost-Arnett Company

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 20, 2024

Frost-Arnett is a debt collection agency. If Frost-Arnett contacts you, they’re probably trying to collect a past-due medical debt on behalf of a healthcare company they bought the debt from. If the debt is legitimate, you likely have to pay or face serious consequences. But don’t fret! You may not have to pay the full amount. You can try to negotiate a debt settlement to pay a portion of the debt and settle the account for good. If Frost-Arnett repeatedly contacts you and you ignore them, they could file a lawsuit against you. Respond to the lawsuit right away by filing an answer form with your court.

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How To Win Against Aldous & Associates

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 14, 2024

Aldous & Associates is a third-party debt collector that collects consumer debts for telecommunication companies, property management firms, and health and fitness clubs. If they contact you, they are likely looking to settle a debt. Before you pay anything, it’s best to validate the debt. If the debt is legitimate but you can’t afford to pay it in full, you can try to negotiate the amount down. If Aldous & Associates sues you for unpaid debt, file an answer form as soon as possible to avoid wage garnishment or other serious consequences.

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How To Deal With 11 Charter Communications

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 27, 2024

11 Charter Communications is a legitimate debt collection agency. Its parent company is Charter Communications Inc., better known as Spectrum. If Charter Communications contacts you, you’ll first want to validate the debt. Once you verify that the debt is yours, you can choose how to deal with 11 Charter Communications. You can dispute the debt (if the information is incorrect or you disagree with the debt amount) or negotiate a settlement so you only pay a portion of the total amount.

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How To Deal With CBE Group

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 21, 2024

CBE Group LLC is a legitimate debt collection agency focusing on consumer debts. If CBE Group contacts you, you’ll first want to validate the alleged debt. After confirming the debt is yours, you can decide how to address matters with CBE Group LLC. Your main choices include disputing the debt (especially if you find inaccuracies or disagree with the specified amount) or negotiating to settle the debt. If you negotiate to settle the debt, you pay a reduced portion of the total amount owed.

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How To Deal With LVNV Funding

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 21, 2024

LVNV Funding is a third-party debt collection agency that collects on overdue consumer credit cards and loans. If they are contacting you, your first action should be to validate the debt. Make sure the details they have are accurate before disclosing any information or making payments. Since LVNV Funding purchases debts that have been charged off, they often have inaccurate information. If you do owe LVNV Funding, a great strategy is to negotiate a settlement. You will pay less than the original amount and have peace of mind knowing the debt is behind you.

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How To Deal With Resurgent Capital Services

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 20, 2024

Resurgent Capital Services is a legitimate debt collection agency that collects past-due credit card bills, medical bills, and other consumer debt. The first thing you should do if Resurgent contacts you is verify the amount of the alleged debt and that it actually belongs to you. After confirming the debt is yours, you can choose how to address the situation. If you disagree with any details of the debt, you can dispute it. If you agree that you owe it, you can pay it in full or try to negotiate a debt settlement to pay a reduced portion of the debt.

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How Can I Get Free Legal Aid Help To File Bankruptcy?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated February 10, 2024

Legal advice can be very helpful as you navigate the bankruptcy process, but not everyone can afford to hire an attorney to help them. That's where legal aid comes in. Legal aid organizations offer free or low-cost legal help to certain individuals. Eligibility is often based on income, but sometimes age, veteran status, or other factors come into play as well. This article will describe what legal aid is, how to find out if you qualify, and what it's like to work with a legal aid organization.

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How To Answer a Washington Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 22, 2024

If you’re sued for a debt in the state of Washington, it’s important to respond! And it might be easier than you think. Here are the basic steps: 1. Fill out an answer and appearance form. 2. Complete a certificate of service form. 3. File your forms with the court within 20 days of receiving the summons. 4. Deliver a copy of your answer form to the person suing you.

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How To Respond to a Missouri Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 22, 2024

If you get a summons and petition informing you that you’ve been sued for a debt in Missouri, you need to respond by following the court instructions on the summons form. This often means: 1. Drafting an answer form. 2. Addressing each of the debt collector’s claims against you. 3. Listing your defenses and affirmative defenses. 4. Filing your answer form with the court and serving a copy on the person suing you. You have 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Missouri, but if your hearing date is before 30 days from the date on the summons, you might need to respond before your hearing date.

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Your Guide to Alabama’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 10, 2024

If you live in Alabama, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is your strongest protection against bad behavior by third-party debt collectors. This law prohibits harassment, deception, and other unfair practices during the debt collection process. The statute of limitations for credit card and medical debt is three years in Alabama.

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How To Answer an Alabama Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 10, 2024

Answering a debt lawsuit is easier than you might think! You simply need to fill out an official court answer form, tell the court why you disagree with the lawsuit, and file the paperwork with the court. Then, you have to send a copy of your answer form to the person suing you. Finally, wait to get notice from the court about next steps. If you contest the lawsuit, the court will schedule a hearing date to hear both sides of the story.

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Your Guide to Washington’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 3, 2024

Washington has two state debt collection laws: the Washington Collection Agency Act (CAA) and the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Combined, these two laws provide important protections for state residents against original creditors, third-party debt collectors, and debt buyers. Washington residents get further protection from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The statute of limitations for credit card debt and medical bills in Washington state is six years.

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Your Guide to Arizona’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 19, 2023

In Arizona, most debt collectors must follow regulations set out in state and federal law. These laws were designed to increase transparency and fairness in the debt collection process. Arizona state law mirrors the many protections set out in the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits third-party debt collectors from harassing or deceiving you. If debt collectors violate the law, you can report them and sometimes even sue them for damages. The statute of limitations for credit card debt in Arizona is three years. It’s six years for medical debt.

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Your Guide to Missouri’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 16, 2023

Missouri residents are best protected against debt collector misconduct by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA protects consumers against debt collector harassment, deception, and other unfair practices. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for open accounts — which often includes credit card debt — is five years. The statute of limitations for debts backed by written contracts is 10 years. This often includes medical bills.

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How To Deal With the Stress of Bankruptcy

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 15, 2023

The stress leading up to bankruptcy can often be overwhelming and difficult to mange. Many people struggle with the emotional toll of being in a lot of debt. Luckily, you’re not alone and bankruptcy is a great way to get relief after difficult times.

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How Do You Cancel (Vacate) a Court Judgment?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 11, 2023

If a judge has issued a default judgment against you, you may be able to have it vacated (canceled) by filing a formal request with the court. This request is called a motion. To successfully have a default judgment vacated, you’ll need to have a good reason for not participating in the lawsuit that led to the default judgment. You should also have your defenses for the original lawsuit prepared. If the court approves the motion, it will review the original debt collection case.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Forms Explained

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 29, 2023

The Chapter 7 forms packet consists of a voluntary petition, schedules, and statements. The term “petition” is often used to describe the set of forms individuals filing for bankruptcy submit to the court. Here's a walk through of all of them.

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Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized Student Loans: What’s the Difference?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 24, 2023

There are two broad categories of federal student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized student loans are granted based on financial need. The main advantage of subsidized loans is that they don’t accrue interest while you’re in school or if you get approved for deferment after entering repayment. These loans are called subsidized because the federal government pays some of the interest on the loans. Unsubsidized loans aren’t based on financial need and do accrue interest while you’re in school or in a period of deferment or forbearance after you enter repayment. Because interest is treated differently on unsubsidized loans, they often end up costing more over the long run than subsidized loans. This is why many student loan experts recommend maxing out any subsidized loans you’re offered before getting unsubsidized loans.

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Navigating Financial Aid During and After Bankruptcy: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 22, 2023

Filing bankruptcy does not prevent you from getting federal student loans or other types of federal financial aid. So if you filed bankruptcy in the past or you’re currently in a bankruptcy case, you can still get federal student aid. Also, you can file bankruptcy on student loans, and the process for discharging federal student loan debt in bankruptcy got easier at the end of 2022.

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What Happens to My IRS Tax Debt if I File Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 9, 2023

The most common of all of debts owed to the IRS is unpaid income taxes, sometimes called back taxes. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option if your tax debt meets certain requirements.

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What Happens to My IRS Tax Debt if I File Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 9, 2023

The most common of all of debts owed to the IRS is unpaid income taxes, sometimes called back taxes. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option if your tax debt meets certain requirements.

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Does Bankruptcy Clear Judgments?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 8, 2023

When a creditor or debt collector gets a judgment against you, it's dischargeable as long as the original debt was dischargeable. The question becomes a bit more complicated if the creditor gets a judgment lien on your property. Here’s how it works.

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Will Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lower My Credit Score?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 1, 2023

Most people who have low credit scores and file for bankruptcy actually see their credit scores improve.

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Should I File for Bankruptcy for Credit Card Debt?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 1, 2023

Bankruptcy can be an effective way to get rid of overwhelming debt, including credit card debt. Most people with credit card debt will first try other debt management techniques or seek help from a credit counselor to see what their best, most effective option is.

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Dealing With Tax Debt In and Out Of Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 28, 2023

While bankruptcy isn’t always the best solution, discharging an old tax debt through Chapter 7 bankruptcy or paying it off through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is possible.

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What is Unsecured Debt?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 28, 2023

Unsecured debt is not tied to any property (collateral) and includes credit cards and medical debt. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases eliminate most unsecured debts.

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What Is the 341 Meeting of Creditors?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Lawyer John Coble
Updated July 27, 2023

The 341 meeting of creditors is a required meeting between a bankruptcy filer, the bankruptcy trustee, and sometimes creditors. It's an informal hearing held in a meeting room, not a courtroom. No judge is present. The main purpose of the meeting is for the trustee to verify the bankruptcy filer's identity and the information in their bankruptcy forms. Creditors can also attend and ask questions, but this isn't common in Chapter 7 cases.

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What Happens to the Automatic Stay if My Bankruptcy Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated July 27, 2023

If your bankruptcy case gets dismissed, your debts won’t be discharged and the automatic stay goes away. Without the protection of the automatic stay, debt collectors and creditors can resume collection activities. If your case is dismissed, you can file a new case or file a motion to reinstate your previous case. If this happens, there may be limits to the automatic stay.

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Why is Chapter 13 Probably A Bad Idea?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 27, 2023

An unsuccessful Chapter 13 can leave you in worse financial shape. It costs more than Chapter 7 and your case is less likely to be successful.

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Already Filed Bankruptcy Then Sued By a Creditor? Do This

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 27, 2023

If you're being sued by a creditor for an unpaid debt but you're in the process of filing bankruptcy, you may be wondering if you need to show up to your court date for the creditor's lawsuit against you. It will depend on when your court date is and where you're at in the process of filing your bankruptcy case.  If you haven't filed your bankruptcy case by the court date for your creditor's lawsuit against you, make sure you attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge can potentially grant a default judgment against you simply because you didn’t show up. If you have filed your bankruptcy case, it's still a good idea to show up to the hearing to let the judge know. Or you can contact the court clerk prior to the court date to let them know and see what they advise.

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Can I File for Bankruptcy After a Lawsuit?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 27, 2023

Absolutely. Whether you’ve just been served with a lawsuit or already had a judgment entered against you, filing for bankruptcy protection can bring relief.

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Can I File for Bankruptcy After a Lawsuit?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 27, 2023

Absolutely. Whether you’ve just been served with a lawsuit or already had a judgment entered against you, filing for bankruptcy protection can bring relief.

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What Is Secured Debt?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 26, 2023

Secured debt is connected to a piece of property that the bank can take back if there's a payment default. The most common type of secured debt are car loans.

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What Are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Rules?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 26, 2023

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules are not as difficult to understand as you might believe, but there’s quite a few of them. Keep reading to get a basic understanding of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules and ensure a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

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Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 20, 2023

Chapter 11 bankruptcy can be quite similar to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But it's also really different. Learn how each type of bankruptcy can provide you with debt relief.

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Do You Have to Go To Court to File Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated July 20, 2023

Most bankruptcy filers don’t have to attend any formal court proceedings before a judge. There are some rare exceptions to this, but most of the time you’ll only go to court to file your paperwork with the clerk. You'll have to attend a meeting of creditors, but this won’t be held in a courtroom or before a judge. Some of these meetings are held outside the courthouse or virtually.

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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Bills in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 20, 2023

Medical debt and loss of income for medical reasons plays a role in more than 60% of personal bankruptcy filings. If you’re struggling to make ends meet while dealing with medical bills, bankruptcy can provide relief.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 20, 2023

There are a number of different ways that you can prevent foreclosure, even if you ultimately need to give up your home. Don’t be afraid to explore your options, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and find what’s right for your family and personal financial situation.

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How Can I Stop a Florida Wage Garnishment With Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 14, 2023

Wage garnishment can be stressful and hurt your ability to recover from financial shocks. In Florida, there are laws that may be able to help you protect your income.

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Is Filing for Bankruptcy Bad?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Lawyer John Coble
Updated July 14, 2023

Bankruptcy has gotten a negative reputation over the years. But there are many benefits to filing for bankruptcy that don't get as much attention as the drawbacks. Depending on your situation, filing bankruptcy can sometimes be the best course of action.

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What Type of Debt Can I Erase in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 12, 2023

Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out most but not all debts. Learn what type of debt is erased by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.

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What Happens When a Chapter 13 Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 12, 2023

If you have a dismissed Chapter 13 case, you may have several options. You might be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, even if you can't afford to pay another attorney to help you.

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What Happens When a Chapter 13 Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 12, 2023

If you have a dismissed Chapter 13 case, you may have several options. You might be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, even if you can't afford to pay another attorney to help you.

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Can You File Bankruptcy And Keep Your House?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 12, 2023

Bankruptcy law allows you to keep your home as long as certain conditions are met. Whether you can file bankruptcy and keep your house depends on your unique circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.

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How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 12, 2023

From filing to discharge (wiping out debts), Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases typically take 4-6 months. As far as personal bankruptcies go, Chapter 7 is the fastest. By comparison, Chapter 13 can take up to five years because a repayment plan is involved. If you file Chapter 7, the timeline for discharge will depend on how complicated your case is, what kind of debt you have, and how quickly you complete the requirements like the financial management course.

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Will Filing for Bankruptcy Stop a Levy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated June 30, 2023

Filing bankruptcy can stop a bank levy. When you file bankruptcy, you get the protection of the automatic stay. Under the automatic stay, creditors can't try to collect from you in any way, including a bank levy. Other ways to stop a bank levy include: - Paying the debt (if possible - Negotiating a payment agreement with the creditor - Alleging that the credit made a legal error in the process to obtain permission to levy your account - Alleging that the statute of limitations to collect the debt has expired - Alleging that the funds in the account are protected from levy

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How To File Bankruptcy for Free: A 10-Step Guide

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated June 9, 2023

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful debt relief tool. It helps give a fresh start to those who are drowning in debt and can't see a way out. Though bankruptcy requires a lot of paperwork and documentation, many people with simple cases file successfully on their own without a lawyer. Here are the 10 steps to file your case successfully: 1. Collect your documents 2. Take the required credit counseling course 3. Complete the required bankruptcy forms 4. Get your filing fee ready or fill out a fee waiver request 5. Print your completed bankruptcy forms 6. Go to the court to file your forms 7. Mail required documents to your trustee 8. Take the second required bankruptcy course on financial management 9. Attend the 341 meeting with your trustee 10. Deal with your car loan if you have one

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Keeping a Checking Account During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 15, 2023

In most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, nothing happens to the filer's bank account. As long as the money in your account is protected by an exemption, your bankruptcy filing won’t affect it.

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How To Fight Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy: Adversary Proceedings Explained

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 15, 2023

If you want to get your federal student loan debt discharged as part of your bankruptcy case, you’ll need to file an adversary proceeding (AP). An AP is a legal process used in bankruptcy court to resolve specific issues or disputes that arise during a bankruptcy case. Due to changes in late 2022, APs for federal student loan discharge may look different than other APs. Under the 2022 guidance, discharge proceedings are meant to be simpler and more efficient for bankruptcy filers. If you’re filing an adversary proceeding to discharge federal student loans, you may be able to handle it yourself, without hiring an attorney. This article explains how APs work for bankruptcy filers seeking to discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy.

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Do I have to pay the $338 filing fee?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 11, 2023

You generally have to pay the fee if you earn above 150% of the poverty line for your state, and you generally don't have to pay the fee if you earn below 150% of the poverty line.

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How To Find a Credit Repair Lawyer

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 10, 2023

A credit lawyer can help you repair your credit score by correcting mistakes and errors on your credit report. But you can perform many of these steps yourself without an attorney.

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What is a Debt Collection Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 20, 2023

A debt collection attorney is a type of attorney who specializes in debt collection. They can represent either creditors or borrowers, so it is smart to find a debt collection attorney who specializes in a practice area specific to your type of case. While a debt collection attorney cannot make your debt disappear, they can help you navigate the debt collection process and protect your legal rights. Keep in mind, though, that hiring a lawyer will be an additional cost to you.

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Legal Aid Bankruptcy Resources in New York City

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 10, 2023

Legal aid nonprofits provide free assistance to people who can't afford a bankruptcy attorney. See if there's a legal aid nonprofit in New York City that can help you.

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How Is Upsolve Free?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 21, 2023

A note from our CEO on why transparency matters to us.

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Why Does Upsolve Believe in Earning Revenue?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 16, 2023

Earning revenue makes Upsolve a more sustainable, effective, and impactful nonprofit.

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What Are Our Limits?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 16, 2023

To determine if someone is a good fit for Upsolve, we ask hundreds of questions. If someone isn't a good fit for our free tool based on their answers, we let them know.

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How To Redeem Your Car in Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated October 18, 2022

Redeeming your car debt in bankruptcy can make sense if the car is worth much less than the amount you owe on your car loan. Redemption allows you to pay the lender the value of the car, rather than the larger amount you owe. This article covers how redemption works, what’s required to redeem your car, the pros and cons of redemption, and the procedure for redeeming a car in bankruptcy.  

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Can I Get a Job, Housing, and Benefits if I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 2, 2022

Many people worry that filing bankruptcy will have a negative impact on their housing, job, and other important opportunities. The truth is that the vast majority of bankruptcy filers keep their day-to-day lives intact without issue. The law protects you from being fired for filing bankruptcy, and you can still receive public benefits.

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How To Deal With Creditors That Contact You After You File Bankruptcy

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated May 17, 2022

If a debt collector contacts you after you've filed your bankruptcy case, you'll first want to make sure they know about your case. If it's been less than two weeks since you filed, they may not have been informed yet. If they weren't aware, let them know. If they indicate they know you filed bankruptcy but they refuse to stop trying to collect the debt, you can notify the bankruptcy court or speak with an attorney. Creditors aren't allowed to contact you after you file your case because of the automatic stay.

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I Just Took Out Payday Loans. Should I Wait 90 Days To File Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

It's a good idea to wait at least 90 days to file after taking out payday loans or making any substantial purchases. This is because these types of transactions can make a trustee or judge suspicious and less likely to approve your bankruptcy. It looks like you're "cheating" — wracking up debt knowing that you could just get rid of it in bankruptcy right after.

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Do I Need To List All of My Creditors?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

You should do your best to list all of the companies you owe money to on your bankruptcy forms.

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Can Bankruptcy Help With Payday Loans?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

In some cases, bankruptcy can help borrowers who have payday loans they can't repay. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay, which prevents the payday loan company from trying to collect the debt. If the debt is later discharged, you are no longer obligated to pay it back.

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What Happens in Bankruptcy if I Have a Potential Lawsuit for Money?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

This depends: Are you being sued or are you the one suing someone else? If you file bankruptcy a lawsuit against you is stopped. If it's your lawsuit, your trustee will decide what happens.

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Should I File for Bankruptcy After a Foreclosure?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 19, 2022

Many people consider filing for bankruptcy after their homes are foreclosed. Bankruptcy can get rid of any remaining debt once you sell your home.

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Can I Keep My Property If I File for Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated April 1, 2022

One of the most common questions we get is: “Can I keep my property if I file for bankruptcy?” The answer is usually yes! 96% of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases result in the filer keeping all their property. But protecting your property requires some knowledge. Read on for more details. 

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What Are the California Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 1, 2022

If you're a debtor filing for bankruptcy and you live in California, you'll be using the California bankruptcy exemptions to keep your property.

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What Are the California Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Written by Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 1, 2022

If you're a debtor filing for bankruptcy and you live in California, you'll be using the California bankruptcy exemptions to keep your property.

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How Do I Find an Affordable Bankruptcy Attorney?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 21, 2022

While you don’t have to hire a lawyer to file a bankruptcy case, you may want legal assistance. If so, there are several resources you can use to find an affordable bankruptcy attorney, including your state bar association’s website, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, or a local legal aid organization. Many bankruptcy lawyers also offer a free consultation for prospective clients. You can get free legal advice during the consultation and learn more about the lawyer’s fees and options for paying them.

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Can I Request a Tax Transcript From the IRS?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 26, 2022

You can order your tax transcript if you don't have your return by going to the IRS website.

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Will I Get To Keep My Property During My Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 26, 2022

One of the biggest misconceptions about bankruptcy is that you'll lose everything you own. But that’s not true. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court lets you keep some types of property up to a certain value.

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Does a Laptop Count as a Household Good?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 26, 2022

No. Include your laptop in when the questionnaire asks you about the electronics that you own. 

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Should I File My Taxes After My 341 Meeting?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 18, 2021

It doesn't matter if you file your taxes before or after your 341 Meeting. If you're entitled to receive a tax refund, you may have to turn all or some of it over to the trustee even if you file your taxes after the creditors' meeting.

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What is a Consumer Protection Attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated October 24, 2021

A consumer protection attorney may help you protect your rights under one or many consumer protection laws.

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Should I Make a Last Payment on My Credit Card Before I File Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated September 15, 2021

If you plan to file bankruptcy soon, making one last credit card payment won't hurt your case, but it also won't help it.

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On My Bankruptcy Forms, Should I List Debts That Appear on My Credit Report but I Don't Owe?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated September 4, 2021

You should list debts on your bankruptcy forms that are on your credit report even if you don't think you owe them.

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What if I Paid Someone Back in the Year Before Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 24, 2021

If you're filing for bankruptcy, you probably owe many debts. If you repay some of those debts but not others in the year before bankruptcy, the trustee in your bankruptcy case may try to recollect some portion to redistribute the repayment more evenly across all your creditors.

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Should I Estimate My Income if I Haven't Filed Taxes Yet?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 22, 2021

If you do not have official tax documents, it is OK to estimate your gross income on your bankruptcy forms. To estimate your income accurately, look at your most recent pay statement and use it to find your year-to-date gross (before taxes) income.

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What is bankruptcy fraud?

Written by Attorney Kassandra KuehlLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 18, 2020

Bankruptcy fraud is a broad term that describes a variety of actions that filers sometimes take to get an unfair advantage. Depending on what form that fraud takes, it’s considered a crime and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a (non-dischargeable) fine of up to $250,000. This article will explore some common types of bankruptcy fraud.

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Finding Bankruptcy Paperwork for your Chapter 7 Case

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 1, 2020

Filing for bankruptcy can be complicated. This article gives tips on how to find the right paperwork to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Low Cost Bankruptcy: Do Good Options Exist?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 30, 2020

Filing for bankruptcy can get expensive. Apart from finding an affordable bankruptcy attorney, there are ways to file at low cost.

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How do I know if my fee is waived?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 30, 2020

For the court filing fee, you'll get a notice in the mail that tells you if your fee is waived.

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What To Do If You Don’t Remember Everyone You Owe Money?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 21, 2020

If you're overwhelmed by debt collectors and collection agencies calling you to collect a debt, it can seem as though you'll never be able to remember who they all are. But, it's important to give the bankruptcy court a list of all of your creditors, so here are some steps you can take to make sure you didn't miss anyone.

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Do I own my vehicle? What percentage of it do I own?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 19, 2020

Whether or not you own your vehicle depends on whether you purchased it using a loan or leased it from a dealer or other agency.

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Is Upsolve my lawyer?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated October 20, 2020

Upsolve is not your lawyer. Upsolve does not provide legal advice in anyway. You are filing for bankruptcy on your own.

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How to Break into Legal Tech as a Law Student

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated September 10, 2020

In 2018, venture capitalist invested over $1 billion into legal tech. There's never been a better time to think about finding a job at the intersection of tech and law.

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What To Bring To Your 341 Meeting Of Creditors

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated September 3, 2020

You should bring your ID and social security card.

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How Do I Prepare for Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated September 3, 2020

It may be helpful to take these steps to prepare for filing for bankruptcy, whether you're working with a bankruptcy attorney or filing on your own online.

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Will Bankruptcy Stop Wage Garnishment?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 17, 2020

Wage garnishment is a tool used by creditors to collect their debts through the court. Filing for bankruptcy will not only temporarily solve your wage garnishment problems, but potentially eradicate them altogether.

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What Is an Automatic Stay In Bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 12, 2020

The automatic stay stops the people and companies that you owe from trying to get their money. In most cases, the automatic stay goes into effect as soon as you file your paperwork.

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What is some research on the benefits of bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 10, 2020

If you’re interested in the research around how bankruptcy helps low-income Americans, here are seven articles you should reach. The articles discuss how bankruptcy improves credit scores, employment outcomes, and future earnings. They also mention how bankruptcy stops wage garnishment and serves as a lifeline for people trapped in a cycle of poverty.

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What is some research on the benefits of bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 10, 2020

If you’re interested in the research around how bankruptcy helps low-income Americans, here are seven articles you should reach. The articles discuss how bankruptcy improves credit scores, employment outcomes, and future earnings. They also mention how bankruptcy stops wage garnishment and serves as a lifeline for people trapped in a cycle of poverty.

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6 Things about the Automatic Stay Everyone Filing Bankruptcy Should Know

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 7, 2020

11 U.S.C. § 362 is the technical name of the section of the bankruptcy law that protects all filers from creditor actions while their case is pending. You may have heard of this referred to as the automatic stay. Let’s take a deep dive into how 11 U.S.C. § 362 protects bankruptcy filers, what you can do if a creditor violates the automatic stay and what exceptions to the automatic stay protections you should be aware of before filing your bankruptcy case.

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Does this cost money?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 7, 2020

No. Upsolve is totally free. 

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Can the trustee seize money that I received after I filed?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 30, 2020

Whether the trustee can take money you receive after filing your case depends on whether you were entitled to the money at the time your case was filed and how it was listed on your forms, if at all.

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How do I file my bankruptcy forms by mail?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

We recommend bringing your bankruptcy forms to your local bankruptcy court to file in person. If you can't do that, you can mail the forms. 

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I might be moving to a new state. Should I wait to file until after I move?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

If you plan to move out of state within the next three months, it is usually better to wait to file unless your 341 meeting would occur before your move.

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I'm on SSI. How much does bankruptcy cost?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

If the only income you get each month is from SSI, bankruptcy is 100% free for you to file. Upsolve is totally free for you to use, and the court does not charge you any money for the filing fee. 

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Bankruptcy Filings in America - 2017

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Bankruptcy Filings in America continue to be an effective way for many people to obtain debt relief. Congress enacted the to allow Americans to file for bankruptcy relief. help people who have suffered a financial crisis that they cannot overcome without assistance. Upsolve helps individuals file bankruptcy cases to resolve their debt problems. You can file a bankruptcy case to obtain the debt relief you need.

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What if I'm afraid to file for bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Many people in the United States are afraid to file for bankruptcy because they do not understand that most people who file are financially better off in the long run. After filing, most people see their debt erased and their credit scores improved. If their wages are garnished due to judgments, bankruptcy stops wage garnishment. Bankruptcy also improves employment outcomes.

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Can Upsolve help me file for an adversary proceeding?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

*__Unfortunately, No__*. Upsolve can help debtors file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy but we are unable to help debtors with adversary proceedings or other related filings.

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Will we have to pay a lawyer?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

No. If you use Upsolve, you will not have to pay any lawyer anything to file for bankruptcy. 

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I already took my credit counseling course.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

That's great! Just upload your certificate when we ask for it after the questionnaire.

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Can I file bankruptcy with my spouse through Upsolve?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Unfortunately, due to limitations in our software, Upsolve cannot assist couples with a joint filing. But, you can use Upsolve to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without your spouse.

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Is Upsolve a petition preparer?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

No. Upsolve is a non-profit that provides a free self-service software tool for low-income Americans filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy without an attorney. Upsolve is not a bankruptcy petition preparer.

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Do you do Chapter 13?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

No, Upsolve does not do Chapter 13 bankruptcies. 

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Do you do things other than bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

No. Upsolve does not assist with anything other than Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

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Can you help me if I'm not computer literate?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Unfortunately, we cannot help you if you're not computer literate. Please try going to your local legal aid. 

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Do I meet with an attorney?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

No. Upsolve is a free online self-service software tool for people to file bankruptcy on their own.

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Is Upsolve free?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Yes, Upsolve is 100% free to use. We're a nonprofit funded by the government and charities.

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Do you handle adversarial proceedings?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

If you use Upsolve to file your bankruptcy and you need help in an adversarial proceeding, we will do our best to find you a pro bono attorney to help you.

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Can I meet the Upsolve team in person?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

We have thousands of debtors who rely on us each year. For this reason, we only provide email support.

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How much of my income can be garnished?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

If a creditor is garnishing your wages for a judgment they have against you, then federal law says that the creditor can take no more than 25% of your disposable income, or the amount you earn that is greater than 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less. 

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Should I list the original credit card, or the debt collection agency?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

When you're listing the companies that you owe money to, you should list current owner of the debt. So if a debt collection agency bought your debt from the original credit card you owe money to, you should list the debt collection agency. 

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If I surrender my vehicle, will I be responsible for any balance owed?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 22, 2020

No. Even if the car is sold for much less than what you owe on the loan, your personal liability to pay the loan is discharged.

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How Will Chapter 7 Affect My Employment?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

You cannot be fired simply because you filed for bankruptcy. In fact, employers usually don’t learn about it and it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on your past filing history.

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When is the trustee meeting, also called my 341 meeting?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Your trustee meeting will take place between 21 and 40 days after you file for bankruptcy. 

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Will my family, who I live with for free, learn about my bankruptcy?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

Probably not. In general, family members are not notified of your bankruptcy unless (1) you owe them money, (2) they are jointly liable for one of your debts, or (3) you have a continuing contract or lease with them.

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If I'm a widow, do I need to list my deceased spouse on my forms?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

If your former spouse earned taxable income in the current year or the two years prior, you will need to list that income on your bankruptcy forms. You do not need to list any income that they earned prior to this time period, and __*you do not need to list them as a member of your household.*__

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Where can I find my case number?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated July 22, 2020

You can find your case number on your paperwork that you get back from the court after you file for bankruptcy. 

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Your Guide to Illinois’ Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 25, 2024

Illinois has two state laws that protect its residents against unfair, deceptive, harassing, or fraudulent debt collectors: the Illinois Collection Agency Act (ICAA) and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFDBPA). Additionally, a 2018 Illinois Supreme Court Rule sets certain requirements for creditors and debt buyers who file debt collection lawsuits. This is unique to the state of Illinois and helps protect consumers from being sued without proper evidence.

The statute of limitations for credit cards and medical debt is five years in Illinois.

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Your Guide to Florida’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 9, 2024

Florida has two state laws that protect people during the debt collection process: the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and the Florida Commercial Collection Practices Act. The first law seeks to protect Floridians from harassment or unfair practices carried out by creditors. It mirrors and supplements the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which applies only to third-party debt collectors. The Florida Commercial Collection Practices Act protects people and companies that have business debt.

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How To Respond To a Court Summons for Debt Collection in Ohio

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated February 9, 2024

If a debt collector brings a lawsuit against you in Ohio, you’ll get a summons and complaint. These documents inform you of who is suing you and which courthouse is dealing with your case. It’s important to reply by the deadline so you don’t lose the case. Replying requires you to fill out an answer form and certificate of service. You’ll file both of these with the court and send a copy of the answer form to the opposing party. The court will follow up with information about a potential hearing, arbitration, or mediation to resolve the case.

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How To Answer a Wisconsin Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 22, 2024

 If you get a summons and complaint notifying you of a debt collection lawsuit against you in Wisconsin, your case will be heard in small claims court if it’s for $10,000 or less. If you want to dispute the claims against you, you need to respond to the lawsuit. In some counties, this means filing a written answer using a court-provided form. In other counties, it means showing up at a court hearing. Even if you aren’t required to file a written answer, reading this article can help you understand how to read court paperwork and prepare to present your side of the story.

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How To Answer a Tennessee Debt Collection Court Summons

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated January 10, 2024

Generally speaking, to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Tennessee, you should fill out and file an answer form, sometimes called a sworn denial form, with the court. The deadline to file this form will be listed in the court summons that notifies you of the lawsuit. You usually have 30 days to respond. Rules vary by court in Tennessee, so it’s important to visit the local court website or speak with the court clerk to verify the forms you need to submit and what the court’s processes are for debt collection lawsuits.

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How To Respond to a Virginia Warrant in Debt

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 19, 2023

If you’re sued for a debt that’s $5,000 or less in Virginia, the case will be filed in a general district court. You do not have to file an answer form to contest the lawsuit, but you must show up to the hearing listed on the Warrant in Debt form. This is the form you’ll get that notifies you that you’ve been sued for a debt. From there, you’ll follow the court’s instructions.

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How To Answer an Indiana Court Summons for Debt Collection

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 16, 2023

If a creditor or debt collector files a debt collection lawsuit against you, you need to respond to the court case or you risk losing the suit and owing money. To respond to the case, you need to file paperwork, called an answer form or appearance. Include any defenses you have when you file your answer with the court. You’ll also need to deliver a copy of your answer form to the person suing you and affirm that you did so by filing a Certificate of Service form with the court.

The Indiana courts don’t provide a lot of information online, but you can always speak with the court clerk to ask if local forms are available or to get clarification on court rules and procedures.

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How To Answer a California Court Summons for Debt Collection

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated December 16, 2023

If you’re sued for a debt in California, you have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit by filing an answer and proof service form with the court and having an adult who isn’t part of the lawsuit serve a copy of the answer on the person suing you. This can be done by first-class mail, but it can’t be done by the person being sued.

After filing your paperwork, wait to receive further instructions from the court. Be sure to comply with any pretrial requests and show up to scheduled hearings. There are many legal aid (free legal help) services available in California if you need help with this process.

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Your Guide to Michigan’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 18, 2023

Michigan residents are protected by two state laws that regulate debt collection activities. One law applies to third-party debt collection agencies and the other applies to original creditors. Both laws mirror the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits harassment, deception, misrepresentation, and abuse in the debt collection process.

The statute of limitations for credit card and medical debt in Michigan is six years.

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Your Guide to North Carolina’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 18, 2023

North Carolina has three strong debt collection laws: the North Carolina Collection Agency Act, the North Carolina Debt Collection Act, and the Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009. These laws protect North Carolinians from unethical and dishonest debt collection practices. Further protection is provided by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for credit card debt and medical bills is three years.

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Debt Collection Laws in Virginia: Know Your Rights

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 15, 2023

Virginians dealing with debt collectors are best protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Though there are state laws that help regulate consumer sales and financial organizations, Virginia doesn’t have broad debt collection protections in place. One exception is a state statute that prohibits debt collectors from creating or using paperwork made to look like official legal documents. This is a criminal offense in Virginia.

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Your Guide To Ohio’s Debt Collection Laws

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 14, 2023

Ohioans are protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as well as the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (OCSPA). Both laws regulate debt collection activities and strive to prevent abuse and harassment. The FDCPA applies only to third-party debt collectors. The OCSPA covers some original creditors, too. 

In Ohio, the statute of limitations for credit card debt is six years, and the statute of limitations for medical debt is four years.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families resolve their debt and fix their credit using free software tools. Our team includes debt experts and engineers who care deeply about making the financial system accessible to everyone. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.