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Attorney Jonathan Petts

Attorney Jonathan Petts

Bankruptcy Attorney

Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and Board Chair 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. He now serves as the Executive Director of Immigrants Like US (“ILU”), a nonprofit that he co-founded in 2019 to expand access to legal immigration for low-income immigrants.


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 Attorney Jonathan Petts

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

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated June 29, 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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What Is Community Property?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated June 29, 2022

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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What Are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated June 27, 2022

Learn about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy income limits including how you may still be eligible for Chapter 7 relief under the bankruptcy means test even if your average income exceeds the median income.

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

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
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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What Happens to the Automatic Stay if My Bankruptcy Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Updated May 17, 2022

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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Is Filing for Bankruptcy Bad?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney John Coble
Updated May 4, 2022

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 Is the 341 Meeting of Creditors?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney John Coble
Updated April 29, 2022

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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How Can I Get Free Legal Aid?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated April 29, 2022

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 eligible individuals. 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 File Bankruptcy for Free: A 10-Step Guide

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 20, 2022

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful debt relief tool for American consumers and businesses alike. If your case is simple, you may not need a lawyer to file. Here's a 10-Step Guide on how to prepare for and get a fresh start in the form of a bankruptcy discharge.

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

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 File for Bankruptcy Online?

Written by Attorney John CobleLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 12, 2022

When you're hit by a sudden financial shock and need a fresh start, you naturally ask — can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy online? In this article, we’ll explain the different options for filing for bankruptcy online and the pros and cons of each.

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

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated April 12, 2022

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 Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated April 12, 2022

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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Do You Have to Go To Court to File Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 6, 2022

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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What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy & Should I File?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad, Rohan PavuluriLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 1, 2022

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a common legal process to clear your debt, but it’s not right for everyone. Let’s take a look at some bankruptcy basics to help you learn about it and decide whether it's right for you.

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Can I Keep My Property If I File for Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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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Does Bankruptcy Clear Judgments?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 29, 2022

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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Keeping a Checking Account During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated March 21, 2022

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 Long Does A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 21, 2022

Once filed, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes about 4 - 6 months to complete. The bankruptcy discharge is granted 3 - 4 months after filing in most cases. 

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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 You File Bankruptcy And Keep Your House?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated January 27, 2022

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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Can I Request a Tax Transcript From the IRS?

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 For Bankruptcy or Try Debt Relief?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated January 14, 2022

When a person can't pay their debts, creditors can become extremely demanding in their attempts to collect debts. In some cases, debt collectors may harass individuals to repay their debts. But if you don't have any money left over each month to pay your bills, you can't won't be able to pay the debt regardless of what a debt collector tells you.

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What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated January 8, 2022

Bankruptcy exemptions are laws that protect your property in a bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy relief doesn't mean that you have to give up everything you own. This article covers how exemptions protect your property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 12, 2021

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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Legal Aid Bankruptcy Resources in New York City

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated December 3, 2021

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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Should I File My Taxes After My 341 Meeting?

Written by Attorney 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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Debt Consolidation – 5 Things You Should Know

Written by Attorney Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 30, 2021

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 Attorney Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 30, 2021

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

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What Happens When a Chapter 13 Case Is Dismissed?

Written by Attorney Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 27, 2021

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 Attorney Jonathan PettsLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 27, 2021

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 is a Consumer Protection Attorney?

Written by Attorney 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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What Is Secured Debt?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 19, 2021

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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Why is Chapter 13 Probably A Bad Idea?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated October 2, 2021

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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Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated October 1, 2021

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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Can I File for Bankruptcy After a Lawsuit?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated October 1, 2021

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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Getting Financial Aid During and After a Bankruptcy (Guide)

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 1, 2021

Filing bankruptcy does not prevent you from getting federal student loans or other types of federal financial aid. While some federal loans do require that you have good credit (which may take a little while to build after filing bankruptcy), others don’t depend on creditworthiness. Instead, they look at your financial need based on your current financial situation. 

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Should I File for Bankruptcy for Credit Card Debt?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated October 1, 2021

Credit card debt can prevent you from paying your day-to-day living expenses. By filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you can get rid of credit card debt while protecting your property. But to qualify for Chapter 7, your income needs to be below the average median income in your state.

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How To Find a Credit Repair Lawyer

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated October 1, 2021

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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How Can I Stop a Florida Wage Garnishment With Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated September 29, 2021

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

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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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Will Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lower My Credit Score?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 27, 2021

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

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What Does It Mean To Be Judgment Proof?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 27, 2021

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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What Should I Do if I'm Being Sued by a Creditor and I Have an Upcoming Bankruptcy Court Date?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 27, 2021

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

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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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Can I Get Rid of my Medical Bills in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated May 14, 2021

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

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What is a Debt Collection Attorney?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated March 31, 2021

If you're having trouble finding a debt collection attorney to help you with a lawsuit, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy relief. You can file bankruptcy without an attorney to get rid of debts.

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How to redeem your car?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated January 5, 2021

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.  

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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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Do I have to pay the $338 filing fee?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated December 9, 2020

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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Dealing With Tax Debt In and Out Of Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 4, 2020

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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Finding Bankruptcy Paperwork for your Chapter 7 Case

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Forms Explained

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated November 30, 2020

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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How do I know if my fee is waived?

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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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What type of debt can I erase in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated October 20, 2020

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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Is Upsolve my lawyer?

Written by Attorney 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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What are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Rules?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 23, 2020

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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What is Unsecured Debt?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 10, 2020

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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How to Break into Legal Tech as a Law Student

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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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Will bankruptcy stop a levy?

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 11, 2020

If creditors are threatening to levy your bank account, you may be worried about how you are going to pay your bills and living expenses if a creditor takes your money. Let’s go over some important information about levies and ways you can stop a levy.

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What is some research on the benefits of bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated August 7, 2020

No. Upsolve is totally free. 

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How To Deal With The Stress Of Bankruptcy

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts
Updated July 30, 2020

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

Written by Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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 Attorney 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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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

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.