Bankruptcy Basics

Learn the basics about how bankruptcy works and how it can give you a fresh start by eliminating your debt.

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that allows you to eliminate debts you have no hope of ever paying pay off. If you’re wondering whether bankruptcy is the right debt relief solution for you, you’ve come to the right place! Here you will learn what bankruptcy is, how it can help you get a fresh start, and what the process is like.

Looking to learn the basics about how bankruptcy can relieve your debt? This page is your home base for resources to help you get your fresh start.

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Can I File For Bankruptcy Online in 2020?

When you are 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 are the Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions?

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

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Forms Explained

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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Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2020 | The Truth

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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What are the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Rules?

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 To Do If You Don’t Remember Your Creditors

If you don't remember the creditors you owe when filing for bankruptcy, don't worry. In many cases, you can still erase the debts you owe.

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How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost in 2020?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides relief for individuals and businesses that have no hope of ever repaying their debts. That’s why it seems strange to some that there are actual costs involved to get this relief. Keep in mind, though, that everyone’s case is different and someone’s inability to pay their debts as they come due does not necessarily mean that they can’t pay the costs of filing a Chapter 7. Let’s take a look at what they are. 

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What is a Bankruptcy Trustee?

The bankruptcy trustee doesn’t represent the filer and they don’t represent any specific creditor. They review the filer's forms and conduct the creditors' meeting.

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4 things you should know about the bankruptcy court system

The bankruptcy court oversees bankruptcy cases filed in the United States. The court maintains the records for all bankruptcy cases.

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What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy that provides relief for folks who make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7. At its core, it’s a reorganization that allows the filer to pay as much as their budget can handle instead of trying to keep up with each creditors’ minimum monthly payments.

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What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal tool to obtain debt relief and get a fresh start. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the most common types. This article explores consumer bankruptcy basics, the different types of bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy process overall.

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Low Cost Bankruptcy: Do Good Options Exist?

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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Bankruptcy Credit Counseling & Financial Management Courses

Everyone has to complete a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course before and a pre-discharge debtor education course after filing their bankruptcy case. The courses are offered by nonprofit organizations that are pre-approved for each state by the U.S. Trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator).

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How Long Does A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take in 2020?

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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Requirements for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Deciding to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy should involve a review of everything that is required to successfully get a bankruptcy discharge after the bankruptcy filing. What follows is an overview of the requirements to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the requirements to getting your Chapter 7 discharge.

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Low Income Bankruptcy: Find the Option for You

There are special options available to low-income people filing for bankruptcy. Find out if one is right for you.

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Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Explained in 2020

The laws that protect your property from creditors are called exemptions. The exemptions listed in the Bankruptcy Code are called federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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Should I be Embarrassed About Filing for Bankruptcy?

Should I be embarrassed by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing? We'll let you know how you should think about your discharge of your debts.

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What is the Meeting of Creditors?

The meeting of creditors is part of every bankruptcy case. Most times, it only involves the bankruptcy trustee and person who filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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Every Type of Bankruptcy in 2020 Explained

Bankruptcy has helped millions of Americans relieve their debt burden and get a fresh start. There are different types, so it's important to know the differences and similarities.

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Do I Qualify for Bankruptcy?

Do you qualify for bankruptcy? There are a lot of things to consider, and we try to break it down for you. At Upsolve, we provide free Chapter 7 bankruptcy services for those in need of a fresh start.

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Bankruptcy Filings in America - 2017

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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Should I File for Bankruptcy for Credit Card Debt in 2020?

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. However, you need to qualify for Chapter 7 by having income that is below the average median income in your state.

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What Is an Automatic Stay In Bankruptcy?

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 Chapter 7 bankruptcy lower my credit score?

According to the New York Federal Reserve, the credit scores of those who file for bankruptcy are higher than people in the same shoes who don't.

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What is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline?

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an intimidating and daunting process. Especially if it's not something you've ever dealt with before, you may not know where to begin or how it ends. Here is an overview of what to expect as you prepare for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and what happens after your case has been filed with the bankruptcy court. 

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What is bankruptcy fraud?

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 and provide you with some guidance on how you can avoid making choices that - while perfectly normal and legal generally - might rise to the level of bankruptcy fraud.

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Will bankruptcy stop a levy?

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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Should I File Bankruptcy Before Getting Married?

Whether bankruptcy is the right debt relief option for you depends on a few things, including your income, what type of debt you have, and whether you’ve filed bankruptcy in the past. If you’re already pretty sure that filing bankruptcy is the way to go, but are worried about the timing, keep reading. This article will focus on how being married (or not) impacts a bankruptcy case.

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Keeping a Checking Account During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Updated 2020)

If your account is being garnished, the bankruptcy case should stop the garnishment. The garnishment should not start again if the debt is wiped out in the bankruptcy case. However, if the garnishment is for alimony, child support, or taxes, the bankruptcy won’t wipe out the debt and the garnishment continues.

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What is an Emergency Bankruptcy Filing?

People seek an emergency bankruptcy filing when creditors are threatening to take immediate action to seize or sell assets. The emergency bankruptcy filing stops the creditor as soon as you file the main bankruptcy forms.

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Can I File for Bankruptcy After a Lawsuit in 2020?

Bankruptcy can help a lawsuit depending on the type of lawsuit you’re involved in. The most typical kind you might be facing is if a creditor has filed a civil suit against you for non-payment of a debt which may lead to the creditor garnishing your paycheck.

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How to add a creditor after filing my forms?

What follows is a step by step guide on how to add a creditor after filing bankruptcy. The process for this is often very specific and differs from district to district, but there are some things that are the same across the board. If you're an Upsolve user, you can use the case editor and the self-service amendment feature to update your forms.

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What does it mean to surrender your car in bankruptcy?

If you surrender your car as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your car debt is erased by the bankruptcy discharge.

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Should I choose the federal or my state bankruptcy exemptions?

The exemptions you choose will play a big role in determining how much of your stuff the trustee can sell to repay your creditors. Most Upsolve users select the Federal exemptions, but the choice that is right for you will depend on your answers to two questions.

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What is an "Official Form 309A -- No Proof of Claim?"

The court sends this document to the creditors you listed on your bankruptcy paperwork when you file. It gives each creditor important information about your case and tells them what they need to do if they have a reasonable objection to your bankruptcy.

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What happens to my automatic stay if my case is dismissed?

*__The automatic stay will not go back into effect until the judge grants your motion to re-instate the case.__*

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How do I file my bankruptcy forms by mail?

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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Getting Financial Aid During And After A Bankruptcy (2020 Guide)

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

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

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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What do I list as my address if I lived overseas 3 years ago?

Questions about your addresses on your bankruptcy forms are used to determine one of two things: 1. Which state you are eligible to file bankruptcy in and 2. Which state's exemptions you can use to protect your assets.

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Why doesn't my car appear on my exemptions list?

There are a few reasons that your car(s) might not be listed on your exemptions list.

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What is an asset in bankruptcy?

Everything you own is an asset. Whether your property is valuable enough to turn your case into an asset bankruptcy depends on what bankruptcy exemptions you can use to protect your property.

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If I file for bankruptcy, will it hurt my co-signer’s credit score?

No. A co-signer’s social security number will not be involved, and the bankruptcy does not go on their credit.

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How can I surrender my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

"Surrendering" your car means that you give it back to the lender that gave you the loan to purchase it. If you surrender your car as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any debt that you owe on it will be eliminated when you receive your bankruptcy discharge.

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I want to redeem my car. When do I do it?

"Redeeming" your car means that you buy it from the lender that you financed it with for the fair market value of the car, paid to the lender in one lump sum. The rest of your loan is discharged.

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What is Community Debt?

We explain what community debt is, what the community property states are, and how it can impact your bankruptcy.

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

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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Can I Keep the Money If I Win A Lawsuit After Filing?

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the law of your state will determine whether you can keep the money from a lawsuit—but be prepared to give it up unless your state exemption law specifically says that you can keep the award.

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How much money is considered a gift?

The bankruptcy system doesn’t care about relatively modest gifts, and most people considering bankruptcy only have the ability to make modest gifts. Specifically, the bankruptcy forms ask whether you gave gifts with a total value of more than $600 per person within the two years before you filed for bankruptcy.

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If a creditor was charged off, do I still need to list them?

Yes, you need to list them. A debt being charged off by the creditor does *not* mean that you don’t owe it anymore; it only means that the creditor has decided the debt is uncollectible for accounting purposes.

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Should I use a law firm or file for myself?

This is up to you to decide. If you can afford $1000+ for an attorney, they are often a good investment. If you cannot, our team at Upsolve would love to guide you through your filing at every step of the way. 

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My credit is really bad. Will bankruptcy help?

The vast majority of people who have low credit scores see their credit scores increase post-bankruptcy. For academic research on this subject, check out [this study](https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr725.pdf "this study"). 

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I receive money from social security. Can I file for bankruptcy?

Definitely. Getting money from social security does not disqualify you from filing for bankruptcy with Upsolve. You should take our online screener to see if you meet our either criteria. 

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What is some research on the benefits of bankruptcy?

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 if I'm afraid to file for bankruptcy?

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 I File For Bankruptcy After Moving To A New State in 2020?

Yes, you can file bankruptcy after moving, but it may get a little more complicated. If you're moving to a new state, or have recently moved, you’ll need to know which bankruptcy property exemptions now apply to you. In this article, we will discuss the timing issues and other factors that may accompany a recent relocation. 

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How To Deal With The Stress Of Bankruptcy

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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I’m a 1099 Contractor. How is My Bankruptcy Different?

Much of the bankruptcy process is the same for people who are a full-time employee and people who are contractors. However, there are a few differences. When your income is not regular or easily predicted, you must demonstrate that you are eligible to file and ensure that it makes sense to file when you do.

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How Often Can You File Bankruptcy? (Updated 2020)

You can file more than one bankruptcy in a lifetime. How many times depends on how long it's been since your last bankruptcy case and what type of bankruptcy you filed. We'll break it down for you.

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What To Do If A Creditor Violates The Automatic Stay

The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as your bankruptcy petition has been filed with the court and a case-number assigned to your case. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from trying to collect a debt from you. Creditors and their attorneys know that the bankruptcy court can order them to pay sanctions to the bankruptcy filer if they violate the automatic stay.

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Why Is The Trustee Asking Creditors To File A Proof Of Claim?

If the trustee discovers an asset during your bankruptcy filing, a creditor must file paperwork before they can get paid. Any creditor who wants to be paid from bankruptcy funds must file a claim by the specified deadline. That paperwork is called the “proof of claim.”

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I am planning to get married soon after I file. Will my bankruptcy affect my spouse?

Usually your individual bankruptcy will not affect your new spouse. If you are filing for a Chapter 7, is can be helpful to wait until after you receive your discharge to get married just in case.

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What is the difference between a co-signer and co-owner of a car?

A co-signer on a car loan is obligated to pay the loan if the other person defaults on their payment obligation while a co-owner of a car has an ownership interest in the vehicle itself. This article explains how to properly disclose these relationships in your bankruptcy forms.

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My case was dismissed. When can I refile a new case or reopen my case?

As soon as a bankruptcy case is dismissed, the automatic stay ends and collections can resume. You can either reinstate your case or file a new bankruptcy one.

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If I received a discharge, when can I refile?

If your bankruptcy was fully discharged, you can refile bankruptcy after a certain amount of time has passed. If you file before the time limit is up, you will not be entitled to have your debts discharged.

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How Long Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Take?

Chapter 13 typically lasts for 3 to 5 years and involves a repayment plan, where you pay some or all of the money owed to your creditors over the length of the plan.

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Is bankruptcy discharge public record in 2020?

There are a few, limited ways that your bankruptcy becomes public record.This alone shouldn't stop you from choosing to file for bankruptcy.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect My Social Security Income?

Social security income does not count on the means test. Any social security funds you have will be protected by an exemption as long as they're not commingled.

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Will Bankruptcy Affect My Citizenship Application?

You can still file for bankruptcy without being a United States citizen, but your immigration and citizenship applications may be affected.

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How to File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?

You are not required to hire an attorney to file bankruptcy. You can do so for free, or with a legal aid organization.

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Will My Employer Find Out About My Bankruptcy?

Your employer will most likely not find out about your bankruptcy case when you file.

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Can I File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy if I am Unemployed?

You do not have to be employed to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but you do have to have the capability to make monthly payments to your trustee.

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Bankruptcy Case Dismissals & How To Avoid Them

Many worry that their case won’t be accepted if they file bankruptcy without the help of a bankruptcy lawyer. Even though it’s scary to think that this may happen, it doesn’t really work that way. You are allowed to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. And, as long as you follow the bankruptcy court’s instructions and complete all required steps, the risk of having your case dismissed is actually pretty low.

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Can You File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Online Yourself?

There is no "TurboTax" option to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy online.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect My Disability Benefits?

Find out whether you can keep your social security disability benefits during your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit in 2020?

Filing bankruptcy does not ruin your credit forever! If you need debt relief but are worried about how a bankruptcy affects your credit rating, this article is for you.

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Chapter 7 Discharged in 2020. Now what?

Monitor your credit report, stick to a budget, live within your means, rebuild your credit and live your life with a fresh start!

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Can I leave debts out of my bankruptcy?

Even though it might seem to make sense to leave certain debts out of your bankruptcy filing, you're not permitted to actually do so.

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What To Do If Creditors Are Calling After A Bankruptcy Filing

Find out what to do if a creditor keeps contacting you even after your bankruptcy has been filed.

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What does it mean that my debts have been discharged? (Updated 2020)

A discharge order that tells your creditors they are forever prohibited from asking you to pay your pre-bankruptcy debts ever again.

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A Guide to Leases in Bankruptcy

A lease is an agreement between a lessor and lessee, usually involving rental property or a vehicle. Learn how to deal with your lease in a bankrutpcy so there are no unexpected surprises!

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Can I fire my bankruptcy lawyer?

In this article we will explore what you should consider to make an informed decision about whether and when to find a new bankruptcy lawyer.

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What is Equity?

Equity is calculated by taking the value of your property and subtracting any outstanding loans you have on it.

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Filing for Bankruptcy

Although filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision to make, it is also a solution that will release you from crippling debt. Learn everything you need to know here before you get started.

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Who Pays for Bankruptcies?

When individuals find themselves in debt, bankruptcy can be a solution that gives you a fresh start. But when someone files for bankruptcy, who pays for it? Learn more here.

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What does it mean that a bankruptcy is public record?

Anything that you and I can get access to either through a court or another government entity without first getting authorization to do so is considered “public record.” This article will explore what kinds of records a bankruptcy filing goes into and what it means for you.

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What Happens If I Declare Bankruptcy?

Overview of what to expect after declaring bankruptcy, including types of bankruptcy, the immediate debt relief benefits of filing bankruptcy, and important information about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

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Does The Government Pay for Bankruptcies in 2020?

People filing for bankruptcy are struggling to pay their debts. Find out what type of costs to expect for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and who pays for it if you can’t.

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Verification of Creditor Matrix Explained

Learn about the verification of creditor matrix.

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Using A Fee Waiver For Free Bankruptcy Credit Counseling

Everyone who wants to file for bankruptcy has to take a credit counseling course before they can do so. While there is a small cost associated with this requirement, it is possible to take the required course for free by requesting a fee waiver.

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What does the bankruptcy discharge do?

A bankruptcy discharge is an order from the Bankruptcy Court that is granted to the filer in a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Discharge orders are also entered in Chapter 13 cases, but only if the filer is eligible for a discharge, which most often includes completing the payment plan. The debt that is discharged depends in part on the type of bankruptcy you file.

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How to find the right bankruptcy lawyer for your case

In this article, we'll explore whether you need an attorney to file bankruptcy, how you can make sure you hire the bankruptcy attorney that is right for you, and what kind of resources are available to find a bankruptcy lawyer near you. Learn how to choose the right bankrutpcy lawyer for your situation based on what matters most!

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Can I File Bankruptcy with No Money While Being Unemployed?

Your ability to file a bankruptcy case is not dependent on your employment status. Being unemployed is a common cause when it comes to reasons to file bankruptcy, and it is possible to file bankruptcy with no money. If you’re unemployed, consider the factors and information discussed below when making your decision about whether bankruptcy is right for you.

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What Is A Co-Debtor and How Does My Bankruptcy Affect Them?

When you file bankruptcy, your co-signers will remain responsible for paying the debt that they co-signed for that is discharged in your bankruptcy. As long as they continue to pay the debt, your bankruptcy will not affect their credit.

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What is non-exempt equity?

What property you are allowed to keep and what you may be forced to sell or surrender when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on how much non-exempt equity you have in the item. Let’s explore what this means for you, so you can choose the path to debt relief that makes the most sense for you.

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What is an Adversary Proceeding in Bankruptcy?

An adversary proceeding is a like a lawsuit that takes place as part of the bankruptcy case. Adversary proceedings are generally the most complicated part of a bankruptcy proceeding, but they don't happen in every case.

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What is the presumption of abuse in bankruptcy? 

This article will explain what the presumption of abuse is and take a brief look at how it's possible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy even though there is a presumption of abuse.

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What Bills To Keep Paying After Filing Bankruptcy in 2020

One of the biggest benefits of filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay that goes into effect as soon as the case is filed. It means that your creditors (those you owe a debt) are not allowed to keep asking you for money. But, just because you don’t have to pay your debts after filing bankruptcy, you’ll still have some expenses to pay going forward. This article will explore what kind of bills a person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy has to pay even after their case is filed.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy and Tax Refunds

It's pretty well-known that tax debts typically can't be discharged in bankruptcy. But what if you're getting a refund? This article answers some of the frequently asked questions about tax refunds and bankruptcy.

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Dealing with Returned or Undeliverable Mail from the Bankruptcy Court

If a creditor’s address is incorrect on the creditor matrix, the court’s notices to the creditor will be returned as undeliverable. You’ll either receive the returned mail (as you’re listed as the “sender” even though the court mailed the document) or a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court. Or both.

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What To Do If A Creditor’s Address Changed After Filing

If you notice that your creditor’s address has changed on a document/letter they sent to you regarding your bankruptcy, it’s likely that they’ve already provided their new/updated address to the court.

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What You Should Know About Bankruptcy And Luxury Items

A luxury item is something that is not reasonably necessary for your maintenance and support. It’s something you don’t need to live. Non-luxury items, on the other hand, are things you purchase to cover necessities for yourself and your dependents. Things like groceries, utilities, rent, and gas. The term luxury item includes both products and services that cost more than $725.

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Why does the bankruptcy court need my social security number? 

Interestingly, there is nothing in the Bankruptcy Code itself that requires the filer to have a social security number. But, your social security number is how you obtain and maintain credit and how your tax filings and liabilities are tracked, so the bankruptcy court system uses it to keep track of bankruptcy cases. So, if you have a social security number, you have to provide it to the bankruptcy court.

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Help, my 341 meeting is coming up and I can’t find my social security card!

Ideally, you’ll have located your social security card at the very beginning of the process and have everything ready to go by the time your creditors’ meeting rolls around. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned. If you can’t find your social security card in time for the meeting, bring last year’s form W-2 from your employer or one of the other accepted alternatives.

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Discharge vs. Dismissal: What's the Difference?

Many individuals filing bankruptcy for the first time are unsure of the terminology used by lawyers and the courts. Two words that frequently confuse first-time filers are “dismissed” and “discharged.” The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between the two and when lawyers and the court are most likely to use them when referring to your case.

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Can you file bankruptcy twice?

Yes, you can file for bankruptcy twice. The real question is how soon can you file a second bankruptcy? This depends on several factors, including what chapter your last case was filed under.

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Can attorney fees be included in bankruptcy?

Attorney fees can, and should, be included in any bankruptcy filing. The larger question is whether attorney fees can be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. The answer to that question is generally yes. In this article, we will explore what to look out for if you're trying to discharge attorney fees.

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Filing bankruptcy while working in the gig economy

Are you part of the gig economy? Besides your regular job, are you also working with Uber, Lyft, Fiverr, or Task Rabbit? Even though you may be looking to make some extra money as a freelancer to pay down your credit card debt, that extra income could affect your bankruptcy case. Continue reading to learn how a bankruptcy case could be affected by income as a contract worker and what forms you’ll need to pay special attention to. 

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Can I keep using my credit cards until I file bankruptcy?

Once you’ve decided that you’ll be filing bankruptcy to deal with your debt, you should not continue to incur new debt. That includes making new charges on your credit card, or getting a new loan. 

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Store Cards and Bankruptcy

Issuing credit cards to their customers is a favorite and quite effective marketing technique used by many retail stores. It makes the customer feel special and come back to take advantage of the “deals” only available to card holders. Common examples include Best Buy, Kohl’s and Apple credit cards. This article explores how store credit cards are treated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Disability and Bankruptcy

How disability affects a bankruptcy case depends on what you mean by "disability." There are three major categories of disability payments: social security disability, veteran's disability, and private disability. Private disability is purchased either by an individual or provided by their employer. Other than to mention that some states’ laws exempt private disability from creditors and the bankruptcy trustee, this article will not cover private disability. This article focuses on government disability in the form of Social Security Disability and Veterans’ Disability.

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What is a bankruptcy estate?

Whenever someone files for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy estate is automatically created. A bankruptcy estate consists of the property or assets that you own. What assets you get to keep because it’s protected depends on the bankruptcy exemptions that you can claim. In this article, we will review what a bankruptcy estate is and what that means for you.

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The Automatic Stay

The automatic stay makes sure that wage garnishments and repossessions or foreclosures are stopped and give the filer immediate relief by stopping the never-ending phone calls from debt collectors. Let’s take a closer look at what the automatic stay in bankruptcy means for you.

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How to get debt relief through personal bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process to reorganize or eliminate - or discharge - someone’s obligation to pay all or some of their debts. The Bankruptcy Code provides both protections for filers and a system to treat creditors fairly under the law. Personal bankruptcy is a case filed by an individual (or married couple) to get relief from debt. This article will provide an overview of the two different types of personal bankruptcy and how each can provide you with a fresh start.

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How to get debt relief without risking your safety

Filing for bankruptcy protection can be a powerful step towards not only financial freedom, but freedom from financial oppression. It is possible to get this relief without risking your or your children’s safety. This article is all about making sure that your abuser can’t use the bankruptcy court system to further victimize you. 

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Reaffirmation Agreements

People who file bankruptcy are often concerned about what's going to happen to their car. Signing a reaffirmation agreement is one option that lets you keep your car and continue making the payments, but it's not the only option and might not be the best option in your situation. Read on to learn about how reaffirmations work and factors to consider when deciding whether to sign a reaffirmation agreement.

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What can go wrong at the meeting of creditors in 2020?

The meeting of creditors is the one time everyone filing for bankruptcy has to go to court to answer questions from their trustee. Naturally, it’s often the most stress inducing part of the entire case for the filer. Let’s take a look at what to expect at your creditors’ meeting, and, importantly, some of the things that can go wrong at the meeting (and how to avoid them).

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What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy case that can be filed by individuals, married couples, and businesses. It’s the most common type of bankruptcy and provides the fastest form of debt relief. Continue reading to learn more about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works and what everyone filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy should know.

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What to do if your income decreases after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy

If you’re a few months into your case, then you don’t have to do anything. If it changed shortly after your case was filed, wait for the creditors’ meeting and let the trustee know during the meeting that your income has changed. Depending on how much it changed, they may say don’t worry about it or request that you file updated forms.

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Overview of the 7 Most Commonly Used Bankruptcy Exemptions

Bankruptcy exemptions protect a filer’s property to ensure they are able to take full advantage of their fresh start. While the available exemptions vary depending on the state you live in, there are certain types of common bankruptcy exemptions that are generally found in all exemption schemes. This article will provide an overview of the 7 most common types of bankruptcy exemptions and how they protect the filer’s property in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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What Does Bankruptcy Mean?

Bankruptcy is one of those words that everyone’s heard but many don’t really know what it means. Especially with so many high profile bankruptcies in the news these days, it can be hard to figure how bankruptcy can actually help a regular consumer. Let’s take a look at what bankruptcy means and how the different types of bankruptcy enable you to take back charge of your finances.

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How to tell if you have property that is not protected by an exemption

Schedule A/B lists everything you own. Schedule C lists all everything you own that is protected by an exemption. Here is how you can tell what’s protected by an exemption by looking at your Schedule C, complete with an example to illustrate what it means when something is only partially exempt.

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What’s a set off and why does the court want to know about it?

A set off is when a bank takes money out of your bank account because you defaulted on your payment obligations on a debt owed to that bank. Normally, creditors have to get a judgment before they can reach the funds in your checking or saving accounts, but there is an exception to that general rule: When you have a credit card or loan with your bank, the agreement (either the credit card agreement or the loan documents) will often give the bank the right to pay themselves directly out of your account in the event of a default. 

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What’s the Downside of Filing for Bankruptcy?

If you’ve already tried everything to get out of debt and you’re still drowning, it’s normal to think that bankruptcy sounds almost too good to be true. After all, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate your debts in as little as 4 months. Not to mention that the vast majority of personal bankruptcy filings actually allow the filer to keep all of their belongings. As with everything in life, there are some downsides to filing bankruptcy. Let’s take a look at what they are so you can decide whether filing bankruptcy is the right debt relief solution for you.

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When to Declare Bankruptcy

You have many options for debt relief. There are debt settlements, debt management plans, debt consolidations, and bankruptcy. Each option has pros and cons. The best choice for you will depend on your particular situation. Whether you should file bankruptcy and what type of bankruptcy to file is unique to your situation. Everyone's financial situation is different.

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Reorganizing Your Debt? Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Help!

Chapter 11 cases are mostly filed by businesses or people with significant assets and debts. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common chapters filed by individuals. Read on to learn more about the differences between Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

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What is Chapter 20 bankruptcy?

Some people struggling with overwhelming debt find that bankruptcy is the best debt relief solution for their unique situation. Determining which form of bankruptcy to file is largely dependent on the amount and types of debt held, and the financial situation of the individual or married couple. When considering bankruptcy, most people first learn about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, named for the Bankruptcy Code chapters that govern how they work. But a lesser-known arrangement, Chapter 20 bankruptcy, functions as a hybrid of the two.

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What Debts Can’t be Erased by Filing Bankruptcy?

Even though bankruptcy provides the most comprehensive debt relief for most folks who are struggling to make ends meet, it is not a way to get out of any and all debts. This means you need to carefully evaluate your debts to make sure that filing bankruptcy will actually help you improve your situation. After all, if most or all of your debts can’t be eliminated as part of your bankruptcy filing, the downsides of filing bankruptcy may outweigh the debt relief benefits your bankruptcy discharge provides.

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What are Priority Unsecured Debts?

We usually hear debts divided into two categories: secured and unsecured. A debt is secured if the lender has a security interest in some property and can take that property if you don’t pay. But, in bankruptcy, there are other important distinctions. Some unsecured debts get special treatment. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of unsecured debt, and what it means when a debt has priority.

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Everything the Average American Consumer needs to know about Involuntary Bankruptcy

While no one ever wants to file bankruptcy, the vast majority of bankruptcy cases filed in the United States are voluntary bankruptcy cases. Voluntary bankruptcy cases are initiated when the debtor submits their voluntary petition to the bankruptcy court. It is possible, however, for creditors to initiate an involuntary bankruptcy case against someone.

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Corporate Bankruptcy Explained

When a corporation gets into financial trouble, the company may be able to file for bankruptcy protection. In some ways, corporate bankruptcy is like consumer bankruptcy. But, there are also important differences. In this article, you’ll learn how the two types of business bankruptcy differ, how each works, and how corporate bankruptcy is different from personal bankruptcy.

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Bankruptcy Court - A Definition

The bankruptcy court is a federal court that oversees all bankruptcy cases filed in the United States.

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3 Important Players in Bankruptcy Court

In addition to the person filing bankruptcy, other individuals who will play an important role in your bankruptcy case are your case trustee, your bankruptcy judge, and - if you have one - your bankruptcy attorney. Let’s take a look at some of the important players -other than your creditors - that you may encounter in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Confused After A Reaffirmation Hearing?

Reaffirmation Hearings: An overview of possible outcomes and what it means for you.

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What Your Bank Statements Tell the Bankruptcy Trustee (Updated 2020)

Even though it is not a formal requirement under the Bankruptcy Code, most Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees ask filers to provide them with a copy of their bank account statement before the 341 meeting. Many ask for the statement that covers the filing date while some request several months of bank statements. Why are the trustees requesting this information?  It’s not to see how much you spent on take-out last month or to judge you for buying your lunch at the QuickTrip by your work every day. Instead, they’re looking for information that may not be anywhere else on your bankruptcy forms. Let’s find out what that might be! 

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Completing Debtor Education After Filing Chapter 13

Everyone seeking Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief has to complete a mandatory credit counseling class before their case can be filed with the bankruptcy court. This has to be done in the 6 months before the case is filed. But what about the second required course? What is that all about and when is the best time to take it? Keep reading to find out.

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6 things you should to know about the Statement of Intentions

If you’re planning on filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have a car loan or other secured debt, here are 6 things you should know about the Statement of Intentions.

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5 Important Bankruptcy Questions (and Answers!)

If you’re thinking about filing bankruptcy, you have questions. We’ll answer the most common bankruptcy questions for you right here so you can decide whether you want to take the next step in the bankruptcy process or explore other debt-relief options that might interest you.

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Guide to PACER: Getting your court notices without an attorney

PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. It’s a system to access case information, the docket, and the documents filed in a particular case electronically.

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Your Bankruptcy Discharge Date

Obtaining a bankruptcy discharge is the primary goal of every individual who files bankruptcy. The discharge date is the most important date in a personal bankruptcy, second only to the date the case was initially filed. Let’s take a look at 4 things you should know about your bankruptcy discharge, when your discharge will be granted by the bankruptcy court, and how to figure out the date of your discharge even if you can’t find your paperwork anymore.

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What is a Proof of Claim in Bankruptcy?

A proof of claim is what creditors are required to submit to the bankruptcy court before they can receive any money from the bankruptcy trustee. It’s the creditors’ way of saying, “I’m owed money, and here is how much, and why.” The trustee and the person who filed bankruptcy are given an opportunity to review and may object to any proof of claim that is filed in the case. Let’s take a closer look at how this all works.

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Is there a way to keep a credit card I need when filing bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to keep a credit card, no matter the reason. If you owe a balance on the credit card, you have to list it as a debt. The debt will be discharged and the account closed by the creditor. Bankruptcy law requires that you list all of your debts. You are not allowed to simply “leave out” one of your credit cards. 

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Basics: Why & When is Property Liquidated?

A bankruptcy liquidation is the process by which a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee sells the filer’s assets to repay unsecured debts, such as credit cards, child support, or tax debt, as part of a bankruptcy filing. Let’s take a closer look at when a Chapter 7 case takes the form of a true “liquidation” bankruptcy.

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Debt Collection After a Bankruptcy Discharge

A bankruptcy discharge order permanently forbids creditors to try to collect discharged debt. Some creditors and collection agencies try to collect debt despite a bankruptcy court order telling them to stop. Phone calls and letters for discharged debt are illegal collection practices. Not all collection phone calls are illegal, and some types of debt can be collected after bankruptcy. We’ll help you recognize the difference and learn how to stop debt collectors that violate a bankruptcy court order.

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What Type of Bankruptcy Should I File If I Have Assets?

If you are considering bankruptcy to help tackle your debt, your exemptions and assets will play a vital role in determining which type of bankruptcy you should file and what will happen to your property. This article will discuss what an asset is and why it matters when filing bankruptcy.

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What is A Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan?

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan lays out how the filer will pay their debt obligations moving forward. It gives the filer the chance to restructure and renegotiate the terms of paying back creditors.

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What is Monthly Net Income and How Will It Affect My Bankruptcy Case?

Net income is your income after deductions are taken out. Simply put, net income is your take-home pay, what you deposit into your bank account on payday. Generally, a paycheck stub will show all deductions from your income, including taxes, insurance, income tax, and FICA and other deductions that may come out your gross income, such as health insurance. The total amount left over after these deductions is the net income.

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Bankruptcy Basics: What Is Bankruptcy & How Do I File?

In a nutshell, a bankruptcy case is a legal course of action that puts your debt behind you so you can get a fresh start. This article will give you a short explainer on bankruptcy basics, including what types of cases you can file, how to file bankruptcy, and what to expect from the bankruptcy process.

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How Will Bankruptcy Affect My Professional License?

There are many benefits to filing bankruptcy, such as the automatic stay, which protects you until your debt is discharged. However, before getting the bankruptcy ball rolling, it’s important to consider how filing could affect other aspects of your life, including your career and professional qualifications. This article will discuss how bankruptcy will, and probably won’t, affect your professional license and what you should know before you file.

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Bankruptcy for Senior Citizens

Filing any bankruptcy can be a complicated process but filing bankruptcy as a senior citizen can be especially challenging. This article will discuss when bankruptcy may be right for seniors, the types of bankruptcy and debt relief alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.

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Telling your Creditors about Filing Bankruptcy

You don’t have to tell a creditor that you’re filing bankruptcy before you file. Doing so may or may not help you simmer down collection calls. Once your case is filed, the court notifies your creditors.

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Bankruptcy and Immigration

This article will address some common concerns that immigrants may have about filing bankruptcy, and illustrate that in the vast majority of cases, bankruptcy and immigration do not have an effect on one other. It will also explore the few situations wherein filing bankruptcy could have a negative effect on an immigration application.

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How A Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You Erase Debt

A personal bankruptcy lawyer can help you erase debts or you may choose to file bankruptcy on your own. Depending on the complexity of your situation and the type of bankruptcy you file, hiring a personal bankruptcy lawyer can be a great investment.

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The Small Business Reorganization Act: How Subchapter V Election Changes A Small Business Debtor’s Bankruptcy Filing

The SBRA creates a subchapter to Chapter 11 that is designed to allow small business debtors an alternative to large and expensive Chapter 11 cases. Electing Subchapter 5 removes many of the financial barriers and administrative burdens faced by small business debtors in a typical Chapter 11 case. While Subchapter 5 streamlines the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, you will still need an attorney to successfully complete this bankruptcy successfully, as it is a complicated process.

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Consumer Credit Counseling: What You Should Know

With an array of companies and organizations promising financial independence, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. As many continue to be financially affected in the midst of COVID-19, if you find yourself in unmanageable debt, or you’re just looking to work toward a fresh debt-free start, credit counseling may be a viable path for you.

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What Does Filing Bankruptcy Do?

The process of filing for bankruptcy can be a powerful tool if you’re hoping to get out of debt. Bankruptcy can erase credit card debt, medical bills, other types of unsecured debt, and can stop wage garnishments and other collection actions. The two most common types of consumer bankruptcy individuals and married couples file are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. In this article, we’ll explore both types of bankruptcy cases and how they can give families a financial fresh start.

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What Are The Penalties For Bankruptcy Fraud?

When filing for bankruptcy, you must list all your assets and liabilities. Failure to do so could result in violations of bankruptcy laws and serious consequences, whether it’s civil or criminal fraud.

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Should I File Bankruptcy? What Are My Options?

Filing for bankruptcy is a big decision. It’s important to understand what you stand to gain and lose by filing either type of bankruptcy.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect Child Support?

Whether you’re receiving or paying child support, a bankruptcy filing will not affect it. If you’re owed back child support, it’s an asset. If you’re the one paying child support and owe an arrearage, it’s considered an unsecured priority debt that is not dischargeable.

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Overdraft Protection and Bankruptcy

Whether you'll lose your overdraft protection depends on the type of protection you have.

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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.

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