Bankruptcy, Debt, Consumer Law

How do I know if I should consider filing for bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious matter that can have long-term effects on your credit rating and it should be considered carefully. Bankruptcy may be appropriate if the total amount of your unpaid bills is so high that repayment is unlikely or impossible in the foreseeable future; if a secured creditor is threatening foreclosure or repossession; if an unsecured creditor is threatening or has begun a lawsuit; creditors and collection agencies are calling frequently to collect on unpaid bills; and if your credit report is irretrievably damaged.
How do I know whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is right for me?
Typically, Chapter 7 bankruptcies erase more of a consumer’s debt and Chapter 7 filers can make a fresh start more quickly but they also lose more of their non-exempt assets (which have to be sold to pay some of the debt). Filers of Chapter 7 must also pass a “means test” before being allowed to file that way. Chapter 13 bankruptcies allow filers to keep most of their non-exempt assets and to pay off some portion of their debts over 3-5 years. Filers not eligible for Chapter 7 can usually file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
How long does the bankruptcy process take?
A chapter 7, no-asset case, with no adversary proceedings filed, can take about 100 days. A chapter 13 case typically takes 3-5 years until completion.
Will I have to pay income taxes on the discharged debt?
If someone acted as a cosigner for me, are they liable for my debts if I go through bankruptcy?
If you are filing Chapter 7, the cosigner will be liable. If the debt is a consumer debt and you are filing Chapter 13, then the co-signer may not be liable. Ask your attorney to clarify how a co-signer will be affected by your filing.
Can a married person file for Bankruptcy individually?
Yes. Married persons can file for bankruptcy either individually or jointly.
How long will my Credit Report reflect negative activity like Bankruptcy?
A consumer reporting company can report most accurate negative credit activity information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years.
Errors on my credit report have not been corrected with the credit reporting agency. What can I do?
It depends on your situation. You can visit the credit reporting sites for information about how to handle disputed errors but, if that has not worked, a consumer debt attorney could give you advice about how best to remedy the problem.