Going through financial hardship can be stressful and embarrassing. Drowning in debts and unpayable bills can put a strain on both your family life and your personal reputation. Thankfully, the law provides tools and resources to help people who find themselves caught in an unsustainable financial situation. One of the most powerful of these tools is bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy experts at Steele Law Firm, PLLC, are ready to help you navigate through the Texas bankruptcy process to see the most successful outcome possible. Working out of our main offices in Fort Worth, the Denton debt attorneys at Steele Law Firm, PLLC, are pleased to serve Denton, TX and all surrounding areas.
The debt and bankruptcy experts at Steele Law Firm, PLLC, are ready to assist you in using the legal tools available to all citizens to see you through a tough financial situation. There are several different types of bankruptcy proceedings, called "chapters," and which procedure you go through will depend on the exact circumstances of your situation.
This is the fastest form of bankruptcy, and typically the simplest. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the person (or business entity) filing for bankruptcy has all their assets sold off, with the proceeds going towards their debts. The result is that some or all of their debts are discharged, often for less than the actual amount outstanding on the account.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers may get to keep some essential assets that they need to maintain a day-to-day standard of living. This can include things like clothes and daily-use vehicles. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process is finished once the assets have been liquidated and the debts have been discharged. There is no long-term repayment plan involved in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Because of how it works, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also sometimes called “liquidation bankruptcy.”
The potential downsides to Chapter 7 bankruptcy are:
This is a special form of bankruptcy, often called “reorganizing bankruptcy,” which is usually reserved for use by corporations, partnerships, or other complex organizations. Sometimes, Chapter 11 can be leveraged by an individual within an organization, but it is nearly always associated with some kind of business venture or partnership.
The main goal of most Chapter 11 proceedings is to allow a business to continue with normal operations (or a scaled-back version of operations, if that is more realistic) while debts are restructured and addressed. This often involves restructuring financial liabilities and arranging long-term payment plans with creditors.
The potential downsides to Chapter 11 bankruptcy are:
This form of bankruptcy is commonly used by individuals who have an income but who find themselves in an unsustainable situation due to mounting debts. This form of bankruptcy allows the filer to keep more of their personal property and assets, but the trade-off is that they will have to enter into a long-term repayment plan (typically lasting three or five years, similar to a car loan).
One of the most attractive aspects of the Chapter 13 process is that it protects homes from foreclosure while the terms of the mortgage are restructured so that repayment can resume. Once a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, all debt collections cease, and repayment activity is mediated through a trustee that brokers agreements between the party making the payments and their creditors.
The potential downsides to Chapter 13 bankruptcy are:
If any of the following situations apply to you, it may be time to contact the bankruptcy team at Steele Law Firm, PLLC:
A: As with any other legal case, the cost of representation in a bankruptcy proceeding will depend on several factors. These include how complex your case is, how much time in court is required, and the quality of your representation. Because Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually the quickest and most straightforward path through bankruptcy, attorney fees tend to be significantly lower than they are in other types of bankruptcy cases.
A: Yes. In fact, retaining the services of an experienced bankruptcy attorney from Steele Law Firm, PLLC, is one of the best ways to see a positive outcome to your bankruptcy case. While you are certainly free to attempt to navigate the bankruptcy process on your own, a lawyer can be an invaluable resource for negotiating with creditors and keeping in-court processes on track.
A: Bankruptcy is a federal program, so the rules are generally the same from state to state. In Texas, as elsewhere, you can only access federal Chapter 7 once every eight years. This means that you must commit to living within your means and meticulous financial planning in the aftermath of a successful Chapter 7 filing.
A: Because bankruptcy is a federal program, the qualifications for each bankruptcy process will largely be the same throughout the country. The qualifications for the Chapter 7 bankruptcy program include income limits and means testing. Your qualifying income level will be based on a 60-month average and compared against the median income levels in your area. Certain protected classes, such as disabled veterans, are exempt from means testing.
If you are ready to free yourself from an impossible financial situation, the bankruptcy experts at Steele Law Firm, PLLC, are ready to help. We have intimate experience with all forms of bankruptcy and the Texas courts that handle bankruptcy cases. Contact us today for a consultation.