Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In West Virginia
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the court discharges your debts and you get a Fresh Start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation. A trustee is appointed to examine your assets and sell any assets which are not exempt. The net proceeds of the liquidation are then distributed to your creditors with a commission taken by the trustee overseeing the distribution. After the distribution any remaining debt is forgiven or discharged. Most Chapter 7 filers will be able to keep or exempt all their assets and receive a discharge and the creditors receive nothing.
Certain debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as alimony, child support, fraudulent debts, certain taxes and student loans. In the vast majority of cases this type of bankruptcy is able to completely eliminate all of the filers debts.
Reaffirmation agreements can be set aside during the earlier of 60 days after the agreement is filed with the Court, or upon the Courts issuance of the discharge. The lawyers at Pepper and Nason can guide you through this process and give advice to whether you should reaffirm such debts.
To find out if bankruptcy is right for you, please fill out a questionnaire at our Free Consultation Bankruptcy and Debt page or contact Pepper and Nason by calling us at 346-0361 today. There is no charge for the initial office visit.
Chapter 7 Will Do The Following For You:
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Law For Business
If your business is in financial distress you may want to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your business will have to stop operations and a Trustee will be appointed to analyze the businesss finances. The Trustee will decide if you can continue operations. The nonexempt assets of the business will then be sold to pay back the creditors.
It is not guaranteed that all employees will keep their jobs. If employees do need to be let go, the court allows for some wages to be paid during the bankruptcy process. A hierarchy of payment outline will be maintained by the trustee according to the Bankruptcy Code. Immediate payment priorities will include salary, commission, and wages. Once the liquidation process is over, the stakeholders will be informed. Then they can claim whatever leftovers are there for the business.
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Attend The Meeting Of Creditors
The 341 meeting of creditors and the hearing where all debtors must attend in a bankruptcy proceeding. The meeting often occurs between 21 and 50 days after filing the petition. It generally takes 10 to 15 minutes. The meeting is a recorded conversation between the trustee, your bankruptcy attorney, and yourself about the paperwork you filed. The bankruptcy trustee will ask questions to ensure that you understand the bankruptcy process.
Do Creditors Show Up?
Understand Virginia Court Locations
Many 341 meetings of creditors have been over the phone or over Zoom due to the pandemic. That said, you may want to see where the courthouse is in Virginia if there are any meetings that need to take place in person. Below are the court locations for filing bankruptcy based on the bankruptcy district.
- Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse < br> 401 Courthouse Square < br> Alexandria, VA 22314
- Walter E. Hoffman < br> United States Courthouse < br> 600 Granby Street < br> Norfolk, VA 23510
- Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Federal Courthouse < br> 701 East Broad Street < br> Richmond, VA 23219
- United States Courthouse < br> 2400 West Avenue < br> Newport News, VA 23607
- 180 W. Main Street < br> Room 104 < br> Abingdon, VA 24210
- 312 Cummings Street < br> Suite D < br> Abingdon, VA 24210
West Virginia Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you wipe out your debts and get a Fresh Start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation where the trustee collects all of your assets and sells any assets which are not exempt. The trustee sells the assets and pays you, the debtor, any amount exempted. The net proceeds of the liquidation are then distributed to your creditors with a commission taken by the trustee overseeing the distribution.
Certain debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as alimony, child support, fraudulent debts, certain taxes, student loans, and certain items charged. In most Chapter 7 cases, the debtor has large credit card debt and other unsecured bills and very few assets. In the vast majority of cases a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is able to completely eliminate all of these debts.
Reaffirmation agreements can be set aside during the earlier of 60 days after the agreement is filed with the Court, or upon the Courts issuance of an Order of Discharge.
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How To Determine If An Individual Has An Income Surplus To Repay The Debt Accrued
If your earnings exceed Virginias average income, which currently hovers around $66,262, the means tests calculations become more complex. You must then calculate how much of your income is available to pay off your debt. If this income surplus is extensive, you have failed the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test and cannot file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
It is important to note that determining the average level of income depend on the residential state and household size. It also depends on the petitioner’s city and/or county. The domestic location of the petitioner can greatly impact the acceptable means test amounts. For instance, wealthier counties in Virginia, such as Fairfax County, will naturally demand a higher cost of living than others, which may benefit your bankruptcy petition.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Law For Individuals
If you reside in, own property or a house in, or own a business in the United States, you can file a bankruptcy case. If you had a bankruptcy case dismissed within the last 6 months, you are prohibited from filing again. If you received a bankruptcy discharge in the previous 6 to 8 years then you cannot file again until that time period is over.
After filing the case, you can retain a part of exempt assets. The board of trustees will sell off your nonexempt property and deal with your creditors. The types of debts that wont be discharged include,
- Income taxes that are less than 3 years old
- Fines and restitution ordered by the court
- Loan for studies
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What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Virginia
Chapter 7 in the Bankruptcy Code refers to a legal process where debtors liquidate non-exempt properties to pay off creditors. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or liquidation case, the court appoints a bankruptcy trustee to oversee the sale of the debtors non-exempt properties. The bankruptcy trustee pays the proceeds to the creditors in order of priority. In most cases, the chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is a no-asset case since the debtor does not have enough non-exempt properties to repay creditors. Filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy helps to discharge unsecured debts like medical bills and credit card loans. However, debtors can not get relief from debts, such as alimony, child support, student loans, and fraudulent debts.
Virginia Legal Aid Organizations
If you donât feel comfortable filing bankruptcy on your own but you canât afford to hire a bankruptcy attorney, you have another option. You can contact one of Virginia’s legal aid organizations to get free or low-cost legal advice about your bankruptcy case. Legal aid organizations are nonprofits that help low-income Virginians with civil legal matters such as bankruptcy.
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What Should I Know About Personal Bankruptcy
When a consumer files for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed by a Virginia bankruptcy court to review the case and determine if there is any property that can be sold and distributed among the creditors. In most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, if the trustee determines that there is no property, a trustees report of no distribution is issued in the case.
Virginia Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost
Bankruptcy lawyers in Virginia typically charge fees of between $800 and $1,200, although the cost depends on how complicated your case is. More experienced bankruptcy attorneys tend to charge higher fees as well. While no one wants to pay attorney fees, it may be worth doing if your case is complicated. And remember, cost isnât the only thing to consider when hiring a lawyer. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free initial consultation.
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Determine Whether To Hire An Attorney To File Bankruptcy
Once you understand the cost, you can now determine whether to hire an attorney to file bankruptcy. Most attorneys will send you a retainer agreement that will outline the terms of the engagement. You will most likely need to submit information like pay stubs and tax returns for them to file the bankruptcy petition.
You may want to be aware of these 5 things when hiring a bankruptcy attorney. Also, you should consider whether you need to hire a bankruptcy lawyer by reviewing the pros and cons of hiring an attor.ey
How To File Bankruptcy For Free In Virginia
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In a Nutshell
Filing for bankruptcy doesnât have to be scary and confusing. We provide helpful tips and resources to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state without a lawyer.
Written byAttorney Andrea Wimmer.
Consumer debt in America has increased significantly in the past few years. Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, and theyâre saddled with debts on student loans, credit cards, medical bills, homes, or vehicles. If youâre facing significant debt and youâre worried you canât pay it, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy to get a financial fresh start.
Bankruptcy isnât the only approach to debt relief. You could alternatively sign up for a debt relief program and restructure your debts with a repayment plan. But this doesnât bring everyone the relief they need. Sometimes bankruptcy is the best choice. The good news is that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy isnât very complicated, and you donât have to hire a bankruptcy attorney to do it. Moreover, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process usually lasts between four to six months.
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What Is The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Virginia
The main difference between filing a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is in the outcome of the bankruptcy petition. For example, chapter 7 bankruptcy leads to the liquidation of the debtors assets to offset most unsecured debts. In contrast, debtors filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy petition get to retain all assets while paying off creditors from future earnings. The other differences between chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy include the following:
- There is no debt requirement for filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, while the debtors must meet the debt requirement before filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy
- In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, co-signers to the debtors loan are liable to pay part of the loan. On the other hand, a chapter 13 bankruptcy protects all co-signers from paying a debtors loans.
- Individuals must earn less than the states median income level before filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. In contrast, only those with a higher disposable income are eligible to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Vs Chapter 13
Property exemptions do not play a role in all personal bankruptcies, only those conducted under Chapter 7. The other type of personal bankruptcy is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where you can often keep most of your assets.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are also known as âliquidation” bankruptcies because you must turn over all of the property not protected by an exemption to a bankruptcy trustee. The bankruptcy trustee will then sell the property and use the proceeds to repay your creditors.
In return for giving up your non-exempt property, you will exit Chapter 7 bankruptcy free from nearly all of your debts. Unfortunately, not everyone who declares bankruptcy can take advantage of Chapter 7. You will need to show that your income is low enough to qualify.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets people who have a steady income reorganize most of their debt and pay it off over three to five years under a court-approved plan that may also eliminate some of your debt. Chapter 13 is popular with homeowners because they can often keep their homes.
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Understand Alternatives To File Bankruptcy
There are many bankruptcy alternatives to consider. We will cover the two most common alternatives, but you can find more in our bankruptcy alternatives article. As a reference, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the least expensive and the shortest.
Debt settlement is also known as debt negotiation, debt relief, or a debt consolidation program . In debt settlement, a company or you will negotiate with your creditors for a lower amount. You can save money and avoid filing bankruptcy. You may also be exposed to lawsuits, so its important to understand which creditors are likely to sue. A debt settlement programs often last 2 – 5 years.
Debt management is also known as credit counseling. In debt management, a company will negotiate with your creditors for a lower percentage interest rate. You can save money on interest and avoid filing bankruptcy. Debt management can be more expensive than debt settlement and Chapter 13. Debt management programs often last 5 years.
West Virginia Bankruptcy Exemptions
The laws that protect your property from the trustee are often referred to as the Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions. In practice, exemption laws apply to any West Virginia bankruptcy case. If you have lived in the Mountain State for at least 2 years when your case is filed, you have to use the West Virginia bankruptcy exemptions to protect your assets. Anything that is not protected by one of these exemptions can be sold for the benefit of your creditors as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in West Virginia.
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Exceptions To The Means Test
There are three situations where passing the Means Test is not mandatory to be eligible for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If the majority of your debt is Non-consumer debt, or debt that was accrued resulting from a business aspect, you do not have to take the Means Test. Consumer debt is defined as a debt incurred by an individual for primarily personal, family, or household purposes. Anything else is non-consumer debt.
So What’s Considered Consumer Debt?
If the money was used for personal expenses, it’s likely to be considered consumer debt. Therefore purchases for household appliances, personal items, and money spent on anything non-business would be considered consumer debt.
Disabled veterans that have a disability rating of at least 30% and the majority of debts occured while on active duty, do not have to take the Means Test to be eligible to file chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Members of the military reserve or national guard for the time they are on active duty or performing homeland defense activities for at least 90 days.
What Is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy In Virginia
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is referred to as reorganization bankruptcy since it enables debtors to reorganize debts and repay creditors within a set time frame. Bankruptcy courts appoint debtors as trustees and allow them to decide the best possible way of repaying their debts. Thus, debtors may opt to liquidate their assets to pay creditors or remain in business while repaying the loans over a set period. Debtors filing for a chapter 11 bankruptcy in Virginia must file monthly operating reports and list expected future earnings with the bankruptcy court – this enables creditors to assess the debtors assets, income, and expenses after the bankruptcy petition.
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Your Car After A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
People who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are usually able to keep their cars if they are able to maintain payments on them. In some situations, however, a bank or car dealership may ask for you to sign a reaffirmation agreement.
However, these agreements are not always in your best interest, especially if the debt on a car is more than the cars equity.
Our lawyers can review the specifics of your situation and advise you as to whether or not you should sign a reaffirmation agreement in Virginia.