Bankruptcy And Your Assets
Will I be able to keep my home?
Answer: Generally speaking you should be able to keep your home in a chapter 13 if you can continue with your monthly mortgage payments. If you are already in arrears on your payments, then you need to negotiate an arrangement with creditors to make it current. With chapter 7, if you have a sufficient amount of equity in your home then the trustee may decide to sell your home and use the proceeds to pay back your creditors.There is a homestead exemption in the state of Maryland that allows you to exempt $22,975 of your home or real property. As a practical matter, you would typically need to have equity in your home that exceeds the exemption amount to make it worthwhile for the trustee to sell.
Will I be able to keep my car?
Answer: Most individuals find they can keep their car when filing.
If I file for bankruptcy will I lose everything?
Answer: No, you will not lose everything. Exemptions permit some property and assets to be exempted and protected. In the state of Maryland, the state outlines exemptions on what you can keep in a chapter 7. In chapter 13, the exemptions factor into how much you repay your creditors.
Will I lose my pension or retirement savings if I file for bankruptcy?
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The United States Government has set up Bankruptcy courts and laws to help citizens and businesses find solutions to pay their creditors. Such courts and laws are set up to protect people on both sides of the equation so that the best possible solution can be found. Currently, there are three main chapters of Bankruptcy Code, which are Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a way to discharge all of your insecure debts . Chapter 7 involves a liquidation process where a trustee will collect all of your assets and sell any non-exempt assets. The trustee will then pay you and the debtor any amount exempted. The net proceeds of the liquidation are divided up and paid to your creditors, minus a fee owed to the trustee.
Chapter 7 doesnt allow you to discharge all of your debts. Some debts that you cannot discharge include but are not limited to:
- Most student loans
Filing For Bankruptcy Yourself
You don’t have an attorney to file for bankruptcy. But it isn’t always a good idea to go it your own, either. Whether it would be in your best interest to hire a lawyer typically depends on:
- whether you can afford an attorney, and
- how comfortable you are with researching the necessary legal information and representing yourself.
In many cases, if you have little or no income or property, you might be able to file a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own. The instructions on the official bankruptcy forms are straightforward, which makes them relatively simple to complete. However, the forms don’t explain what will happen in your case.
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Protecting Assets On Marylands Exemption List
Filing bankruptcy doesnt mean giving up all your property. While you may not be able to protect everything, what you can protect depends on . With Chapter 7, the assigned trustee will sell any nonexempt property. If you file Chapter 13, you wont lose property, but you will have to pay the value of the property to your creditors as part of your repayment plan. Common bankruptcy exemptions in Maryland include:
- Owner-occupied real estate
- Personal injury, wrongful death, or lost future earnings awards
- Personal property
Finding Pro Bono Attorneys
It’s common in the legal profession for attorneys to provide a certain amount of free services to low-income individuals. And many bankruptcy attorneys cut fees drastically for clients who qualify for a bankruptcy fee waiver.
To find a local pro bono attorney, consult with different lawyers in your area or contact your county or state bar. Or visit the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Bankruptcy Resources webpage.
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Can I File Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer
Yes, you can legally file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. But should you?
Every year, thousands of Americans find themselves too broke to pay off their debts, yet unable to afford bankruptcy. It probably comes as no surprise that attorneys’ fees make up the lion’s share of bankruptcy expenses. So you might be wondering, “Do I really need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?”
It largely depends on how complex your case is. If you own little property and don’t make a lot of money, it might be possible to file bankruptcy pro se . But while filing for bankruptcy on your own can save you money, it’s a serious undertaking. You’ll have to pull together all of your financial documentation, file a lot of paperwork on time, and communicate with your bankruptcy trustee. You’ll also need to take the time to understand the state and federal laws that apply.
In this section, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a few tips to help make the process as simple and painless as possible.
File The Bankruptcy Petition
If you have not yet hired a bankruptcy lawyer, now might be the best time to do so. Although legal services are not mandatory for anyone filing bankruptcy, choosing to represent yourself can be risky. To file a bankruptcy petition successfully, you must understand federal, and state laws, and you need to know which ones apply to your bankruptcy case. Judges, and court employees, are not permitted to give guidance.
There are also numerous bankruptcy forms to fill out, as well as some significant differences between Chapters 7, and 13 that you must be aware of when making any decisions. If you do not understand or follow the correct guidelines, and practices in court, it may have a grave impact on the outcome of your case. You also run the risk of the trustee seizing and selling your property if you do not seek legal counsel.
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Avoid Complicated Chapter 7 Cases And All Chapter 13 Bankruptcies
If you have a complicated Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if you are considering filing a Chapter 13 case, you’ll want to hire an attorney. These types of bankruptcy cases have many pitfalls for self-represented debtors and are a lot harder to complete on your own. In fact, most attorneys who don’t practice bankruptcy law regularly will not file bankruptcy cases. There’s too much risk of making an error.
Will A Federal Court Enforce An Immigration Support Affidavit Against A Husband While A Divorce Is Pending In Virginia
Not in the case of Wigley v. Wigley, 17CV0425 , where the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke abstained from considering wifes action to enforce an I-864 Affidavit of Support against her husband. While the case does not directly concern bankruptcy, it illustrates the principles underlying the tension between federal and state court jurisdiction in family law matters.
The parties were married for five years before separating. Wife had been a citizen of China and Husband was a U.S. citizen. Husband executed an I-864 Affidavit of Support as the sponsor of Wifes petition for a change of residency to a permanent resident alien, commonly known as a green card status. In the Affidavit of Support, the sponsor agrees to support the petitioner at an income level of at least 125% of the U.S. poverty rate for 40 quarters to prevent the petitioner from becoming a public ward.
When the parties separated, Wife applied for and obtained spousal support in the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for her county. Husband subsequently filed for a divorce in the Virginia Circuit Court for the county where they had resided. Wife then filed for enforcement of Husbands Affidavit of Support in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Husband filed a motion to dismiss Wifes action.
How is bankruptcy law different from immigration law in the context of a divorce?
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How Soon After A Chapter 7 Can I Buy A House
After a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can usually buy a house no more than two years after bankruptcy. In rare circumstances, some lenders will extend that to three years.
If you wait more than two years, the bankruptcy will be discharged. At that point, any debts that were discharged in the bankruptcy will be invalid, and lenders will again consider you a risky borrower.
In the rare event where the lender does not give a normal two-year restriction, its most likely because the lender is making the restriction up. No lender is going to decide, Im going to let you buy a home after 2 years, but Im going to charge you 30 percent interest.
There are two possibilities for why a lender might make a longer time restriction.
If a lender is bluffing, it doesnt really matter how long you have to wait before you can buy a home. The lender is bluffing because it has to, because if you or the seller makes any move, the lender will find out. Except, of course, that in the real world, nobody pays attention.
If a lenders mistake is letting you buy a home more than 2 years after bankruptcy, dont blame the lenders. Lenders dont know. They rely on credit reporting agencies to tell them whether or not someone has been bankrupt. If a mistake is made, they wont know.
So, if your house purchase has been delayed, find out whether the lender is bluff
What is the minimum amount of debt for Chapter 7?
Filing Bankruptcy Maryland Without Lawyer
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Filing Bankruptcy Maryland Without Lawyer
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Laurel Md Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney
A Chapter 11 is a reorganization bankruptcy filing and while it is geared primarily for businesses, it may be very useful for certain individuals with sizeable debts and assets who do not meet the strict asset/debt limitations of a Chapter 13 filing… Read more about filing a Maryland Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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.
- 129 E. Main Street, Rm. 104Salisbury, MD 21803 962-2600
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How Do I Know If I Qualify For Chapter 7
A bankruptcy lawyer will access several things about your financial situation before they will provide legal advice. The bankruptcy attorney will need to know how much your income is and what type of assets you have including real estate holdings before they can determine which type of consumer bankruptcy chapter would be best for you. Most bankruptcy attorneys evaluate whether you should file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 based upon several factors and a review of your legal documents.
What Kind Of Debts Do You Have
The first thing we will look at is what types of debt you have and whether filing bankruptcy is the best remedy for you. Bankruptcy is most helpful to people with unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical bills, because these kind of debts are dischargeable. You can potentially walk away from them completely. Secured debts are those which are tied to a specific item as collateral. Most often this is a house or a car, where the house or car serves as collateral for the mortgage or car loan. A Chapter 13 case may be more beneficial to you if you have secured debt.
There are also debts which are non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy case. Non-dischargeable debts include things like child support, alimony, most tax debt, etc. If the bulk of your debts are non-dischargeable a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not offer the relief you are seeking.
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Dealing With Your Car
Your car plays not one but two parts in your Maryland bankruptcy case. First, everything you own, including your car, is considered an asset that must be disclosed on your Schedule A/B. If you own the car outright, then everything stays the same as long as the car’s value is less than the exemption you can claim on your Schedule C. If you have a car loan that you are still paying on when filing Chapter 7 in Maryland, you can decide how you want to handle it. If a review of your budget makes it clear that you won’t be able to afford the vehicle, even after you are relieved from having to pay your other debts, you should surrender the vehicle. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for future financial hardship. If the loan is affordable, and the car in good condition, you can choose to keep everything basically the same by entering into a reaffirmation agreement. Finally, some folks filing Chapter 7 in Maryland are able to get out of a bad car loan for a good car through a process called redemption, where they make a lump sum payment in an amount equal to the value of the vehicle. This is particularly useful if you originally traded in a car with a loan balance left on it, and rolled that negative equity into this loan, but it does require you to come up with a significant amount of money shortly after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland is filed.
Considering Filing Bankruptcy On Your Own In Pa Youll Need To Know All Thisand More:
- Is bankruptcy the right move for you?
- Do you financially need to file bankruptcy? If so
- Should you file under Chapter 7 or under Chapter 13?
- Can you properly fill in all the answers to the questions on all of the bankruptcy schedules?
- Can you fill in the type and value on the schedule of assets, the legal document describing your bank accounts, cameras, jewelry, cars, retirement plans, collectibles, computers, guns, jewelry, retirement accounts, life insurance, personal injury cases, security deposits, property you gave someone else, and many other qualifying items?
- Can you complete a schedule of debts, including priority, secured, and unsecured debts, and the proper classification of each debt?
- Do you know the allowed exemptions for the property you own?
- Should you use Pennsylvania or Federal bankruptcy exemptions?
- Can you complete the means test? That requires scheduling your last six months income as defined by law and testing to see if you are under the Pennsylvania Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy means test or does your income fall over the means test.
- Schedules of all Income and all Expenses
- Can you complete a Statement of Financial Affairs covering the past several years?
- Have you complied with the pre-bankruptcy filing requirements?
- Have you complied with the post-bankruptcy debtor education course?
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Meet With A Bankruptcy Attorney
Even though it’s possible to handle your own Chapter 7 bankruptcy, bankruptcy is a complicated area of law, and many filers find it challenging to avoid unexpected pitfalls. Even if you can’t afford an attorney, it’s in your best interest to talk to a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer before filing your case. Most attorneys provide free consultations and can provide you with valuable information about the bankruptcy process, the type of bankruptcy you should file, and the problems you could face.
If you’re considering filing for Chapter 13, representation is a must. The courts strongly recommend hiring an attorney because the vast majority of filers are unable to complete a Chapter 13 plan without help.
District Of Maryland Requirements
If you did not receive any paycheck stubs in the 60 days before filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland, you have to file a statement under penalty of perjury to inform the court of the reason why you did not comply with this requirement. If you do not file this form or provide the paycheck stubs to your trustee, the bankruptcy court can, after a 14-day notice, dismiss your case for failure to comply with all Maryland bankruptcy laws and procedures. The same thing will happen if you do not submit your most recent federal income tax return to the trustee prior to your 341 meeting.
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