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Frequently Asked Questions
As A Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney We Want To Answer Your Questions
Do I need to file bankruptcy?
As a Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney we want to give you the necessary guidance in determining if you need to file for bankruptcy. Deciding whether you need to file bankruptcy is situation specific. After finding out the amount of your debt, your employment situation, and your monthly expenses, we can advise you as to whether bankruptcy is the right option for you. As a Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney we want to advise you that bankruptcy is not always the best solution, and often the timing of filing a bankruptcy needs to be carefully planned. We will honestly evaluate your situation and discuss with you your options. How much does filing bankruptcy cost?
The Hanson & Hanson Law Firm PLLC offers a Free Initial Consultation for everyone in every case. You will have the opportunity to make monthly payments towards your bankruptcy filing, and will not have to make a lump sum payment if your budget does not allow it.
Chapter 7: Court costs, or filing fees are $335.00. There are two required credit counseling sessions, one to be taken before the case can be filed with the Court, and the second mandatory Debtor Education course which is taken after the case is filed. (Free if you are on Social Security Disability) The courses can be taken online and cost around $10.00 each. Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorneys fees vary depending upon your particular case. Generally a Chapter 7 will cost $1,500.00 unless it is a business filing, which is more expensive. Clients usually make payments towards their fees and costs overtime, but the majority of the fee will be required before filing.
Chapter 13: The Court Costs right now are $310.00 to file a Chapter 13 and there is a mandatory credit counseling session before you can file. The Court sets all attorneys fees in Chapter 13 cases to make sure they are fair and reasonable. Right now the Northern District Bankruptcy Court has set fees at $2,500.00 for a chapter 13 case. That does not all have to be paid in advance of getting the court’s protection from your creditors. We can usually start your Chapter 13 with the Court Costs paid in advance, and $1,200.00 towards attorneys fees down, depending upon the circumstances of your case. We can explain that further when you meet with a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney from our office for your free consultation.
How Can I Pay For A Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney If I Cannot Even Pay My Bills?
We don’t expect you to be able to pay everything up front, however if you can do that we may give you a special rate. As a Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney we allow our clients to make payments to us before and after we file. we typically will need at least half down, and then you can pay the rest over time. Furthermore, once you decide to go ahead and file bankruptcy, and you have retained an Tulsa bankruptcy attorney, your attorney will then advise you to stop paying on your debts that will be discharged through the bankruptcy. Because you will no longer have to be making payments on debts you will be getting rid of in the bankruptcy, your disposable income will like increase.________________________________________________________________________________________
How are the fees paid?
In most Chapter 7 cases, you can retain the Hanson & Hanson Law Firm for half down. This is a non-refundable retainer or deposit. The rest of the fee can be paid overtime through a payment plan worked out on an individual basis. In some rare cases however, Hanson & Hanson bankruptcy attorneys may request that the entire fee and costs be paid in full prior to filing your case and getting you the protection of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. What are these credit counseling sessions?
As a Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney we must advise you that you do two credit counseling sessions. The first one is done before we can even file your case with the Court. It takes an hour, and you can do it over the internet, on the telephone, or in person. You must complete this session and provide us with a certificate of completion before we can file your case. This is one of the requirements put in place by Congress in 2005 under the new bankruptcy laws. www.abacuscc.org Shortly after your case is filed, you must do another credit counseling session. As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must advise you that failure to do this second session, will result in your case being closed without receiving the all important discharge of your debts! These courses are no more than $50.00 each if taken over the telephone, but cheaper if you can complete them over the internet. You can pay for the courses on the internet using a debit card.
As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must advise you that you must use a credit counseling agency that has been approved by the Office of the U.S. Trustee. Do I have to lose any of my property?
It depends. Your Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney’s job is to help you keep as much of your property as possible. We can visit with you about property that is exempt from liquidation by statute, and visit with you about any of your property that we think may be at risk.
However, as a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must advise you must that losing property is a risk when filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The Tulsa bankruptcy attorneys at Hanson & Hanson Law Firm will work hard to make sure you keep as much of your property as possible.
What about my future credit?
Your credit score will likely not suffer and it may actually improve. Part of the reason why your score isn’t likely to suffer is that most debtors have low credit scores due to debt to asset ratios and collections. According to Rod Griffin, a spokesman for Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, he says that “In virtually every instance, the consumer will already have repayment problems such as late payments, very high balances, charged-off accounts or collection accounts,” because of this, some consumers may even see a slight boost in their credit scores after filing bankruptcy, according to John Ulzheimer, president of Credit.com Educational Services, a consumer credit education group, “Why? To start with, your credit report is largely wiped clean when you declare bankruptcy. Your high balances are removed as are any late payments or records of unpaid debts. Instead, the accounts included in the bankruptcy will be marked as “Included in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” or “Included in Chapter 13 Wage Earner Plan,” depending on which type of bankruptcy you filed. Both types of bankruptcy affect your credit score in the same way, according to Ulzheimer. Granted, you aren’t likely to see a big jump — but if you’ve just been scraping by, your score isn’t likely to fall much further.”
Can I keep my car and a credit card?
Yes, you can keep your car in most instances, so long as you keep paying for it, and keep it insured. Oklahoma allows you to exempt up to 7,500 dollars of equity for those filing as a single person and 15,000 dollars for those filing jointly. If you are making monthly payments, it is unlikely that you will have more than the allowed amount of equity in your vehicle.
As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must advise you that keeping your credit card is another matter. This is up to the creditor. Many times, a creditor will be pleased to let you keep the card, so long as you keep paying them. As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must tell you that it is not recommended that you keep a credit card. This option is only possible if your card has a $0 balance. You will be able to get a new credit card after your bankruptcy if you would like one for the purpose of purchasing things online or for your convenience. Why keep paying on debt when the purpose of a bankruptcy is to get a fresh start? As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must tell the judge everyone you owe money to, even though you want to keep paying some of your debts. You are free to pay anyone you wish, but you must disclose all to the Court.
How can I re-establish my credit and get a house after bankruptcy?
Many people who have filed bankruptcy later went on to buy a home. The important thing is to start making payments on time after you file bankruptcy. Future lenders want to see that you can pay your bills on time. That is how you will re-establish your credit. Perhaps you will begin with a debit card at your bank, or with your car loan. As a rule of thumb, you can typically qualify for a home loan two years after filing bankruptcy.What about taxes and student loans?
As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we must advise you that some taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy, if they are income taxes, and you did file the returns on time, and they were filed more than three years and eight months prior to your bankruptcy filing. If you filed late, they must have been filed more than two years ago.
Student loans can be discharged only by showing undue hardship, but this is a very high burden and requires special proceedings beyond your bankruptcy petition. While difficult it is not impossible. Even if you qualify it can be very expensive to discharge student debts. In order to discharge them you must file an adversarial proceeding, which is basically like filing a lawsuit against your creditor. The cost is typically over $5,000.
What if I have a co-signer?
You must let us know whether you want to protect your co-signer or not. With Chapter 13 we can force the creditor to accept payments that are lower than you must pay now and still protect your co-signers. There is no co-signer protection with Chapter 7. What about parking tickets?
We can get your car unbooted very quickly but parking violations are not dischargeable in Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 you will pay a portion of your debts and any tickets you have will be paid through your payment plan to the court. Will I have to go to court?
In every case, there is at least one appearance that you must make at the office of the U.S. Trustee. The Trustee is appointed in each bankruptcy case to administer the case for the judge. This meeting does not take place in a courtroom, and a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney is with you at all times. The meeting is called a Section 341 meeting or the “Meeting of Creditors”, and it is held at the office of the U.S. Trustee. Your attorney will take care of you during the meeting. You have already gone over all the details with an attorney and had your case personally reviewed by an attorney. There will be no surprises at the meeting.
As A Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney We Will Advise You That Not All Debts Are Discharged In BankruptcyThere are a few debts that cannot be wiped out. Child support, alimony, student loans, income taxes for recent years, parking tickets, fraudulently acquired credit, or judgments arising from accidents involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In a Chapter 7, these debts are not discharged. These debts will be paid back in full using Chapter 13.
How do I know if bankruptcy is right for me?
You should take advantage of your free consultation with a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney to go over your financial affairs in detail, without any obligation. Obtaining information will help you make and informed decision. Read, investigate, and learn all you can. The pressure put on you by your creditors will help you decide. Are you robbing Peter to pay Paul? Not sleeping at night? Are the creditors calling you at all hours, even at work? Are you using credit cards to pay other credit cards? These are the warning signals that your finances are getting out of control and you must pay attention. No one wants to file bankruptcy. Is there another solution, realistically? How long can you work two jobs? How long will it take you to get out of debt paying as you are now? Do you have health insurance? What are your priorities?
As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we will refer you to a reputable credit counseling company if you would like to discuss your options with them before you decide. You must be aware that they often are prejudiced in favor of your paying credit card debts rather than mortgages and car notes, because they receive their funding from the credit card companies. Only you can set your priorities. Keep that in mind as you make your decision. As a Tulsa bankruptcy attorney we will give you the information you need, but ultimately you must decide what is best for you.