What types of bankruptcy cases does your firm deal with?
Our firm routinely files cases under Chapter 13 (individual reorganization) and Chapter 7 (individual and business liquidation) of the United States Bankruptcy Code. We also file cases under Small Business Chapter 11 under Subchapter V (small business reorganization) to help put small businesses back on track to profitability as of February of 2020. We also handle matters under Chapter 11 which concern businesses and sometimes debtors with debt loads too high to file under Chapter 13.
Why should I choose Daniel C. Jenkins for my case?
Read our reviews and you will see the personal attention our firm applies to your individual case. Beyond individualized attention, we apply many years of specialized bankruptcy law experience. When you are our client, you are in direct contact with our staff and your attorney nearly 24-hours a day. We do return your emails and we do answer your calls.
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is not the first choice, but is often the last and best choice, to responsibly deal with debt obligations which have become too large or too immediate to manage. The United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4) authorizes Congress to enact "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States". Congress has enacted such laws since the founding of our country to provide for the resolution of debts for both individuals and businesses.
What are the main differences between chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 is a fresh start plan that allows individuals to repay certain debts over a period of 36 to 60 months. Chapter 13 provides a menu of tools that include repayment of mortgage arrearages which your creditor currently refuses to accept; reduction of monthly car payments; repayment of domestic support obligations (child support and alimony); repayment over time of unpaid state and federal taxes; avoidance of judgment liens; surrender of un-needed and un-wanted secured loans; elimination of credit card and medical debt, and more. Chapter 7 is an organized liquidation which typically results in a discharge from most debt obligations within approximately 120-days from filing and a release of the debtor's personal and real property back into the control of the debtor. Both individuals and businesses can file under Chapter 7. Chapter 7 does not mean you necessarily loose your vehicle, clothes, jewelry, home or otherwise. For instance, if you are current on your mortgage and car payment it may be best to reaffirm those debts and continue with those payments while being discharge of your debt obligations on all or nearly all of your other debts. Chapter 11 and Chapter 10 (coming February 2020) are predominately for business reorganization without the 60-month limitation and other limitations found under Chapter 13. Chapter 11 and Chapter 10 allow for repayment of secured and unsecured debts over greater periods of time and under terms which make sense given the commercial needs of businesses. Business bankruptcies are more complicated and have greater reporting requirements, but also provide an opportunity for greater creativity and flexibility.
How do I know which bankruptcy to file?
Knowing the right chapter of bankruptcy to file is highly fact dependent. Based on your income, types of creditors, desire to retain or surrender certain collateral, existence of a second mortgage or homeowner's association the answer could be different. And, what we would like to file is not always an option. For instance, individuals may desire to file under Chapter 7 (usually overall less expensive and quicker), but the "means test" prevents higher wage earning individuals from filing Chapter 7 if their gross household income viewed over the trailing six-month period exceeds the median income for their area. There is no one-size-fits-all to bankruptcy. Once you have fully disclose your circumstances and objectives we will advise you what options are available and discuss the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision.
Can I represent myself for my bankruptcy case?
Individuals have a right to file bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney. It is not unusual to see debtors attempt to file without an attorney ("pro se") and come to us after they learn that the process is too complicated to proceed on their own. If you have filed without an attorney or filed with an attorney that did not best serve your needs, we are here to untangle the mess. Corporations are required to be represented by an attorney.
Why should I hire an attorney to file my bankruptcy case?
An experienced attorney familiar with bankruptcy law, state law, and the local application of law and local rules is essential. There is a reason why only a relative handful of attorneys practice bankruptcy - it is complicated and often counter intuitive. In fact, it would be unwise for an attorney to represent themselves in such a matter.
Won't I lose all of my property if I file bankruptcy?
No! In fact, the purpose of filing most bankruptcies is to keep all of your property. Chapter 13 is most often selected because we are attempting to save a home, car, or other property from foreclosure or repossession. Chapter 13 provides an opportunity to redirect monthly income to the saving of your home and means of transportation. Further, state and federal law provide "exemptions" for various classes of personal and real property which protects the vast majority of clients' property from either liquidation or non-exempt equity exposure.
What will happen to my assets once I file?
In most cases, nothing happens to your assets. Those assets are disclosed and most often claimed as fully exempt from the reach of the trustee. The filing of a bankruptcy does create an estate comprised of all of your assets, but in most cases your assets remain in your possession. You become the "debtor in possession" of the property that makes up the bankruptcy estate. There are some exceptions to this general rule and such a possibility would be examined by your attorney prior to filing.
I have already filed for bankruptcy and my case got denied. Can I file again?
A new case can be filed despite a prior case pending in the prior twelve months. The automatic stay will be extended and remain in place if the court can be shown a substantial change in circumstances from the prior case that failed to the new case such that the new case is likely to be confirmed and succeed. A substantial change in circumstance exists when we see an increase in income, a decrease in expenses, a combination, and/or a resolution of a personal matter such as a health issue which will make a significant impact.
I'm married - does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy too?
No. There is almost no additional cost for a spouse to join the case, but a spouse is not required to file.
Are my creditors still allowed to contact me once I file for bankruptcy?
No. Upon filing the federal automatic stay goes into place. Creditors are to immediately stop all attempts to collect their debt. Most creditors are aware of your case being filed almost immediately. If a creditor does continue to contact you after they know or should know you have filed they can be ordered to pay penalties for those violations. The filing of a bankruptcy is intended to result in either an organized liquidation or reorganization. Harassing collection calls do not facilitate either objective and are not permitted while you are under bankruptcy protection. If a creditor continues to contact you after you have filed, document those contacts and inform your attorney.
Will all of my debts be discharged?
Debts which are commonly not discharged concern most taxes (but not all), domestic support obligations, and student loans.
Can I apply for credit cards after filing for bankruptcy?
You may not obtain new debt while in your bankruptcy without obtaining court permission. The court often approves requests for new loans concerning the purchase of a vehicle, home repairs, and medical needs. Court approval for a credit card is not likely to be granted.
Will I ever be able to get a loan after filing for bankruptcy?
Yes! Clients often obtain new loans while in bankruptcy. The real question is when you will qualify for a loan at or near a prime interest rate. A good credit rating is essential to obtaining credit at a competitive interest rate. We never suggest rebuilding your credit with the use of a credit card. Even the secured credit cards are to be avoided. However, months and years of timely payments to a quality secured creditor is a major step to increasing your credit scores. The intent and design of bankruptcy is not to cripple your ability to obtain credit in the future. Rather, Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 are intended to facilitate a "fresh start" in your credit life. The challenge following a bankruptcy discharge is not obtaining new credit. The challenge is avoiding repeated mistakes and high interest loans. The path to the purchase of a new home or car may require a fresh start that only bankruptcy can provide, but there is no substitute for starting a new track record of prompt payments to your secured creditors and no missed payments going forward.
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