Discharging Debts For Individuals And Companies Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Sometimes situations beyond your control can profoundly impact your earning potential and lead to overwhelming debt. If you find yourself unable to pay your bills, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. Designed to give debtors a fresh start, Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives you and your spouse relief from debts. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, creditors must immediately stop collection efforts, including harassing letters and phone calls.
For decades, individuals in the Raleigh-Durham area have put their trust and financial futures in the hands of Janvier Law Firm, PLLC. Offering more than 30 years of combined experience in personal and business bankruptcy, our attorneys offer a combination of compassion and professionalism that leaves our clients feeling absolutely sure they made the right financial and legal decision.
A Closer Look At Chapter 7
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, the debtor seeks to be relieved from the responsibility to pay his debts. In exchange for having the debts discharged, the debtor must give up any property that is not protected or “exempted” from the Chapter 7 trustee. The property the debtor exempts is free from the claims of all pre-bankruptcy creditors.
The bankruptcy trustee then gathers and sells the debtor’s nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay the creditors in accordance with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. In order to qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must pass a “means test.” This test prevents a debtor from filing if he has the ability to pay his debts. In most of the Chapter 7 cases our office files, all of our client’s property is exempt, so the client gives up no property.
Helping Eligible Debtors Through The Means Test
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, if your debts are primarily consumer debts, you must satisfy the code’s means test, which calculates your income and expenses. If your income is below the median household income for the state or it’s determined that you are not able to afford your debt based on your circumstances, your petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be approved by the court.
The skilled and experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Janvier Law Firm, PLLC, understand how important this part of the bankruptcy process is which is why we will take the time to carefully evaluate your situation, answer any questions you might have about the process and walk you through things step by step. If you are not eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 may be available, and we can help you take the necessary steps to file Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 with a payment plan that serves your best financial interests.
Understanding Exemptions Under The Bankruptcy Code
During the preparation of your bankruptcy petition, our attorneys will help you determine which of your assets are eligible for exemption and properly protected from liquidation. Upon conclusion of the bankruptcy proceedings, the court normally grants a discharge of your debts. See Overview of Bankruptcy for a list of your exempt property.
It’s very important to point out that there are certain debts that cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include:
- Back child support and alimony payments and other obligations arising out of a divorce
- Student loans
- Debts that arise out of fraud
- Debts arising out of willful and malicious injury
- Recent income and trust fund taxes
We can advise you about how much of your debt is dischargeable, including whether you have qualifying debts from medical bills, credit cards or delinquent back taxes, so you can make an informed decision about whether to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy. See Overview of Bankruptcy for a detailed list of non-dischargeable debts.
What Should I Bring To My Appointment?
In order to effectively analyze your case, it is helpful to bring certain information to your appointment, including:
- A list of your creditors’ names, amount of each claim and nature of the debt
- Copies of your last six months of paystubs for you and your spouse
- Other sources of income and amounts
- Copies of your last six months of bank statements
- A list of what you own and estimates of the value of each item
- A budget estimating your monthly living expenses
- Copies of your last two years of tax returns, if available
- During your appointment, we can also discuss your situation and your goals for the future so we can identify the right form of bankruptcy for your unique situation.
Contact Our North Carolina Law Firm
At Janvier Law Firm, PLLC, our mission is to help individuals and businesses in North Carolina move forward from debt, and we understand that Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer the clean slate so many need to achieve this goal. Whether you have pre-bankruptcy questions or are curious about life after bankruptcy, we will personalize our answers to account for your specific circumstances.
If you would like to meet with one of our highly experienced bankruptcy lawyers, call Janvier Law Firm, PLLC, at 919-301-0628 or contact us online to set up an in-person meeting at our Raleigh, North Carolina, office .
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.