You can only file a Chapter 7 every 8 years plus 1 day from the previous filing. There are some time limits and restrictions on refiling a bankruptcy after a previous bankruptcy has been dismissed.
If you are going to reaffirm and keep property with a mortgage or lien on it, unless we tell you otherwise, you must continue to make the payments after filing! For example, if you have decided to keep your house and reaffirm the debt, you need to keep current on the payments. Also, if you are going to keep your car, keep it insured. If you are not going to keep it and it is not insured, stop driving it.
If you are going to surrender property, stop making the payments on it. Don’t waste your money! Also, if you know you are going to file bankruptcy, stop making payments on any unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, signature loans, etc.). If you’re not sure whether a debt is secured or unsecured, ask us.
Income tax debts (federal and state) can be discharged in bankruptcy. In general, if your return was filed more than 3 years ago, the tax debt is fully dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, there are many exceptions to this, especially with late-filed returns and assessment dates, so you’ll need to discuss your particular tax situation with our attorney. More about tax debts and bankruptcy can be found here.
At the time of filing, the law places an “automatic stay” in effect, and creditors must stop trying to collect their debt (unless you’ve filed a previous bankruptcy case that was dismissed by the Court within the past one year). Creditors cannot call you, sue you, continue a lawsuit, or continue a garnishment. After your initial consultation and payment, you should refer all creditors to this office. Remember to get the name and phone number of any persistent or abusive creditors, so we can put a stop to their harassment.
Your first payment in a Chapter 13 is due 30 days from the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition, even if the Plan has not been officially confirmed by the Court. The Court will routinely ask if you are current with your Plan payments, and will dismiss your case if you are not. You must make all the payments as provided in the Plan.
If you bank at a credit union, you would be wise to remove all funds that you’ll need for survival. Credit unions will often claim a setoff, and freeze your share accounts until you reaffirm the debt. If you do not reaffirm, they may try to keep the balance of the account.
You may add creditors to the bankruptcy until your case is closed by the Court. To add on creditors, you must come to the office and make arrangements to pay the additional fees and complete our forms.