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Chapter 7 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What Does it Mean to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

A:

Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates unsecured debts and allows you to start over financially. In a typical case, the timeline for a Chapter 7 case takes four to six months from the date bankruptcy is filed until the time the case is discharged. Once the case is discharged, creditors cannot make any attempts to collect on past debts.

Q:

What is the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debt?

A:

A secured debt is a debt where collateral has been pledged to secure payment, such as a mortgage or car loan. If you are unable to make scheduled payments, the lender can take ownership of the property and sell it, generating funds to pay off the debt.

An unsecured debt is any debt not protected by a guarantor. Credit card debt, utility bills, and medical expenses are prime examples.

Q:

Will Chapter 7 Discharge All of My Debts?

A:

No, Chapter 7 will only help with unsecured debts. Other types of debts, such as taxes, legal fines, or student loans cannot be discharged with Chapter 7. Attorney Ted Troutman can help you decide if Chapter 7 is the best option for your financial needs and recommend a better alternative when necessary.

Q:

What is a “Means Test” and What Does it Have to Do with Filing for Chapter 7?

A:

A means test determines if your income is low enough for you to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is a complex formula designed to ensure those with higher incomes do not take advantage of Chapter 7 terms. As a result, individuals who truly cannot pay their debts have an optimal resource.

Q:

If I File for Chapter 7, Does My Spouse Have to File with Me?

A:

No, either spouse may file for Chapter 7 alone. However, if you and your spouse have joint debt, Chapter 7 will only protect you, and not your spouse, from creditors trying to collect.

Q:

Will I Have to Be Certified from a Credit Counseling Agency to be Eligible For Chapter 7?

A:

Each individual that files for bankruptcy must take part in a consumer credit counseling consultation from an approved counseling agency, and receive a certificate of completion. At the time of filing, the certificate must be presented to the bankruptcy court. This requirement also applies to debtors with business-related debt.