47 Years of Practice
Our initial consultation for consumer cases is free! Consultations for business-related matters, non-bankruptcy "workout" matters, creditor representation and litigation are billed at the consulting attorney's hourly rate. Payment for consultations on consumer matters is expected at the time of the consultation. This charge is credited against the retainer paid when you retain our office for you matter.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 7 case, the Bankruptcy Court appoints a Trustee to examine the Debtors' assets to determine if there are any not protected by available "exemptions". Exemptions allow Debtors to keep certain types of property and amounts of money. If there is any non-exempt property in a case, the Trustee may liquidate the property and distribute the proceeds to unsecured creditors.
Most debts are discharged from any legal obligation to repay, including credit card debts, certain medical bills and other past-due bills.
However, certain types of debts are not discharged in a Chapter 7 case. These include alimony child support, equitable distribution, certain taxes, student loans and criminal fines.
Chapter 7 Debtors with primarily consumer debts are subject to a "Means Test" designed to determine whether the case should be permitted to proceed under Chapter 7 based upon income, family size and other factors. Chapter 7 Debtors whose debts are primarily business-related or are business Debtors are not subject to a "Means Test".
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 13 case, a Debtor with regular income proposes a Plan repaying all or part of their debts over a period of three to five years. The amount paid to creditors and time period a Debtor must remain in their Chapter 13 case is dependent on income among other factors.
A Chapter 13 is often called a "wage-earners" plan as regular income is generally necessary to have a Chapter 13 Plan confirmed. Debtors often choose to file a Chapter 13 case as a tool to stop the foreclosure of real estate or repossession of vehicles while paying any mortgage arrearages or vehicle(s) in the Plan.
Certain types of debts are not discharged in a Chapter 13 case. Certain state and federal taxes, child support, alimony, criminal fines, court-ordered restitution, student loans that are not paid in full in the Chapter 13 Plan and certain long-term secured debt obligations.
Mr. Badger is a highly experienced trial attorney and litigator with a focus on bankruptcy-related litigation. Although litigation issues do not arise in all bankruptcy cases, having a certified litigator often prevents unnecessary and expensive litigation.
In many financial situations, negotiating a non-bankruptcy workout plan with creditors is preferable to filing personal or corporate bankruptcy.