Jonathan G. Cohen, Attorney at Law
2 Congress Street
Hartford, CT 06114
Bankruptcy Code: We Are a Debt Relief Agency and We Help People File for Bankruptcy Relief Under the Bankruptcy Code
Q: How will bankruptcy affect my credit?
A: Bankruptcy is always a bad mark on your credit report, and it will stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years. But frankly, by the time most people seek bankruptcy, their credit report is already pretty bad, or it will be shortly! At that point, declaring bankruptcy can sometimes improve a credit report. Once you receive your discharge, you are no longer liable for the associated debts, thereby improving your standing.
Q: Will I ever be able to buy a house or car after I file for bankruptcy?
A: Yes. One to two years after your discharge, you will be eligible for most VA and FHA loans, as well as many conventional mortgages. Many car lenders will finance a car for you immediately after your discharge. Often, if the Chapter 13 trustee approves, some car lenders will even finance a car during your planning stage. However, please understand that you will still need to qualify for these loans, and you will probably be charged higher interest rates than a person with good credit. Nonetheless, you will have the opportunity to get a fresh start and to begin rebuilding a good credit rating.
Q: Will bankruptcy discharge all my debts?
A: Bankruptcy will probably not discharge all of your debts. First, bankruptcy discharges your personal liability on unsecured debts. If you do not make payments on a secured debt, such as your house, car or furniture, the creditor still has the right to repossess their collateral. In Chapter 13, these secured debts can often be restructured. Likewise, the past-due payments can be paid back according to your Chapter 13 plan.
Not all unsecured debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Examples of unsecured debts that will not be discharged in any bankruptcy chapter include many taxes, child or spousal support, most student loans and restitution obligations. However, these types of debts may be repaid through a Chapter 13 plan.
In Chapter 7, there are even more debts that are not dischargeable. When you come in for your free consultation we will review these problematic debts and decide what chapter will help you the most.
Q: How quickly can I file for bankruptcy?
A: Many attorneys say they will respond the same day you first see them. While this may be true, it may not be best for you. When you come to our office for your free consultation, we will review your problems and decide what course of action best suits your needs.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: That depends on your specific problems. Regardless, our legal fees are regulated by the bankruptcy courts in order to ensure that they are fair and reasonable.
Q: How can I pay for my bankruptcy?
A: We require that the court-filing fees, which are currently $185 to $200, be paid at the time your case is filed. If you need to, we will work with you to establish a payment plan for the attorney-related fees associated with Chapter 7. In Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, you may generally pay all or part of your legal fees through your plan.
Here's one question people rarely ask, but should!
Q: You're a bankruptcy attorney – you make a living by filing bankruptcies. Would you tell me if I didn't need a bankruptcy?
A: Yes. First off, bankruptcy won't solve every financial problem. Also, based on your income and expenses, you may not be able to resolve all your problems within the framework of the Bankruptcy Code. In these cases, bankruptcy won't work. Beyond that, you may not need to file for bankruptcy in order to solve your financial problems. There may be other ways of dealing with your debts. Rather, there may be other ways of dealing with the problems that you should at least try before filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was designed to be the last resort in dealing with overwhelming financial problems. It was never intended to be a first choice for people who just don't want to pay their debts.
When you come to us, we'll review all your options. If we think something besides bankruptcy might work, we may suggest that you deal with your financial woes in other ways. No matter what, you can count on us to analyze your situation and discern the most appropriate solution to your economic dilemma.
To be honest, by the time most people even begin to consider bankruptcy, they are in overwhelming financial trouble. Often, they have already tried to deal with their debts. Many have already been to consumer credit-counseling services, withdrawn their savings and retirement accounts to pay down debt, withdrawn home equity or taken out bill-consolidation loans. Yet the problems still remain, and the debts continue to grow because of mounting late charges, penalties and accruing interest.
Sometimes the problem could be fixed if the debtor could get out from under high car payments or give back the big-screen TV, but the creditors won't let them out of their obligations. Frequently, the IRS wants more money than can be paid without going further into debt on other bills.
Most people file bankruptcy because something has happened to disrupt their former income. For example, they may have lost a job, or they don't make as much as they used to. Maybe they went through a divorce or they got hurt or became sick. Maybe they had to provide financial support or help for a family member. Several years ago, a book came out. It is called "When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” Well, when bad financial things happen to good people, bankruptcy is available, and we can help you get the most out of it.
Contact us today and learn more about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Discover how they can help you get back on solid financial ground. Your initial consultation – in person or over the phone – is free. We can help you look at your situation with a fresh perspective. We’ll show you your choices and develop a plan of action that will lead you to economic stability. Filing for personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 may be the first step to financial recovery. Call us today and get the fresh start you deserve.