Every bankruptcy lawyer in Pittsburgh has heard the question a hundred times. Of course, every situation is different so there cannot be a response that is completely correct in each instance. However, here are some rules of thumb about the impact of a filing a bankruptcy case upon a person’s credit.
Often Debtors Have Low Credit Scores Prior to Filing Bankruptcy
People tend to file bankruptcy as a last resort when their financial conditions worsen past beyond any reasonable hope of paying their debts. As a person’s financial condition erodes, they tend allow their credit balances to meet or exceed their borrowing limits. Cash strapped people also tend to pay their bills late from time to time. It is not uncommon for people under severe financial strain to give up their efforts to pay entirely. That often means that creditors will seek judgments, send the matter to collections or sell the doubtful account receivable to another company. All of those actions give rise to adverse credit events that press credit scores very low. Under those circumstances, the additional hit of a bankruptcy filing might lower the credit score further but, by that time, the difference is not meaningful.
Impact of a Discharge on Credit
A bankruptcy discharge can eliminate very large portions of indebtedness. While some debts are not subject to discharge, most general unsecured debts are dischargeable. Thus, credit cards, medical debts and unsecured loans are usually discharged. That discharged indebtedness affects a debtor’s debt to income ratio which is a major factor in calculation of credit scores. The benefit of the bankruptcy case is further increased by responsible financial behavior after the bankruptcy case closes. People who pay their debts as they become due after the bankruptcy case closes are often pleasantly surprised by how rapidly their credit scores rebound.
Financial Life After Bankruptcy
Filing a bankruptcy case does not mean that a person will never reach their financial goals. Many intelligent and financially savvy people will use their bankruptcy fresh start wisely. Lending guidelines have shifted in recent years to allow mortgage lenders to extend loans to individuals three years after their bankruptcy cases. That three-year period is all the more astonishing when one considers that, for most people scraping by on minimum monthly payments, three years without a bankruptcy would likely have resulted in deepened insolvency and an even lower credit score.
Contact a Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer today to see if bankruptcy and a fresh start might be your best path forward. The initial consultation is absolutely free.
What to Expect at a 341 Meeting in Pittsburgh
In Pittsburgh, the first meeting of creditors in a case under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is not scheduled until all of the required documents are filed or submitted to the bankruptcy court. For consumer debtors, those documents include a voluntary petition for relief in a case under chapter 7, a statement of intent, schedules disclosing assets, liabilities, income and expenses, a statement of financial affairs and a means test. Additionally, debtors whose bankruptcy lawyers electronically file documents in their cases must submit a document bearing their social security numbers and original signatures of the debtors and their counsel which is received by the bankruptcy clerk but is not available to the public. Debtors must also complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and submit their certificates of counseling before the meeting of creditors is scheduled.
The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case
The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case provides important information to the debtors and their lawyers as well as to creditors and other parties in interest in the bankruptcy case. The notice will include the name and contact information for the chapter 7 trustee assigned to the case. In Pittsburgh, cases are typically assigned to trustees who serve on a panel of trustees. One of the trustee’s important duties is to scrutinize debtors’ bankruptcy filings and to make certain that they are complete and accurate. A chapter 7 trustee will also determine whether there may be assets available to make a distribution to the holders of unsecured claims.
The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case will also include the location of the meeting in downtown Pittsburgh and the date and time of the meeting. Additionally, the Notice will provide important deadlines for creditors to exercise rights against the debtor and information about filing a proof of claim and debtors’ exemptions.
The Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors in Pittsburgh
The chapter 7 trustee will begin the meeting by reviewing the debtor’s photo identification and social security card. Next the trustee will have the debtors solemnly swear or affirm to tell the truth. The meeting will be recorded and the audio or transcript can be made available if necessary for use later in the case.
Your bankruptcy lawyer will prepare you for the questions that the trustee will focus upon. There are certain questions that the trustee must ask in order to complete the forms required to close the meeting. Your bankruptcy lawyer will also accompany you at the meeting of creditors and will enter his or her appearing on the record of the meeting. If you don’t understand a question or the legal significance of certain matters, your bankruptcy attorney will help explain them to you.
Typical meetings of creditors in chapter 7 cases in Pittsburgh are brief affairs lasting less than 10 minutes. More complex cases or cases with extensive creditor participation may extend longer. Your bankruptcy lawyer will have you prepared for your meeting of creditors and you will know what to expect before your meeting is called. The 341 meeting of creditors in Pittsburgh is an important step in the direction of getting a discharge in case under chapter 7 and being awarded a fresh start.
Saving Money on a Bankruptcy Filing in Pittsburgh
Questions to Ask Your Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer to Get the Best Deal
Those considering filing a voluntary bankruptcy petition under the United States Bankruptcy Code often look far and wide in order to get the best deal possible. When considering engaging a lawyer to represent you, here are a few things to consider.
Does the Lawyer have Experience Representing Debtors in Bankruptcy Cases?
Bankruptcy is a very complex and ever-developing field of law. The basis for bankruptcy law is traceable to the United States Constitution. Today, American bankruptcy law is based in a federal statute codified in Title 11 of the United States Code. Bankruptcy practice is further governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure which rules are set out by the United States Supreme Court. While original jurisdiction for bankruptcy cases rests in the United States district courts, that jurisdiction is routinely referred to the United States bankruptcy courts. Bankruptcy courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and its judges are not appointed by the President to serve for life as are Article III judges.
Because of the specialized nature of bankruptcy practice, consumers are best served by first ascertaining whether their prospective counsel has represented debtors in bankruptcy cases in Pittsburgh. In addition to the United States Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, bankruptcy courts and even individual bankruptcy judges often have unique forms, procedures and rules for debtors to follow. In some instances, non-conformity to those rules and procedures can have important consequences that may impact debtors’ substantive rights.
What Other Costs are Associated with Filing a Bankruptcy Case in Pittsburgh?
Lawyers in Pittsburgh may detail their legal fees separately from other costs that debtors will also have to pay. Almost all consumer debtors will need to complete a course in pre-petition credit counseling prior to filing their bankruptcy cases. The cost of those credit counseling courses may vary substantially from one approved provider to another. Your bankruptcy lawyer may be able to give you advice on how to get the best deal on your bankruptcy credit counseling. Similarly, debtors must take a post-petition course in financial management. An experienced Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney may be able to help find the best deal on bankruptcy debtor education.
Lastly, an important cost in most is the fee for filing the case itself. That fee changes from time to time and also varies based upon the kind of bankruptcy case you file. Your Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer can provide you with a schedule of court fees and explain how those payments will be made.
Do you Trust your Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Debtors sometimes find that saving money by hiring lawyers in whom they do not have confidence may end up being a very costly mistake. Your Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer should provide you with dependable advice that helps you decide whether a bankruptcy case is right for you, what type of bankruptcy might best fit your circumstances, how to apply bankruptcy exemptions, disclose your financial condition and comply with the formalistic mandates of bankruptcy in order to achieve your fresh start goals.
Gives yourself the best chance of getting the best deal on a bankruptcy filing in Pittsburgh.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cost Pittsburgh
Consumer debtors facing financial difficulty are very cost conscious. For that reason, each day there are an extraordinarily high number of searches for “cheap chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer” in Pittsburgh. There is no valid reason to short change yourself by accepting anything less than experienced and thoughtful representation from a Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer.
In many cases, consumer debtors with simple cases who want nothing more than to unburden themselves from the unbearable weight of their debts can have highly effective legal representation in a chapter 7 case. Those consumers should not be priced out of representation in a chapter 7 case. Often, a simple chapter 7 case can be conducted for a reduced legal fee. Debtors remain responsible for the filing fees owed to the bankruptcy court (currently, $335) and a small fee for credit counseling services which vary depending upon the particular agency.
To make the cost of bankruptcy even more affordable, you may be able to make your payments over several months. In certain circumstances, you may also be able to pay your court filing fee in installments. The ability to pay a filing fee in installments depends is left to the discretion of the judge reviewing the application to pay the fee in installments but those applications are frequently granted when it appears that debtors are under severe financial strain.
If you’re looking for a highly experienced bankruptcy attorney to competently guide you through a chapter 7 at a low cost, you owe it to yourself to have a free initial consultation. Your fresh start may be more affordable than you think.
Summer is Over, Isn’t it Time For Your Debt to Fall Away?
With the change of the season, it may be time to evaluate your financial condition and to think about your financial goals. If your credit is poor but you would still like to purchase a car or become a home owner, bankruptcy could be your best option for eliminating debt that is well beyond your ability to pay.
File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh – Finding a Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer
Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is often the most sensible approach for individual debtors with credit card or medical debt that has ballooned beyond their ability to pay. The chapter 7 bankruptcy process is streamlined. Your first step should be to meet with a qualified chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in Pittsburgh. If you decide after a consultation with your bankruptcy lawyer that filing chapter 7 is right for you, you will need to take a course in prepetition credit counseling before you are eligible to file. Your bankruptcy attorney will prepare your petition and statement of financial affairs and you must review them thoroughly to make sure that they are complete and accurate. Your lawyer will help you with difficult bankruptcy decisions regarding valuations of property, treatment of creditor claims and application of exemptions to protect your interests in property.
After you’ve signed your bankruptcy petition and the case is filed, you will have a meeting of creditors before a chapter 7 trustee. Your bankruptcy lawyer will help you prepare for that meeting and he or she will attend the meeting with you. You will present your photo ID and social security card and the trustee will ask you a series of questions. In a simple case, the meeting can be as short as five minutes. When the meeting before the trustee is concluded, you must then complete a second course in debtor education and await your discharge. When the discharge order and your case closes, you will be unburdened from all of your dischargeable debts. Certain debts may survive discharge or may still fix as liens on your property. Your bankruptcy lawyer will discuss those issues with you long before you file the case.
File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh – Locate the Best Chapter 13 Lawyer for You
Chapter 13 is a form of bankruptcy that allows debtors to reorganize under federal law. Defaults on mortgages and car payments can be cured and the loans reinstated through chapter 13. Even if you’ve experienced a mortgage foreclosure or a vehicle repossession, you may be entitled to have cure your loan and restore and preserve your property rights.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy follows many of the steps of a chapter 13 case except that it includes a new focus, a chapter 13 plan. Your plan describes how you will repay creditors to restore your interest in property. You may end up paying a small percentage to the holders of unsecured claims or you may end up paying no distribution at all to them. The rules applicable to chapter 13 plans are complex but your bankruptcy lawyer can guide you through successful plan confirmation and position you to complete your plan and earn a discharge.
If you are ready to put your debt behind you and move forward with fresh start, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney today.
Stop Vehicle Repossession By Filing A Bankruptcy Case
An automobile can be among the most important assets for a working person. Wage earners often need reliable transportation for the commute to work and car repossession can make a bad financial situation disastrous. Thankfully, the United States Bankruptcy Code provides for an automatic stay that can prevent your lender taking back your car and selling it through a repo sale. In almost all circumstances, the filing of a bankruptcy case effects an immediate stay of most creditor collection efforts, including vehicle repossession.
A borrower who is dramatically behind on his or her car payments may wish to take advantage of a federally sanction repayment plan under chapter 13. A debtor in a chapter 13 bankruptcy repays some or all debts over a period of three to five years. A chapter 13 plan also allows debtors to cure the arrearages on car payments. Debtors who successfully complete all payments under their chapter 13 plans are awarded a completion discharge. With certain exceptions, a discharge in a case under chapter 13 eliminates most unsecured debts.
A chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will also trigger the automatic stay. Similarly, the successful conclusion of a chapter 7 case includes a discharge. While a debtor’s personal obligation to pay a vehicle can be discharged in a bankruptcy case, a bankruptcy discharge alone does not avoid a lien on a debtor’s automobile that was perfected prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. For that reason, a debtor who receives a discharge but does not make any car payments may have his or her vehicle repossessed when the automatic stay is modified or dissolved.
An individual confronted with a possible vehicle repo should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy lawyers may also be able to review past vehicle repossessions to determine whether borrowers may have claims against their lenders for their conduct in repossessing and selling vehicles. For example, a recent class action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania asserts claims against Wells Fargo on behalf of borrowers who had their vehicles repossessed in Pennsylvania. A Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney can quite often help people who want to avoid a vehicle repossession. Call today for a free consultation.
Cheap Bankruptcy Lawyer and the Old Maxim: You Get What You Pay For
If your debts are so overwhelming that you find yourself considering your bankruptcy options, seeking out the cheapest lawyer in town may not be the wisest course. While most bankruptcy attorneys in Pittsburgh will offer a free initial consultation, selecting the lawyer who offers the steepest discount may cost you in ways that you did not anticipate. Bankruptcy law is ever-evolving and the best bankruptcy lawyers continuously follow developments in the law and keep current with developments in the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the local rules and judges’ practices and procedures for all courts in which they practice.
Failing to take a required step in the bankruptcy process can have fatal consequences for your case. Likewise, failing to timely submit required documents in the form demanded may result in the dismissal of your case. Moreover, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will explain to you how the bankruptcy forms work and help you fully and fairly disclose all of your assets, income, expenses and liabilities to enable you to get a fresh start. Think twice before you make “cheap” your primary search criteria for finding a bankruptcy lawyer in Pittsburgh.
Make certain that you are comfortable with your bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer should be attentive to your questions and available to guide you through the process from start to finish. Don’t wait for your free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Reach out by email or telephone today!
Advantages of Bankruptcy
With the arrival of Spring, the snow and ice begin to thaw and many people take up the annual ritual of Spring cleaning. Just as your home can benefit from a freshening up in the cool weather, so too can your financial condition. A bankruptcy discharge under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code discharges most kinds of financial obligations. Unmanageable credit card debt or staggering medical bills can be fully discharged, unburdening a debtor and making possible a better financial future.
Many individuals find that, after a bankruptcy case, they are better able to pay their bills on time, save money and actually improve their credit scores. While some may fear filing a voluntary bankruptcy case, in many instances it is the most financial responsible and prudent step to take.
Consider the following examples. Bob had twenty thousand dollars in credit card debt. His credit accounts were maxed out and he made his minimum payments on time but had little or no money remaining from month to month and no savings account. After three years, Bob has paid more than thirty thousand dollars in credit card payments and still owes more than sixteen thousand dollars and his credit score is 515. Bob’s friend Tammy also had twenty thousand dollars in credit card debt but three years ago she filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case and received a discharge of her indebtedness. Today she has managed to accumulate thirty thousand dollars in savings and, because she has paid all her bills on time during those three years, her credit score is a respectable 750. Clearly then, Tammy’s bankruptcy put her in a better position than did Bob’s choice to continue making minimum monthly payments.
Bankruptcy is not the right choice for everyone but if you are undergoing financial strain, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of a free initial consultation from an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Do some Spring cleaning of your own and position yourself for lively financial future.
Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorneys Might Save Your Summer!
Most of us look forward to summer vacations, ball games and fun in the sun. But what if your debt problems keep you from doing simple things like buying gasoline or getting away for a relaxing weekend. Some people find that they work very hard but, because of medical debt or credit card trouble, they just cannot get out of debt. You may have heard that the laws have changed and wonder whether you are eligible to file a bankruptcy case in Pittsburgh.
Don’t allow your debt to destroy your summer or your future. Make an appointment today for a no-fee consultation with a Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney. At Robleto Law, PLLC, a highly experienced bankruptcy lawyer is available to answer your difficult questions in a comfortable, judgment free environment.
Get the fresh start you deserve! Take advantage of the peace of mind that comes with being free of burdensome debt. Learn just what a bankruptcy case can do for you and your future. Don’t wait–you could be on your way to discharging your debts a lot sooner than you think.
Call Robleto Law, PLLC at (412) 925-8194
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.
Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyers
Mortgage Modification and Bankruptcy
Borrowers who fall behind on their mortgage payments can now talk to a Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer about their situations. When a lender initiates a foreclosure action or requests a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, borrowers are wise to review their options with an experienced Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney.
Mortgage companies typically offer loss mitigation or modification opportunities. Qualifying borrowers may see their interest rates lowered, principal balances reduced or mortgage term extended so that the monthly payments become more manageable. In some instances, mortgagees may recapitalize mortgage arrearage so that a borrower can pay them over time. Mortgage modification applications are highly detailed and lenders typically will not render any decision without a package that is 100% complete with current versions of all documents requested. Many borrowers find the application process confusing. While borrowers often attempt to modify their mortgage without the assistance of a lawyer, an attorney who practices in the area will typically have experience that a borrower does not.
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania also sponsors a loss mitigation program. That particular program has been very successful and is well-moderated by a skilled and caring judiciary.
Looking for a way to save your property from foreclosure—chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the answer. Unlike debtors in chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors in cases under chapter 13 with a regular source of income to repay their creditors some or all of what they are owed over a period of three to five years. For debtors who have acceptable mortgage terms but who have fallen behind on their payments and need time and space to become current, a chapter 13 case can help. When a debtor needs both time and better mortgage terms, a chapter 13 case coupled with participation in a loss mitigation program may be a debtor’s best opportunity to save their home and get a fresh start.
Do not wait until it is too late to save your home. Call a Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer skilled in in court and out of court loss mitigation and mortgage modification matters today.
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