Area of Law:
Many individuals that are unable to afford their monthly payments to repay their debt receive harassing phone calls and letters from their creditors. If this is happening to you, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy provides you with the opportunity to be free from mounting debt, and obtain a fresh start. Discuss your bankruptcy options with a bankruptcy attorney in Dallas to determine if filing for bankruptcy is right for you. In addition, an attorney will be able to explain the bankruptcy process to you, and help you achieve a bankruptcy discharge at the completion of your bankruptcy case.
Bankruptcy is a complicated legal process with many requirements. For example, prior to filing for bankruptcy, you must complete a pre-filing credit counseling session. During the credit counseling session, a counselor will explain the affects of filing for bankruptcy, and explain other options that may be available to you other than bankruptcy. These other options may include helping you to create a manageable budget, or discussing debt consolidation. Generally, the credit counseling session lasts around one hour and you will receive a certificate upon completion. Your bankruptcy attorney in Dallas will file the certificate of completion along with your bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court. Your bankruptcy attorney in Dallas will inform you that the pre-filing credit counseling session must be completed within 180 days of the time when you file for bankruptcy. Therefore, if you take the course 181 days before you file for bankruptcy, you will need to repeat the course, or you risk having your bankruptcy case dismissed by the bankruptcy court.
In addition, you and your bankruptcy attorney in Dallas will discuss whether you would like to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You may only be eligible for one type of bankruptcy, or you could be eligible to file for both. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dallas you must earn less than the current median income for the state of Texas, or you must satisfy the means test. The means test is a recent change to the Bankruptcy Code, and evaluates your monthly disposable income. Your disposable income is the income you have remaining each month after you pay your necessary expenses. Generally, more disposable income means you are less likely to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
However, if you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may still be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must be able to show the court a history of regular and reliable income. Usually, the bankruptcy court will want to see at least 6 months of steady income prior to the date you filed your bankruptcy petition. The income can come from any source including Social Security disability benefits or a traditional salary. The most important characteristic of the income to the court is that it is regular. Therefore, if you have just started a new job, but you would like to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your bankruptcy attorney in Dallas may recommend waiting to file for bankruptcy until you can establish a reliable income history. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will submit a repayment plan to the court for approval. The plan usually takes 3 to 5 years to complete, and you must make payments each month to your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee.
Filing for bankruptcy is an important decision. Therefore, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney in Dallas as soon as possible, or visit the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas’ website http://www.txnb.uscourts.gov/. However, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney, visit http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx for additional information regarding how to file for bankruptcy on your own.