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Bankruptcy 10/06/2023

What Bankruptcy Can and Can't Do: What You Need To Know About Navigating Debt Relief

If you’re dealing with the stress of financial hardship, it's pivotal to grasp both the capabilities and limitations of bankruptcy as a potential solution. Bankruptcy is a powerful tool, but it's essential to understand that it doesn't act as a universal remedy. By the end of this article, you'll know the different realms of bankruptcy, from its potential benefits to the areas where it falls short. 

Bankruptcy Unveiled: Understanding Its Power and Limits

It's crucial to note that bankruptcy's impact varies depending on the chapter you file under. There are two primary chapters, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, which come with specific laws, offering tailored remedies for your financial difficulties.

Discovering the Avenues of Relief: What Bankruptcy Can Achieve

Halting Creditor Pressure and Collections 

When you file, the automatic stay goes into effect, stopping most creditor actions, such as wage garnishments and lawsuits. It's good to note that several obligations, such as support payments and criminal cases, remain unaffected by this shield.

Temporarily Halting Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Evictions 

The automatic stay can halt foreclosure, repossession, or eviction proceedings temporarily. It is important to remember that this stay is temporary. Once these actions conclude, their influence fades.

Eliminating Nonpriority Unsecured Debts 

Bankruptcy can eradicate credit card balances, medical bills, personal loans, and similar unsecured debts, which presents an opportunity for a fresh financial start.

Addressing Secured Debts via Surrender 

Bankruptcy provides a way to diminish secured debts by giving up their collateral. Though you'll part with the property securing the loan, the debt itself can be discharged.

Chapter 13: Tailored Solutions and Repayment Plans

Chapter 13 is a dynamic repayment plan that is employed to manage debt. It requires a multi-faceted approach, combining partial debt repayment with the ultimate discharge of any remaining unsecured debt. 

  1. Hindering Mortgage Foreclosure Chapter 13 can halt mortgage foreclosures while offering a structured plan to catch up on late payments, assuming you maintain future payments.
  2. Preserving Nonexempt Property Filers of Chapter 13 can retain important assets required for daily life and work by leveraging bankruptcy exemptions, which differs from Chapter 7, involving relinquishing nonexempt property.
  3. "Cramdown" for Secured Debts "Cramdown" is introduced by Chapter 13, allowing you to reevaluate secured debt based on the asset's current value. Pay a reduced amount, getting rid of the remaining debt. 

Unveiling Bankruptcy's Limits: What It Can't Accomplish

  1. Lien Removal for Secured Debts: While the debt is forgiven when filing bankruptcy, it does not erase the liens on secured property. Creditors retain the right to seize collateral tied to a debt even after it is released.
  2. Child Support and Alimony Obligations Regarding child support or alimony commitments, bankruptcy doesn't absolve you. These financial responsibilities endure post-bankruptcy and still demand full payment. 
  3. Student Loan Discharge Except under little circumstances, student loans remain unaffected by the bankruptcy discharge. One must prove "undue hardship," which is an uphill task and sets a high bar for discharging student debt. 
  4. Tax Debt Discharge  For the most part, most tax debts cannot be eliminated when filing for bankruptcy. However, older unpaid tax debts might make an exception, but it still needs to be solved. 
  5. Non-dischargeable Debts Specific obligations, like debts forgotten in your bankruptcy papers, debts connected to intoxicated driving, and fines, remain non-dischargeable. These debts persist beyond bankruptcy's reach.
  6. Fraud-Related Debts Debts arising from fraudulent actions could be released unless creditors mount a legal challenge, proving the debt's survival is warranted. 

Understanding what bankruptcy can and can't accomplish empowers you to make informed decisions about your financial future. While it's a daunting tool for addressing debt, there could be better solutions than bankruptcy.

Finding a Bankruptcy Attorney

It's advisable to consult professionals, such as the Riverwest Law Firm's trusted bankruptcy attorneys, who bring a track record of consistent results in navigating the complexities of bankruptcy law. 

When the need arises, you'll have the guidance to chart a course toward financial stability. During financial stresses, turn to those you can trust and regain your power in your financial journey. Contact the team at Riverwest Law Firm at (414) 441-3273 for a free consultation today.

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