What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process provided by federal law that helps you, the debtor, eliminate or reduce specific types of debts.  Debtors may seek to have these debts discharged completely or to reduce and reorganize their payments over three to five years. Filing for bankruptcy can stop foreclosure sales in many cases, as well as stop harassing phone calls from creditors.  Bankruptcy does not cure all financial problems, and some debts cannot be discharged under any chapter of bankruptcy.  There are six types of bankruptcy - which type of bankruptcy you file depends on several factors. Two commonly used types of consumer bankruptcy are the Chapter 7 and the Chapter 13 bankruptcies. It is important to keep in mind that the different types of bankruptcy release different types of debt - some debts that may not be discharged under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, may be discharged in a Chapter 13.  Careful review of your debts is required to ensure that your bankruptcy proceeding will provide you with the relief you need to begin your new opportunity in life.  To set up your free personal bankruptcy consultation, contact me by email at office@bigeasybk.com or call (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN!  


Types of Consumer Bankruptcy

Chapter 7

Also referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy, this type of bankruptcy can discharge most types of debt for qualified individuals.  If you have non-exempt assets that can be turned over to a trustee, they will be sold to repay as much of your debt as possible.   Even if you do not have any non-exempt assets that could be sold to repay your debts, you may still obtain a discharge of your debts. Not all types of debt can be discharged, so you should consult an attorney to determine which debts can be discharged.  In some circumstances, you may be able to keep some, or even most, of your property.  There are guidelines in place to determine whether or not you can qualify for this type of bankruptcy, so the best way to determine whether or not this bankruptcy is right for you is to contact me by email or call (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN!  

Chapter 13
This type of bankruptcy sets up a repayment plan over the course of three or five years based on whether or not your income is above or below the median income.   If you have a job and a steady income, this type of bankruptcy can help you to catch-up on your mortgage or other loans without losing those items.  As a significant part of your case, a repayment plan will be submitted to the Court for confirmation.  You will need to be able to prove to the Court that you will be able to make your proposed payments over the duration of the plan.  Some debts that cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are dischargable in a Chapter 13.  To determine whether or not this bankruptcy is right for you, contact me by email or call (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN!  

Chapter 12
This type of bankruptcy is specifically for farmers and fishermen.  It is a lot like a Chapter 13, and it enables the debtor to continue to operate business throughout the repayment plan duration, which like Chapter 13, will be between three and five years.  To determine whether or not this bankruptcy is right for you, contact me by email or call (504) 4DEBTOR.

Other Important Information

Discrimination
The Bankruptcy Code also provides protection from discrimination because of your bankruptcy claim.  If you feel that you have been discriminated against for filing bankruptcy, contact me by email or call (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN.

Costs
To file your bankruptcy, there are a few different costs: filing fees, a credit report fee, credit counseling fees, and attorney's fees.  The costs to file bankruptcy are set by the court and will be between $310 and $335 depending on which type of bankruptcy you file. Your credit report fee in our office will be approximately $33, but you may be able to obtain a free copy of your credit report online.  Credit counseling fees run anywhere from $15 to $50 per session, and you will need two sessions to receive your discharge.  Attorney's fees vary.  If you are interested in hiring an attorney, contact me by email or call (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN to discuss a fee arrangement. 
Initial consultations are always complimentary.  


Fee Waivers 
So what happens if you don't make enough money to pay court fees?  Are you automatically precluded from filing for bankruptcy relief? Of course not! Depending on your income, you may qualify to have your filing fee waived or to pay your filing fee in installments. The judge may waive the fee only if your income is less than 150% of the official poverty line applicable to your family size AND you are unable to pay the fee in installments.  Current poverty guidelines can be found here: http://aspe.hhs.gov/Poverty/ ‚Äč

Documents
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you should also think about gathering your paperwork.  Collect all your bills, gather up your bank statements, and make sure you have copies of your taxes for the past two years.  You should also make sure you have a current state issued id and proof of your social security number. If you are missing any of these things, I can help you obtain some of them. Contact me by email or call (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN!  

Quick List of Documents to Bring to Your Appointment

Get the most out of our first meeting - Bring these items with you! 

  • drivers license
  • social security card
  • tax documents for the last two years
  • pay stubs for the last six months  OR profit and loss statements for the last year if self-employed
  • documentation of any government assistance
  • a copy of latest bank statements for any and all checking and savings accounts
  • all bills you have at this time
  • any secured loan documents (paperwork for your car loan or mortgage)
  • any court documents pertaining to any lawsuits involving you
  • any court documents establishing support payments either to or from you
  • any credit reports you have recently obtained
  • any other papers, documents or anything else you would like to discuss


PRO BONO ASSISTANCE
      People are faced with all types of financial struggles - and the court and an army of volunteer attorneys are ready to help you take advantage of your bankruptcy rights!  If your loss takes you below a certain income level for your family size, you may qualify for pro bono assistance through the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans.  Our attorneys work closely with the Pro Bono Project to help all people who qualify for the best services available. 


Information contained on this page is not legal advice.  It is general information only. If you have a specific question, please don't hesitate to call the office at (504) 4DEBTOR or text (504) 222-2JEN or email me.  Bankruptcy consultations are available by appointment only at 3939 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 215, Metairie, LA 70002, appointments on weekends and evenings area available by request. 

Big Easy Law Group, LLC                                3939 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Suite 215                        Metairie, Louisiana 70002 
Phone: (504) 433-2867                                                       Fax:  866-596-2555                                                          office@bigeasybk.com