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Bankruptcy Law

For those overwhelmed by debt, declaring bankruptcy can sometimes be the smartest way out of a financial crisis.

Before filing for bankruptcy, it is important to understand that not all bankruptcy declarations are created equal. There is the declaration for personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) versus business (Chapter 11). Some entail the selling off properties and assets to repay creditors while in others these are considered ‘exempt’ and therefore safe. Depending on how and when it is orchestrated, a bankruptcy declaration can be a great move to rebuild and start afresh; However, if mismanaged, it can hurt your reputation and credit score for years even as you are forced to liquidate hard earned assets, with little or no control of the proceedings.

It is also important to remember that bankruptcy law is always being amended; our legislators are always trying to prevent misuse by blocking old loopholes but in the process creating new ones. This makes the actual bankruptcy process unfortunately lengthy and time consuming; in some ways almost as emotionally draining as the decision to file itself. At times like this, it is always a good idea to have someone knowledgeable to help navigate legal waters especially in matters of such great financial impact. It is important to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney to understand the difference between Chapter 7 BankruptcyChapter 11 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and evaluate which option is best for your individual circumstances.

At The Law Office of Rowena N. Nelson, the leading bankruptcy law firm in Washington DC Metropolitan area including Maryland and Northern Virginia, we have helped multiple client’s file for bankruptcy using methods that help them best optimize their financial holdings even as we negotiate the most flexible terms for repayment. But most of all, we pride ourselves on the many more that we have helped avoid bankruptcy for thanks to the creative interventions of our team of bankruptcy lawyers servicing clients in Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia that include mediating with creditors and debt collectors on your behalf. Book a bankruptcy consultation with our experienced bankruptcy attorney.

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frequently asked questions

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a “last resort” method that is designed to allow the government to provide debt repayment or settlement to those who are unable to pay money that is owed. There are different types of bankruptcy, and there are rules in which to qualify for this service.

How do I know if I qualify?

Generally, you must be in a situation where you have acquired debt that you can no longer repay due to a change in your financial capabilities. Often, bankruptcy occurs after a major life event such as death, divorce, illness, job loss, or any other hardship.

Is bankruptcy right for me?

It is strongly encouraged to make bankruptcy your last resort. Attempt to make arrangements with your debtors first by contacting each one of them directly and discussing reduced payments or the ability to defer payments for a period of time. Many debtors are willing to negotiate to some level to help those in need.

What is the process for filing bankruptcy?

While it is possible to file for bankruptcy on your own, it is highly recommended to use legal assistance. Find a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy and can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation. Then the firm can handle all of the needed paperwork throughout the process to make sure your bankruptcy runs smoothly.

What advice can a bankruptcy attorney give me?

The best bankruptcy attorneys will have an initial conversation with you at no charge. The attorney can provide advice on next steps and your alternatives. If you decide to proceed, you may have to pay a small initial fee to begin the filing process.

How often can a person file for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy can only be filed once every 6 years.

What must I do before I file my case?

Discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney, who will also request for a list of all debts. The list should include the company or individual name, the amount owed, account number, and a phone number.

What is an exempt asset?

Depending on the type of bankruptcy, some of your assets can be exempted. This could include your home, vehicle, or certain personal debts such as child support.

Can I pay some creditors if I want to?

With bankruptcy, it is very important to stick to the terms of your agreement. Discuss any situations with your attorney to determine how best to prioritize payments.

Will filing bankruptcy hurt my credit?

Because bankruptcy often results in debtors losing money, your credit score will be dramatically impacted. A record of your bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for as long as ten years.

Can I choose which type of bankruptcy to file?

How do I choose the right one? Choose a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy to help you determine which choice is best for your particular situation.

What are the main differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, virtually all of your assets are used to repay the debt, and then the remaining debt is put into structured payments that must be completed within a set period of time, typically 3-5 years. A chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to retain some of your assets such as home and vehicle and restructured payments are put into place.

Will I be able to keep my property and assets if I file Bankruptcy?

It depends on the type of bankruptcy, but your attorney can help you determine how best to keep the assets you need.

Can I file Bankruptcy on my own?

It is possible but the paperwork and legal process are extremely time-consuming and very complicated. In a vast majority of cases it is much easier to use a skilled attorney.

Are there alternatives to Bankruptcy?

Everyone is always encouraged to use bankruptcy as a last resort. Some people may be able to repay debts simply by living within their means and adhering to a budget. Others may need to negotiate a reduced payment with their debtors. But in some cases, bankruptcy is the only alternative.

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