Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Law Firm Helps Consumers Discharge Their Debts

Smyrna lawyer counsels individuals seeking a fresh start

Sometimes situations beyond your control, such as a healthcare crisis or loss of a job, can lead to overwhelming debt and inability to pay. At Gasser Law PLLC, I have years of experience using Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help clients gain prompt relief from most of their debts. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, creditors must immediately stop collections efforts, including harassing letters and phone calls.

How Chapter 7 bankruptcy works

Chapter 7 is called liquidation because it means selling off your assets to satisfy as much of your debt as possible. If there are no assets, or property to take then all debts erased and you are no longer liable for them.

The court then orders a discharge of the rest of your qualifying debt. The law includes many exemptions that allow you to preserve some of your property, and in fact, most people who file for Chapter 7 don’t have many nonexempt assets to begin with.

I counsel my clients through the whole Chapter 7 process, which usually takes four months. You begin by completing a mandatory credit-counseling course by phone or online. Next, you fill out the official bankruptcy petition and related forms, listing all your property, your creditors and your financial transactions for the prior two years.

Filing the petition with the bankruptcy court creates an automatic stay of all bill collection efforts. Within the next 30 days, the court’s bankruptcy trustee will request certain financial documents and then schedule a creditors’ meeting, at which must answer questions under oath. You must then complete a budget counseling course (different from the credit-counseling course you took earlier).

Within two to three months after the creditors’ meeting, the trustee arranges for you to turn over nonexempt property, if any. Finally, the court will order most of your remaining debt to be wiped out. I will advise you about how much of your debt is dischargeable and which of your assets are eligible for exemption, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to pursue Chapter 7.

Who may qualify for Chapter 7

Income requirements: Most people must satisfy a means test in order to obtain Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. You qualify If you have less than the median income for a household of your size in Tennessee. If your income exceeds that level, you still may be able to file if — after paying your allowed monthly expenses — you don’t have enough income left  to pay off a certain amount of your unsecured debts within five years.

Not everyone needs to satisfy the means test. You are exempt if you are a disabled veteran or if you are a reservist or National Guard member and were on active duty for at least 90 days, at least part of which was less than 540 days before filing for bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not available to you if:

  • You received a Chapter 7 discharge within the past eight years or a Chapter 13 discharge within the past six years.
  • You tried to cheat or conceal assets from your creditors or a court dismissed your bankruptcy within the past 180 days because of misconduct

Even if you are eligible to file Chapter 7, there are certain categories of debts that may not be discharged, notably back child support and alimony payments, student loans, recent back taxes and court judgments based on personal injury claims.

Preparing for your appointment with a bankruptcy lawyer

It helps in our consultation to be able to discuss the following:

  • Your employer’s name and your gross and net income or hourly rate
  • Other sources of income and amounts
  • Debts you are dealing with
  • House payments, how far behind on the payments, and value of home
  • Car payments you are behind on

This information will help me provide an accurate assessment of whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and if it is your best solution for dealing with your debts.

Contact experienced bankruptcy counsel in Tennessee

Don’t continue to live under a cloud of unmanageable debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can quickly discharge your qualifying debt and give you a fresh start. Call Gasser Law PLLC at 615-267-0588 or contact me online to schedule your initial free consultation at my Smyrna office.