Frequently Asked Questions to Bankruptcy Attorneys

Questions Commonly Asked by Prospective Bankruptcy Clients

Image of documentsWhen clients consult with attorney Kevin D. Judd, they often have the same reoccurring questions. Below are the most frequently asked questions and their answers. However, if you require answers to more detailed questions, please feel free to contact Kevin Judd, a Washington DC bankruptcy attorney who is happy to lend his expertise to your situation.

What are Different Types of Bankruptcy?
Where Should a Bankruptcy Case be Filed?
Who is Eligible to File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Maintain a Chapter 7 Case?
May a Husband and Wife File a Joint Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Under What Circumstances?
What if You Want to Repay a Dischargeable Debt?
How Does a Discharge Affect Co-Signers?
Do I Lose My House and/or My Vehicle if a File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
How Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Affects a Person’s Credit Rating?
Will it be Difficult to Obtain Future Employment or Will I Lose My Current Job if I File Bankruptcy?
What are the Typical Steps to Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case and Obtaining a Discharge?
What are the Typical Steps to Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Completing a Chapter 13 Case?

What are Different Types of Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is the most well known bankruptcy. Chapter 7 allows you to discharge your legal financial obligations to creditors, which means that creditors are prohibited from calling you and are also prohibited from imposing garnishments, levies, lawsuits or any other collection actions against you because you no longer have a legal obligation to pay the debt. However, certain debts are non-dischargeable. These include student loans, certain taxes from a specific time period (taxes due within 3 years), alimony and support payments, criminal restitution and debts for death or personal injury caused by driving intoxicated from alcohol or drugs.

Chapter 13 is designed for persons with regular income who were temporarily unable to pay their debts but would like to pay them in installments over a period of time. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically used by consumers who have substantial disposable income or persons who have fallen behind in their mortgage and/or vehicle payments and are faced with foreclosure or repossession, but would like to retain the property. Under this, you must file a Chapter 13 repayment plan with the court to repay your creditors using your future earnings. The repayment period is usually three years, but no longer than five years. After completion of your payment plan, your debts will be discharged, except for long term secure obligations such as mortgage and vehicle loans, student loans, alimony and support payments, criminal restitution and debts for death or personal injury caused by driving intoxicated from alcohol or drugs.

Chapter 11 is primarily designed for business reorganizations. Although, the Washington DC Bankruptcy Law Firm of Kevin D Judd does not provide this service, we are able to recommend you to a law firm that can help your company restructure its debt.
Return to Top

Where Should a Bankruptcy Case be Filed?

In the jurisdiction where the person resided or maintained a principle place of business for the greater portion of the last 180 days. Our law firm is familiar with all Washington DC and Maryland jurisdictions, especially those surrounding the District of Columbia.
Return to Top

Who is Eligible to File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Maintain a Chapter 7 Case?

Kevin D. Judd will file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for any person who resides in, does business in or has property in the United States. All such clients may file a Chapter 7 case, except for:

  1. a person who has filed a Bankruptcy case within 8 years and has received a discharge
  2. a person who has committed certain fraudulent acts,
  3. or a person who has intentionally dismissed a prior bankruptcy case within the last 180 days.

In order for a person to maintain a Chapter 7 case, that person must demonstrate that he or she does not have enough disposable income to pay off a substantial portion of his or her debts within a reasonable period. Disposable income is defined as a person’s net income after the payment of the necessary living expenses, including the expenses for his or her dependents.
Return to Top

May a Husband and Wife File a Joint Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Under What Circumstances?

Yes. Although a husband and wife do not have to file together, a husband and wife should file together if both of them are liable for one or more substantial dischargeable debts. If both are liable for a substantial debt and only one files a Chapter 7 case, the creditor may later attempt to collect from the non-filing spouse.
Return to Top

What if You Want to Repay a Dischargeable Debt?

You are not prohibited from repaying as many dischargeable debts as you wish. Further, by repaying a selected debt, you are not obligated to pay your other dischargeable debts.
Return to Top

How Does a Discharge Affect Co-Signers?

A discharge only releases the person(s) who filed the case. The liability of the debt to the co-signer remains.
Return to Top

Do I Lose My House and/or My Vehicle if a File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

So long as you are current on your mortgage and/or vehicle payments and maintain insurance, you may be able to keep your house and/or vehicle.
Return to Top

How Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Affects a Person’s Credit Rating?

If you have a good rating, it will worsen it. However, if you have a very derogatory rating, it may help it because some financial institutions solicit persons who have filed a Chapter 7 case. They know that person is unable to file another Chapter 7 case for another eight years. In addition, if a compelling reason led to your filing, such as illness or divorce, some credit rating agencies make take that into account in rating your score.
Return to Top

Will it be Difficult to Obtain Future Employment or Will I Lose My Current Job if I File Bankruptcy?

No. The law is clear here. Employers are barred from discriminating against persons who have filed a bankruptcy case.
Return to Top

What are the Typical Steps to Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case and Obtaining a Discharge?

  1. First, schedule an appointment with Kevin D. Judd, a qualified Washington DC bankruptcy lawyer who can properly manage your entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
  2. At your first appointment, you should bring a copy of your last tax return filed, proof of income for the past 6 months and pay stubs or documents relating to retirement or disability income. You should also bring a copy of deeds to property owned in the last 3 years and documents evidencing all your debt obligations. You may also provide a copy of your credit report.
  3. At your first appointment, you would have completed a bankruptcy questionnaire in which we will review with you and determine if you are eligible to file a bankruptcy case.
  4. You will come back to the office within 1 to 2 weeks to sign your bankruptcy papers that we prepared. These papers will be filed in court within a few days after all necessary signatures are obtained.
  5. Approximately a month after the filing of your case, a meeting of creditors will be held. This typically last 2 to 3 minutes, and creditors normally do not appear at the meeting.
  6. Approximately 3 months after the meeting of creditors is held, your Chapter 7 discharge papers will be mailed to you by the court.

Return to Top

What are the Typical Steps to Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Completing a Chapter 13 Case?

You first schedule an appointment with Kevin D. Judd who will see you through the entire Chapter 13 bankruptcy process.

  1. At your first appointment, you should bring a copy of your last tax return, proof of income for the last 6 months for example and pay stubs or documents relating to retirement or disability income. Bring a copy of deeds to all properties owned in the last 3 years, and bring proof evidencing all your debt obligations. You may also bring a copy of your credit report if you have it.
  2. At your first appointment you would have completed a bankruptcy questionnaire in which we will review with you and determine if you are eligible for filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  3. You will come back to the office within 1 to 2 weeks to sign your bankruptcy papers. However, in emergency situations, you will come back the next day to sign bankruptcy short forms to stop a pending foreclosure of a house or to halt a repossession or sale of a vehicle.
  4. After your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, you are required to pay all secured creditors on time on the scheduled due date. Secured creditors are creditors who have a lien against property you own; such as houses, vehicles and personal property (e.g., furniture, jewelry, etc.). You are required to commence plan payments to the bankruptcy trustee one month after the Chapter 13 repayment plan is filed in court.
  5. Approximately, a month after filing your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a meeting of creditors will be held, which typically last 3 to 5 minutes. At this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee reviews your bankruptcy papers and inquires as to whether you can afford to pay your regular monthly living expenses in addition to your Chapter 13 repayment plan payments.
  6. Approximately 3 months after your meeting of creditors, a confirmation hearing will be held. At this confirmation hearing, the Bankruptcy Judge reviews your Bankruptcy filings. If everything is in order and you are current on plan payments, your Chapter 13 plan payments will be confirmed by the Bankruptcy Judge without you appearing to court.
  7. After you have funded your plan payments within the subscribed plan payment period, you will receive a Chapter 13 discharge and your case will be closed.

Return to Top

Get Help; Don’t Wait

The best advice for anyone facing a difficult financial challenge is to act. You may chose to file for bankruptcy. You may chose to work out payment plans with your creditors, but you should do something. Not acting makes creditors more eager to take action against you, and only worsens your long-term financial outlook.

For guidance and assistance in filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the Washington DC area, contact Kevin D. Judd for a free initial consultation.

Your gateway to financial freedom.