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Filing for Personal Bankruptcy

Looking for the truth about personal bankruptcy in Arizona? You’ve come to the right place! Allegiant Law Group’s mission is to be your trusted guide through Chapter  7 and Chapter 13. Get a fresh start and have a better life.

We understand the financial stresses you and your family are experiencing right now – feeling trapped, tormented by debt collectors, afraid to open the mail or answer the phone. You don’t have to face these challenges alone.

Is it an emergency? Are you being sued or threatened with garnishment, repossession, or foreclosure? Call us today and protect your rights.

Why File for Bankruptcy?

  • If you’re struggling to make ends meet or can’t pay the bills on time, then consider personal bankruptcy. Think for a moment:
  • Are you looking for ways to eliminate debt?
  • Is your vehicle about to be repossessed?
  • Do you need to stop foreclosure proceedings?
  • Are your credit cards maxed out?
  • Are you needing to stop wage garnishment?
  • Are you in arrears on court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance payments?
  • Do you need special, immediate relief from eviction by the landlord?
  • Are doctors’ bills and medical debts beyond your ability to pay?
  • Did you sign a debt settlement agreement, but still can’t keep up with payments?
  • Do you want to stop debt collectors from calling, texting, emailing, sending letters, and threatening you with legal action?
  • Are you looking to stop your creditor’s lawsuit?
  • Do you want to avoid borrowing against your 401K or liquidating your IRA?
  • Would you renegotiate with the mortgage company if you could?
  • Do you need more time to get your finances back on track?

You’re not alone. These are the same types of concerns our clients once had. We can help you, too.

Which Bankruptcy Is Best for You?

Take a quick look at the two personal bankruptcies available:

  • Chapter 7 (called “liquidation”);
  • Chapter 13 (called “wage earner reorganization”).

Eligibility for Chapter 7 requires passing the Means Test. Any non-exempt property may be sold by the trustee, but the debtor’s exempt property is protected. The court’s discharge order is a fresh start, completely free of discharged debts.

To be eligible for Chapter 13, the debtor must be working and earning wages. There will be a three-year or five-year plan period where affordable payments from disposable income are made. This allows the debtor to keep both exempt and non-exempt property, even when he or she owns two homes. Upon plan completion, the court orders a discharge. A new beginning!

In fact, some people begin with Chapter 13 but convert the case to Chapter 7 because of changed circumstances, such as job loss or lengthy illness. It’s even possible to convert a Chapter 7 case to Chapter 13!

Who Files for Personal Bankruptcy?

Any individual with mostly consumer debts has the right to file for personal bankruptcy. Consumer debts are incurred primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. (For example, borrowing to buy a refrigerator or car.) The petitioner must also be at least 18 years of age. Beyond those requirements, it doesn’t matter whether the person is married or unmarried, separated or divorced, paying child support or receiving alimony, employed or retired, disabled or collecting Social Security.

Must spouses file together? No, but they do have options. One spouse may file, both spouses may file jointly, or each spouse may maintain a separate case. There may be strategic benefits to filing jointly, so talk to a lawyer. Everything depends upon specific circumstances – which bankruptcy chapter, what spouses want, the property owned and exemptions claimed, the debts involved, and more.

Protection of the Automatic Stay

The whole point of bankruptcy is to get immediate debt relief. That’s why the automatic stay goes into effect upon filing the petition. It’s an injunction to preserve the bankruptcy estate while protecting the rights and interests of the debtor and creditors.

The automatic stay stops creditors and bill collectors in their tracks. No creditor can take action against the debtor (or debtor’s property) without the bankruptcy judge’s permission. The bank cannot repossess your car, the mortgage lender cannot foreclose on your home, the credit card company cannot pursue a lawsuit against you. There are bankruptcy sanctions for violating the automatic stay as well as penalties for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Should You Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

If you’re thinking about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, then you need to decide whether to file by yourself or hire a bankruptcy lawyer.

Understand, it’s difficult to succeed in bankruptcy without attorney representation, particularly in Chapter 13. Both federal law and Arizona law apply. Although detailed bankruptcy forms make filing more uniform, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is very complex.

There are also many myths and misunderstandings about the proceedings. The truth is, a single mistake could get the case dismissed. If dismissed without prejudice because of some technical error, then you could refile without penalty. But if dismissed with prejudice for a more serious mistake, then there’s no refiling before the penalty time bar is lifted.

You don’t have to decide today. When you’re ready to talk, we’re here to listen. Just so you know, we’re offering the Arizona Personal Bankruptcy Handbook, The Truth About Keeping Assets and Clearing Away Debts by attorney Scott David Stewart. This handbook is packed full of useful information, including how to rebuild credit scores after bankruptcy. Call 602-562-5000 or email.

To learn the basics and avoid pitfalls, read everything on our website. We dispel myths, clarify key proceedings, and detail important steps. This will help you prepare while saving precious time.

Do you want assistance with your case? Meet with a caring, knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer who will answer your questions and provide guidance. That way, you can make an informed decision about what to do next. You won’t be pressured into anything.