Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy
At the law office of experienced Oakland County bankruptcy lawyer Ronald Siegel, PC, we find that many of our clients have pressing questions about their legal rights and options about how to deal with and eliminate debt. We have included general responses to several of these questions below for your reference.
Is There More Than one Type of Bankruptcy?
Yes. Individuals and couples can qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, depending upon the kind of debt that needs to be discharged and the debtor’s income. Additionally, Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 provide bankruptcy relief to larger businesses and people in certain occupations, such as farming.
Will Filing Stop Creditors from Calling?
Yes! The immediate effect of filing is that it automatically and instantaneously imposes an injunction on creditors, called the “automatic stay,” that prohibits them from taking any action against you in furtherance of trying to collect on a debt. Specifically, from the moment that your case is filed, creditors are not allowed to engage in any collection efforts. That means that they cannot call or write you to demand payment, they cannot sue you or continue lawsuits, they cannot garnish or levy your paycheck or bank account, and they cannot foreclose or continue foreclosure proceedings. Put another way, your creditors are frozen in their tracks the instant that you file.
Are all Debts Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?
No. There are several kinds of debt that are not dischargeable, including alimony, child support, some student loans, certain taxes, criminal fines, restitution, and judgments in some kinds of civil lawsuits. We will analyze the type and nature of your debts and develop pre bankruptcy filing strategies to determine whether and in what circumstances certain debts can be eliminated that might not otherwise be dischargeable.
Can I Keep My Car?
Usually you can, but whether or not to do so depends upon the circumstances. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor typically has the option of either reaffirming the debt owed to the finance company that extended the loan for their vehicle or surrendering the vehicle and eliminating the payments. Debts that are reaffirmed are not discharged in bankruptcy and must be paid in full according to the original terms of the loan. If your car is worth more than you owe on it, and if you can afford the payments once your other debts are discharged in bankruptcy, reaffirming may make sense. If you owe more than the car is worth, redeeming the vehicle (i.e. paying the lender the fair market value, usually in a lump sum) may be the best choice. In situations in which the debtor owes more than the automobile is worth and cannot afford to make a lump sum payment for the car’s fair market value, however, surrendering the car and discharging the loan in bankruptcy may be the best We will explore and discuss which option is best for you.
What About My Home?
Typically under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, a debtor may continue ownership of their home as long as they continue to make the required payments. If you are behind in your house payments and are being threatened with foreclosure, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the best option to stop the foreclosure and to force the mortgage company to accept a plan for repaying the back payments over an extended period of time. All options, including whether you can afford to keep the home, are considered and discussed with you to determine the best course of action.
What Kind of Paperwork is Necessary to File for Bankruptcy?
Attorney Siegel will work with you to prepare all of the required court documents. To make sure that the paperwork is accurate, you will need to provide certain documentation of your debts, assets, current income, and tax returns. Please refer to the page “What to Bring to Initial Consultation” under the Resources tab for a list of the documents that you will need. Do not worry if you do not have all of them, as some of the documents can be obtained online.
Ron has been an amazing ally for us over the course of the last few years. I think the most important thing to take away from this review very simply is that if you're looking for someone who is trustworthy, personal and deeply cares about your present and future success both as a counselor and as an ally in any legal matter, he is the man. He is forthright, direct and most importantly can help you navigate any complex circumstance and chaos that arises. He communicates thoroughly, and is always available. Trust, Integrity and Outstanding Service. Ron's more than an attorney for us, and more importantly he has your back.
Although going through Bankruptcy is an uncomfortable thing to go through Ron Siegel made it as easy as possible. His knowledge, professionalism and punctuality keeping everything up to date and keeping me informed so there were no surprises when the bankruptcy came to a close. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Ron to friends or family going through bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy attorney reference
My attorney, Ron Siegel was very helpful. He was knowledgeable, very responsive and personable. I had a lot of questions & called frequently and he always made himself available to me. He made a stressful process easier and actually enjoyable at times. I appreciated his candor and professionalism! He exceeded all of my expectations and I would highly recommend his services!
High Quality, Professional, Quick Responsiveness
Going through bankruptcy can be a scary thing, yet one meeting with Ron Siegel reassured my elderly parents that he was going to take action quickly and make sure they would not have to worry about anything. From the start Ron moved expeditiously and thoroughly through the process and was always available for the extra questions and phone calls that popped up. I am grateful that the experience was positive for my parents. I would highly recommend Ron to anyone going through bankruptcy.
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- National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
- Federal Bar Association
- American Bankruptcy Association
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