Understanding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as “liquidation” bankruptcy, is a debt relief option designed to help individuals and businesses wipe out most of their general unsecured debts and offer them a needed financial “fresh start.”
When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Texas court will appoint an independent contractor (trustee) to oversee your bankruptcy case. The trustee will be responsible for collecting and selling your non-exempt assets. The trustee will then pay your creditors using the net proceeds from the asset sale.
Non-Exempt and Exempt Assets
Since bankruptcy is governed by federal laws, it is usually the same across all states. When filing bankruptcy, assets are classified into non-exempt and exempt assets.
Non-Exempt Assets: These are assets and properties that can be used or sold by the trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. They include your second cars, vacation homes, second homes, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, family heirlooms, cash, and other investments.
Exempt Assets: These are properties that qualify for bankruptcy exemptions. They include your primary home, car, furniture pieces, household appliances, and clothing. You will still be left with your exempt assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
What Does Chapter 7 Do?
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy helps individuals and businesses in the following ways:
Clears away your general unsecured debts, such as unsecured personal loans, medical bills, and credit card debts.
Alleviates you of many of your other financial obligations, excluding child support and spousal support payments. It can also help you rebuild your credit score gradually over time.
Activates an “automatic stay” on your existing debts, which stops all creditor harassment and prevents debt collectors from collecting payments or garnishing your wages.
Activates an “automatic stay” that stops collection agencies from evicting you from, repossessing, or foreclosing your home.
What Chapter 7 Doesn’t Do
It will not leave you destitute. You still get to hold on to your major assets, including your home, furniture pieces, clothing, and vehicles.
It will not eliminate some debts, such as criminal restitution, fines and penalties, fraudulent debts, divorce settlement debts, state, local, and federal taxes.
It will not alleviate your responsibility to pay child support and spousal support. A family court order will be required to suspend these.
It will not eliminate your student loan debts, except in very rare situations.
Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Texas
Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas requires you to pass the bankruptcy means test and attend credit counseling courses.
Bankruptcy Means Test
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income must pass the bankruptcy “means test.” If your income is less than the median income for your household size in Texas, you automatically pass. However, if your family income is above the state’s median, in order to qualify for Chapter 7, you will need to complete the bankruptcy means test. The test will review your financial records, deduct certain expenses, and determine your disposable income. If your disposable income is too low to allow for the repayment of any outstanding debts then you may qualify for Chapter 7.
Those that don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be better suited for Chapter 13.
Calculating Texas’s Median Income
Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy also requires that your income is less than the Texas median income for your household size.
One-person household – $50,902
Two-member household – $66,899
Three-member household – $73,948
Four-member household – $86,259
*Add $9,000 for each household in excess of 4 members.
The figures listed are for 2020, but they’re updated regularly. Our attorneys at Oliva Law Bankruptcy can help determine whether you qualify for filing Chapter 7.
Credit Counseling Providers
Before filing your bankruptcy case, you are required to complete a session with an approved credit counseling provider within six months prior to filing. After filing your bankruptcy case, but before the court issues your discharge, you also need to take a debtor management course from a U.S Trustee approved agency in Texas. Both courses usually take about two hours to complete, and you can attend online.
Work With an Experienced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney in McAllen, Texas
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a common occurrence in Texas. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, of the 35,069 bankruptcy filings in the state of Texas in 2019, nearly 17,829 were Chapter 7 cases. If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Texas bankruptcy attorney for detailed guidance and to protect your rights.
Oliva Law Bankruptcy has been providing outstanding legal services and handling bankruptcy-related matters for over 15 years. Attorney Marcos Oliva and his experienced bankruptcy attorneys can review your unique situation, help you understand your available options, and determine whether or not, Chapter 7 is the right debt relief option for you. Our team will provide you with the comprehensive legal counsel and strong representation you need throughout your bankruptcy process.
Life’s financial curveballs can strike without prior notice and sideline you from paying bills, debts, and meeting other financial obligations. In such circumstances, filing for bankruptcy may be one of the most viable legal options for you to achieve immediate relief from your financial stress. If you are experiencing financial adversity and considering filing bankruptcy, consulting with a knowledgeable Texas bankruptcy attorney is crucial so that you can receive detailed legal guidance and support.
Our experienced attorneys at Oliva Law Bankruptcy are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services and guiding clients through the complex procedures surrounding Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As your legal counsel, we will review the details of your case and help you understand all of the legal options that you have available to you. Our team will offer you the reliable legal counsel and advocacy that you need to navigate the complexities of your bankruptcy proceedings.
Oliva Law Bankruptcy is a firm that proudly serves clients across McAllen, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Brownsville, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Texas
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, often referred to as “repayment plan” bankruptcy, is a debt relief option that offers immediate relief to individuals who earn regular income but are experiencing financial stress. Through a chapter 13 plan, you will get three to five years to recover on past-due payments. At the end of the plan, some of your unsecured debt may be discharged.
When is Chapter 13 a Good Debt Relief Option?
Chapter 13 is an ideal debt relief option when:
You are behind on your car loan or mortgage payments.
You need more time to catch up on your debts or past-due payments.
You have tax obligations, fines and penalties, domestic support arrearages, or other kinds of debt that can’t be discharged.
You have non-exempt property that you want to keep.
You have a co-debtor on a personal debt.
What Can Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Do For Me?
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help individuals in the following ways:
It can allow you to repay debts through a repayment plan.
It can allow you to catch up on past debts while keeping your assets or property.
It can allow you to reschedule your secured debts and extend them over the life of the plan.
You can discharge some unsecured debt at the end of the plan.
Activates an “automatic stay” on your existing debts. This will stop all creditor harassments, prevent debt collection or wage garnishment.
Stop an eviction, repossession, or foreclosure on your home.
Protects third parties who are liable for “consumer debts.”
Ensures no direct contact with creditors.
Allows you to obtain new lines of credit within one to three years of filing.
Helps you rebuild your credit score gradually over time.
What Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cannot Do For You
It will not allow any of your assets to be sold.
It will not relieve you of your priority debts, such as state, local, and federal taxes, criminal restitution, fines, and penalties.
It will not relieve you of your obligations to pay child support and alimony.
It will not get rid of your student loan debt.
How to Qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
To be eligible for Chapter 13, your secured debts and unsecured debts must not exceed certain amounts. According to U.S. Code Title 11 Bankruptcy Section 109 (11 U.S.C. § 109(e)), an individual with regular income, be it self-employed or operating an unincorporated business, is eligible for chapter 13 bankruptcy as long as:
The person’s secured debts are less than $1,184,200.
The person’s unsecured debts are less than $394,725.
However, these amounts are adjusted occasionally to reflect any changes in the consumer price index.
Mandatory Courses and Filing Fees
When filing your bankruptcy forms, you will be required to tender a certificate showing that you received the mandatory credit counseling education from a U.S Trustee approved agency in Texas. This session will help determine whether you have enough income to repay your creditors. Upon filing your case, you will take a second “debtor education” course.
Understanding The Filing Process
Filing for Chapter 13 requires you to propose a repayment plan. However, before your plan can be approved by the court, you must:
Be current on your income tax filings
Be employed and have sufficient income to cover the required monthly payments
Have enough disposable income to pay back certain debts in full
Be within debt amount limitations (mentioned above)
Establishing a Repayment Plan
The repayment plan is a major component of the Chapter 13 case. This will be proposed to your creditors and the court. The repayment plan must take all your debts into account. Both the bankruptcy trustee (an independent contractor appointed by the court to oversee your bankruptcy) and your creditors may object to your plan. Upon making required changes to the satisfaction of everyone involved, the Texas court will likely approve your plan during the confirmation hearing.
The Confirmation Hearing
The confirmation hearing is designed to confirm the following:
The plan is feasible
The plan complies with bankruptcy law
The debtor proposed the plan in good faith
Work With a Reliable Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney in McAllen, Texas
According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, in 2019, there were 35,069 bankruptcy cases in Texas, of which approximately 16,460 were Chapter 13 filings. These people didn’t go through this process alone, and neither should you. If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is crucial that you consult with a knowledgeable Texas bankruptcy attorney to protect your rights and for proper guidance.
For more than 15 years, Oliva Law Bankruptcy has been offering experienced legal services to clients for all bankruptcy-related matters. As your legal counsel, we will review every aspect of your case, help you understand your possible options, and determine whether or not, Chapter 13 is the right debt relief option for your unique situation. Our attorneys can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate the complexities of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Owning your home is part and parcel of the American dream. However, if you find yourself falling behind on your mortgage payments, your home ownership can become a nightmare. It can be filled with anxiety, anger, and fear.
All it takes is one event—or a combination of them—to find yourself on the brink of foreclosure. A lost job, a serious health condition or accident, or a paycheck that cannot keep pace with inflation may put you at risk of losing your home. However, there are steps you can take to hold onto your home or suffer no further financial harm.
At Oliva Law, we work with clients facing foreclosure in McAllen, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Brownsville, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The best way to lower the stress of possible foreclosure is to understand your options. We are here to help you explore them.
What Leads to Foreclosure?
If you have failed to make certain payments on your home, you are in default. Default may lead to foreclosure.
You default if you have gotten behind on your mortgage payments, if you have failed to maintain lender-required property insurance that protects their investment, or if you fail to pay the property taxes you owe. These obligations are all part of homeownership. If you fail to abide by them, you may face foreclosure.
What Is the Foreclosure Process in Texas?
Foreclosure does not happen if you miss a single mortgage payment or fail to pay your property taxes. There is, instead, a process that must be followed by lenders and governmental taxing entities which they can pursue if you become too far in arrears.
First, a lender is required to notify you not only of past-due payments and any related fees but also about your options to avoid foreclosure. These options may include a repayment plan for the arrearage, a modification of the terms of the mortgage, or a forbearance period the lender agrees to provide to allow you time to catch up. The lender must first notify you 36 days after the first missed payment and every 3 days thereafter. At least 45 days after the missed payment, the lender must provide assistance with mitigation options.
The actions occur during the “pre-foreclosure” period because you have at least 120 days from the missed payment to correct, mitigate, or cure the default by bringing your payments current. Moreover, you have the option of filing for bankruptcy, which stays any further action by the lender for the duration of your case.
Most bankruptcies in Texas are non-judicial, meaning the lender does not take you to court. Instead, the property may be sold and ownership transferred. If the property sells for less than you owe, the lender may pursue a judgment against you for the shortfall. If it sells for more than you owe, you may receive the overage.
The process is designed to give you time to explore your options, pursue those you can, and make the decisions necessary to vacate the property if it is foreclosed upon. Although the lender is required to advise you of mitigation measures, it is crucial to work with a bankruptcy attorney. At Olive Law Bankruptcy, we help clients like you fully understand every viable option you have so you can make the best decision for your situation.
What Are My Legal Rights and Options in Foreclosure?
Most lenders will pursue a non-judicial foreclosure to save time and money; however, you have the right to file a wrongful foreclosure action against the lender if you can prove they lack a valid lien or they have failed to adhere to the non-judicial process required by law. This can be risky to try alone. If you do not prevail in court, you may end up also paying the expenses incurred by the lender to defend itself.
You could request lender approval of a short sale. You will attempt to sell the house to a buyer to repay the lender. There’s nothing ‘short’ about this process—it takes a long time, and if you come up short on the sale price, you still have to pay the lender what you owe.
You may be able to avoid foreclosure by offering the lender the deed in lieu of foreclosure. You would have to convince the lender to accept the deed to the property and release you from all other financial obligations in exchange. Lenders are usually lukewarm to this option because they end up owning the property and must invest the time and money into selling it. If having the deed means paying tax arrearages or other lienholders, you have little chance of convincing your lender to take this route.
Bankruptcy is often the best option for those facing foreclosure. You can file quickly if necessary to halt the sale of your property on the courthouse steps. The bankruptcy court will issue a stay immediately upon filing your case. Lenders often respond to the stay order by filing a motion for relief, asking the court to approve forcing you to continue to make mortgage payments. Nonetheless, that process takes time and may give a welcome reprieve.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will lose your home, but you will be released from any debt you owe on it. If you can manage a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and restructure your debt to make it affordable, you may be able to keep your home
Life’s financial curveballs can strike unexpectedly and prevent you from settling debts or meeting your other financial obligations. When overwhelmed with debts, debt settlement is among the promising options to help you achieve financial relief. This involves working with a debt settlement company that will reach out to your creditors on your behalf and help negotiate a reduced payment.
If you’re experiencing financial adversity and considering debt settlement, consulting with an experienced Texas debt settlement attorney is crucial for detailed guidance. At Oliva Law Bankruptcy, we offer knowledgeable guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in the legal matters of debt relief. Our trusted legal team will be available to discuss your unique situation, enlighten you about the debt settlement process, and explore your available legal options to achieve debt relief.
Oliva Law Bankruptcy proudly serves clients across McAllen, Texas, and the surrounding areas of Brownsville, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, and Laredo.
What Is Debt Settlement?
Debt settlement – also known as debt adjustment or debt relief – can be described as the process of settling debts for less than the actual amount owed by offering a lump-sum payment to the creditor. It involves an agreement between the consumer (the debtor) and the creditor to reduce the debt balance and waive other fees.
Through debt relief, you will be able to settle your debts for less than the total amount you owe by offering significant lump sums to the creditor. Also, you can hire a debt settlement company to get in touch with your creditor on your behalf and help negotiate a reduced payment.
Secured Debt vs. Unsecured Debt
Unsecured debt includes money borrowed without collateral. Examples are personal loans, student loans, credit cards, and medical bills. Conversely, a secured debt involves money borrowed by putting up collateral. Examples are car loans, mortgages, and home equity loans.
If you’re unable to pay your secured debts, the lender can collect your assets. In contrast, creditors cannot claim your assets with unsecured debts. However, you can expect continuous calls from debt collectors, late fees, and increased interest rates. Also, your credit score will start dropping. Thankfully, debt settlement offers a possible option to resolve your debt burden.
How Does Debt Settlement Affect Your Credit?
Unknown to many consumers, debt settlement can affect your credit score. The debt settlement company will ask you to stop making payments on your bills while they negotiate with the creditor. Rather, you will be paying into a savings account. Unfortunately, such missed payments will reflect on your credit history.
Also, since you will be resolving your debts for less than the actual amount – you won’t be paying your debts fully – debt settlement will eventually damage your credit score. The debt settlement information will stay on your credit report for up to seven years.
When Is It a Good Option?
Debt settlement may be a good option when:
- You want to pay off your debts fast. Should your debt settlement program be successful, you can resolve your debts swiftly.
- You want to get out of debt quickly and not file for bankruptcy.
- You want to resolve your debts for a reduced amount compared to what you owe.
An experienced attorney can evaluate your unique financial situation, determine whether debt settlement is right for you, and enlighten you about your other alternatives to achieve debt relief.
Work With an Experienced Attorney for Reliable Legal Guidance
Repaying your accumulated debts can be difficult. When you have more debts than you can pay, getting someone to help negotiate with the creditor on your behalf can help reduce the burden. However, before working with a debt settlement company, you need to understand the benefits and drawbacks of debt adjustment to avoid possible pitfalls. Therefore, consulting with an experienced debt relief attorney is important for detailed guidance and to explore your possible options.
At Oliva Law Bankruptcy, we advise and guide clients in debt relief and bankruptcy-related matters. As your legal counsel, we can:
- Evaluate your financial situation.
- Enlighten you about your available options to achieve debt relief.
- Enlighten you about the benefits and drawbacks of repaying debts through debt settlement.
- Help determine whether debt settlement is good for you.
- Help determine the best course of action for your unique financial situation.
Our trusted legal team will walk you through the legal phases involved in the debt settlement process from start to finish and help you achieve the debt relief you deserve.
Many Texas residents turn to credit cards to pay bills and meet their financial needs. While credit cards offer an amazing safety net, there is also the potential of overspending and falling into unnecessary debt. A shopping spree, unexpected medical expenses, emergency bills, or even accumulated daily spending can throw you into credit card debt.
If you have more credit card debt than you can pay or if you need help paying off a credit card debt, consulting with an experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney is crucial.
At Oliva Law Bankruptcy, we’re committed to offering knowledgeable legal guidance and reliable advocacy to clients in credit card debt matters. Our skilled legal team can evaluate your unique financial situation and explore your available options to achieve credit card debt relief.
Oliva Law Bankruptcy is proud to serve clients across McAllen, Texas, and the surrounding areas of Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, as well as throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
Credit Card Debt in Texas
Nobody wants to get into credit card debt. However, it usually happens. A person could get into credit card debt through any of these ways:
- Shopping spree
- Unexpected medical expenses
- Financial emergencies, such as home or car repair
- Falling for card-reward tricks of credit card companies
- Making minimum payments
- Credit card fraud
- Confusing credit card terms
- Getting multiple credit cards
Unfortunately, getting into credit card debt means you’ll have to deal with the overwhelming stress of the situation, creditor harassment, and deceitful creditor tactics. The interest and penalties for late payments will make it even harder to pay off your balance. Therefore, when you’re overwhelmed with credit card debt, you need to speak with an experienced attorney to enlighten you about your options for debt relief.
What Is Debt Settlement?
Debt settlement – also referred to as debt adjustment or debt relief – is a debt repayment method that allows you to settle your credit card debts for less than the actual amount owed. It requires proposing a huge lump-sum payment to the creditor. A debt settlement company will contact the creditor on your behalf to negotiate a reduced payment amount. Through debt settlement, you can settle your credit card debts quickly and for less than the exact amount you owe.
What Is Debt Consolidation?
Debt consolidation involves combining several credit card debts, loans, liabilities, and other expenses into a single larger debt. In debt consolidation, you will have to take out a new loan to pay back your existing debts. If you’re overwhelmed with huge credit card debts with high-interest, debt consolidation may be an option for you. However, while debt consolidation can help streamline your finances, it may not solve your financial problems totally.
Is Bankruptcy an Option?
When overwhelmed with credit card debts, bankruptcy may be a promising option to help you achieve debt relief. Credit card debts are considered “unsecured debts.” This means that such debts can be discharged or wiped out through bankruptcy without losing the assets and property you bought with the credit card.
Also, filing for bankruptcy can help stop creditor calls and other collection efforts of the debt collector. An experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney can enlighten you about your options and determine which bankruptcy chapter is right for you.
The Importance of Skilled Counsel
Being buried by credit card debt can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. In addition to your debt issues, you will also have to deal with creditor harassment and dishonest creditor tactics. Thankfully, you may be able to achieve debt relief through bankruptcy, debt consolidation, or debt settlement. An experienced debt relief attorney can explore your different options and help determine the right one to settle your credit card debts.
At Oliva Law Bankruptcy, we have the diligence, experience, and resources to help consumers who are overburdened with credit card debt achieve relief. As your legal counsel, we can assess your personal financial situation, enlighten you about your possible options, and help you decide on the ideal debt relief solution that best fits your unique circumstances. In addition, our trusted team will fight vigorously for you, handle creditor harassment, and negotiate with creditors on your behalf to create a feasible repayment arrangement.
If you’ve ever faced financial troubles, you know how hard it can be to keep your head above water and try to get out of the debt you owe. What can make this process even more complicated is when your wages are garnished to pay off these debts. Wage garnishment can be a crippling blow to those who are just trying to do their best with their debt obligations. Fortunately, in some cases, you may be able to file for an exemption.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to stop wage garnishment and are in the McAllen, Texas area, give us a call today to discuss your options. At Oliva Law Bankruptcy, we can help individuals throughout the Rio Grande Valley, including Laredo and Corpus Christi.
Understanding Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment occurs when a creditor obtains a court order to take money directly from an individual’s paycheck to pay off past-due debts. Each state sets its own laws for what debts are eligible for garnishment. This can range from consumer debt like credit cards or car loans to alimony, child support, student loans, and state or federal taxes. In Texas, your wages cannot be garnished for consumer debt.
In general, the amount that can be taken from your paycheck is capped at 50% to 60% of your disposable earnings, meaning the amount you receive after your employer has made the required standard deductions. However, the amount taken depends on your other debt obligations.
For example, if you’re currently providing child or spousal support for someone, your wages can only be garnished up to 50%. If you don’t have these debt obligations, this amount may increase to 60% of your wages. In some cases, an additional 5% can be taken if your debt is more than 12 weeks past due. If you’ve defaulted on a federal student loan, only 15% of your wages can be garnished to pay for this.
Laws Addressing Wage Garnishment
The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) limits how much of the employee’s earnings can be taken and protects employees from negative consequences from their employer. Since wage garnishment is additional work for the employer, this law protects employees from being fired if they have one garnishment in place. However, if there’s more than one garnishment, federal law does not protect the employee. Fortunately, Texas Law does provide some added protection for employees who are afraid they might be terminated because they have multiple garnishments.
How to Stop Wage Garnishment
If you feel your wage garnishment is unfair or unreasonable, you can fight it by filing an exemption claim with the courts. This may cause the garnishment to be stopped, but it may also offer you an opportunity to negotiate a payment plan.
Another option to stop wage garnishment is to file for bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will be issued, stopping all debt collections, including wage garnishments. Our firm can advise you on how to eliminate the underlying debt or create a repayment plan that is within your financial means.
Medical Debt & Bankruptcy
When making big financial decisions, you typically have control over when and what you’ll be buying. Purchasing a car or home, for example, are preplanned choices. But hefty medical bills, on the other hand, can ambush you when you least expect it.
It’s an unfortunate reality that health insurance in the United States only serves as partial financial protection. When emergencies occur, recovery can be expensive and painful, physically and emotionally. Bills can seem overwhelming to handle, and distress can be high. Please know you’re not alone if you are or have experienced this. And, don’t wait for it to get worse — get the guidance you need from experienced bankruptcy and medical debt attorneys.
You’re likely wondering, “Will filing for bankruptcy eliminate my medical debt?” Perhaps you’ve never considered it before, but bankruptcy may be the best path for you to achieve immediate relief from your financial stress. If you’re experiencing overwhelming medical debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, our team at Oliva Law Bankruptcy can answer your questions and personally guide you through the process.
We proudly serve clients living in Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Call us today to get set up with a free consultation.
Understand Your Debt Relief Options
There are better ways of taking care of your medical bills than using credit cards or opening a new line of credit. While these strategies are available, they act as more of a band-aid solution — you may think you’re reducing your debt, but when the debt to be paid off is astronomical, all you’re doing is increasing your interest rates.
Don’t let a financial crisis interfere with your recovery when it doesn’t have to. Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your ticket to a fresh start, and our bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine which path is best for you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If your income is below average and you have assets with little or no equity, then a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be a great choice. You don’t have to have a certain amount of debt – you can file for Chapter 7 on a single but substantial debt. Medical debt, for instance, will be wiped out in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact our firm today.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Because of your income level and assets, you may not qualify for Chapter 7, but you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Through this chapter, you’ll pay back the portion of the medical debt you can afford through a customized repayment plan. The court will eliminate the remainder at the end of the case.
Depending on your credit score, you may be able to resolve your medical debt with one of the following strategies:
- Negotiate a settlement with your medical provider
- Ask your hospital about assistance programs
Everyone’s financial situation is different. Our team is well-versed in multiple chapters of bankruptcy and other debt-relief options. For practical advice that’s tailored to you and your family’s unique needs, contact us today and schedule a consultation.
Pros & Cons of Filing for Medical Debt Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy is often considered a worst-case scenario, but that’s simply not the case, especially when medical debt is involved. In a case study conducted on Americans who filed for bankruptcy between 2013-2016, researchers found that two-thirds of the pool cited medical issues as a contributing reason for their bankruptcy claim.
But while filing for medical bankruptcy may be more common than we thought, you still want to make sure it’s the best option for you. The following are some pros and cons to consider before filing:
- Your medical debts can get completely eliminated
- You’ll be able to keep important assets
- If your credit score wasn’t great before, filing for bankruptcy may actually help improve it
- By eliminating debt, bankruptcy can help lower your credit utilization, which positively impacts your score
- Bankruptcy will give you a fresh financial start
- Bankruptcy can be a long and expensive process
- You could lose certain assets of value
- Potential negative impacts on your credit
- Your credit score may drop significantly after filing for bankruptcy
- You’ll receive higher interest rates and lower credit limits
- Bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years
Under Texas law, creditors and debt collectors are prohibited from harassing and abusing consumers while trying to recover debts. While creditors are permitted to interact reasonably with debtors, using deceptive means or continuous calls at odd hours is forbidden. This may be regarded as creditor harassment.
If you are facing financial distress and overwhelmed with endless calls and demand letters from debt collection agencies, retaining a seasoned Texas bankruptcy attorney is imperative to protect your legal rights. At Oliva Law Bankruptcy, give reliable advocacy and clear legal direction to clients in matters of bankruptcy and creditor harassment.
Our accomplished attorneys can listen to your specific situation, strategize an effective approach to protect your rights, and analyze your available bankruptcy options to achieve relief. In addition, we will handle any continuous creditor calls and help negotiate a feasible repayment arrangement with your creditors.
Oliva Law Bankruptcy proudly serves clients across McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Understanding Creditor Harassment
Creditor harassment – also known as creditor calls or bill collector calls – occurs when a debt collector or creditor uses unethical, deceptive, and threatening means to seek money owed from a debtor. This also comprises all provoking actions, such as coercing, abusing, intimidating, browbeating, or bullying, done by the debt collector to recover debts from consumers.
Furthermore, creditor calls could happen over the phone, through emails, demand letters, direct mail, or texts. It may also involve calling you at odd hours or discussing your debt with family members, employers, friends, and neighbors.
What Are Creditors Allowed To Do vs. What is Considered “Harassment”?
If you are yet to file for bankruptcy, creditors and debt collectors can reach out to you through calls, texts, or letters between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., but at reasonable intervals. However, once the creditor calls become endless or repeated at short intervals, it may be considered harassment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
According to the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are prohibited from using any false, abusive, harassing practices or misleading representation to recover debts from debtors. Also, a consumer can request proof that they owe the money the debt collector is trying to recover.
Will Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Creditor Harassment?
Yes. Under U.S. bankruptcy laws, once a debtor files their bankruptcy petition, an “automatic stay” order goes into effect. This is a federal court injunction that instructs all creditors to stop contacting the consumer and halt all debt collection efforts and pending legal actions.
What’s more, the automatic stay injunction explicitly states that creditors and debt collectors are not allowed to:
- Call you
- Send texts, letters, or emails
- Foreclose on your home
- Repossess your collateral
- Place a lien on your property
- File or continue a lawsuit
The automatic stay order will protect the consumer from all creditor harassment tactics, such as endless calls, emails, demand letters, and texts.
What If the Creditor Ignores the Automatic Stay Order?
However, it is illegal for a creditor to harass a debtor who has filed for bankruptcy. If a creditor or debt collector fails to comply with the automatic stay order and continues calling or harassing you, you should notify your Texas bankruptcy attorney straight away. Your lawyer can take appropriate legal action against the non-compliant creditor and help seek relief.
Do I Need A Bankruptcy Lawyer?
When overburdened with debts and receiving endless calls, texts, or demand letters from creditors, filing for bankruptcy remains a promising solution to achieve debt relief and stop creditor calls.
However, filing for bankruptcy is a huge decision that needs thoughtful consideration and experienced guidance. Therefore, when overwhelmed with huge debts and harassing calls, consulting with a practiced bankruptcy attorney is imperative for detailed guidance and to protect your legal rights.
At Oliva Law, our attorneys have devoted their careers to advising and guiding clients through the complex bankruptcy filing process. As your legal counsel, we can evaluate your unique financial circumstances and determine the ideal bankruptcy chapter for you.
In addition, we will help negotiate with creditors to create the best possible arrangement for your debts. Our legal team will also help handle any ongoing creditor harassment, advise you on rebuilding your credit, and take adequate precautions to help you create a stable financial future.
Take Control of Your Financial Future
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