Alabama Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer
There are few topics that can cause more stress than financial matters. While money surely doesn’t buy happiness, not having enough of it and struggling with debt repayment can certainly lead to feelings of unhappiness. For those who are drowning in debt, a positive, healthy financial future may seem unreachable.
While your situation may be dire and you may feel hopeless, it’s important to remember that there is help available and there are options for debt relief. At the Law Offices of Ted Stuckenschneider, P.C., we know how scary debt is, but we also know that filing for bankruptcy can provide much-needed relief. For the legal counsel and support you need, call our law office today.
When to File for Bankruptcy
If you are facing an overwhelming amount of debt, you may be unsure about your options and whether or not filing for bankruptcy is the best choice. Filing for bankruptcy is probably the best option if the following are true:
- You have already tried other methods of debt relief, such as debt consolidation. If you have already attempted to consolidate your debt with the help of a professional and you are still unable to make payments and are accruing interest at an unsustainable rate, then filing for bankruptcy may be a good option.
- You have already attempted to negotiate your debt. You may be surprised to learn that creditors are often open to having a conversation with debtors about reaching a payment plan that works for both parties and may even forgive a portion of a debt in order to do this. Ultimately, creditors want to be paid, even if that means they will only receive part of what they’re owed.
- Your debt and liabilities far exceed your assets and income. If you are working and earning at a rate where paying off your debts is possible with some good budgeting, especially in combination with selling some of your assets, then bankruptcy probably isn’t the best option. On the other hand, if your debt and liabilities far exceed what you’ll ever be able to pay based on your income and assets, bankruptcy may be your only option.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
There are two types of bankruptcy that are most commonly filed by consumers. Each has its own unique requirements for filing, as well as a different process and outcome.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for those who do not have the means to repay any portion of their debts and need to have their debts discharged. Often called liquidation bankruptcy, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, a debtor’s non-exempt assets will be “liquidated” and the proceeds will be used to pay creditors. We will help you analyze this. After all non-exempt assets have been liquidated and debts have been paid to the extent possible, any remaining debts will be discharged, or wiped out. In order for a person to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they must pass the means test, which is a test to determine whether or not the debtor earns too much to qualify for this type of bankruptcy. We will help you calculate this to see what you qualify for. For those who do not qualify, Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be an option to consider.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor will not have all of their assets liquidated and their debts discharged; instead, they will enter into a repayment plan with creditors that will last for between three and five years. As such, this is often called a wage earner’s plan. Over the course of the three to five years, the debtor will make payments to their creditors, as agreed upon. Then, at the conclusion of the plan, any remaining debts will be discharged. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy has some benefits over a Chapter 7, including that debtors often can keep more of their property and assets, such as a home.
Consequences of Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy can provide a debtor with financial relief, peace of mind, and a clean slate moving forward. But it isn’t without some downsides. Before you file for bankruptcy, it’s important to speak with a professional about the negative implications of filing. These include, but may not be limited to:
- A hit to your credit score. When a person files for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy will be reflected on their credit score. While your credit score is likely already fairly low if you’re considering bankruptcy, it will dip even more in the short term at least. A bankruptcy filing will stay on your credit for 10 years.
- Loss of assets. Remember, if you file for bankruptcy, you may need to liquidate your assets in order to pay your creditors. While some assets are exempt, you could lose a home, a car, and other personal items, especially if you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Challenges securing credits, getting a loan, or even getting a job in the future. When a bankruptcy filing is reflected on your credit score, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, landlords, and even employers will be able to view this. This means that securing a loan, a line of credit, or certain types of employment may be very challenging, if not impossible.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Ted Stuckenschneider, P.C.?
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy and have questions, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Filing for bankruptcy is a legal process that takes place in the courts – and you’ll want a skilled legal professional on your side. As you consider the right bankruptcy attorney for the job, note that Attorney Ted Stuckenschneider has over 40 years of experience working in bankruptcy law. He has been board-certified in consumer bankruptcy law since 1999 – one of only four attorneys in the state who holds this certification. When you need the representation of someone who truly understands the law and knows how to protect your best interests, you want to call the Law Offices of Ted Stuckenschneider, P.C.
Get the Help You Need with Your Consumer Bankruptcy Case Today
To learn more about working with our consumer bankruptcy attorney in Alabama, your rights and options, and how to start the process of filing for bankruptcy, please call our law office at (205) 324-5631, visit our office in-person, or use the intake form on our website to send us a confidential message about your situation. We are ready to go to work for you.
Take Action Toward Financial Solutions Today
Find out how 40 years of financial experience can help you find the best solution to your financial problems. Ted meets with people in Jefferson, Shelby and Blount counties. Being in action to find solutions to your financial problems will reduce your stress level. Ted can help. Call him at 205-324-5631, or email him to make your free initial consultation appointment.
Let’s Work On Solving Your Financial Problems.