Salt Lake City Bankruptcy Lawyer
Skilled Bankruptcy Lawyer Serving Salt Lake City
Filing for bankruptcy is one of the most difficult decisions a person can face. In addition to feeling fearful and uncertain about your future, filing for bankruptcy may also engender feelings of shame and embarrassment. With more than 50 years of combined experience in bankruptcy and debt relief, the knowledgeable attorneys at The Law Firm of Peter & Paul have the patience and knowledge to help you regain your footing and reclaim your future.
If you are currently considering filing for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we will take the time to learn about your circumstances and craft a creative solution that benefits all involved.
Generally speaking, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows an individual to wipe out their debts and start over fresh. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation process in which a trustee collects all of your assets and sells those that are not exempt. The net proceeds from the liquidation are then distributed to your creditors with a commission taken by your trustee. Certain debts, such as child support, alimony, student loans, fraudulent debts and trust fund taxes, may not be discharged during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Secured debt may be eliminated, but the collateral — i.e. your house, car and/or other property — may be reclaimed by creditors or sold on your behalf.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, also known as “reorganization,” is an option for both businesses and individuals in the state of Utah. Regardless of who is filing, Chapter 11 bankruptcy offers a window of 120 days to submit a reorganization plan. This is subject to the approval of both a creditors’ committee and the court overseeing the proceeding. During a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, the debtor may liquidate assets and/or repay them in order to obtain a discharge. Chapter 11 bankruptcy may also allow businesses to discontinue certain contracts and lease agreements.
During Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor typically offers a repayment plan to their creditors in which they agree to pay off some or all of the debts using future income. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are often utilized to avoid foreclosure, make up a missed car or mortgage payment, pay back taxes and/or stop interest from accruing on outstanding debt. If the debtor adheres to the terms of the repayment agreement, all remaining dischargeable debt will be released upon completion of the plan (generally 3-5 years). In order to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor must have a reliable source of income to apply toward the repayment plan.
Exemptions from Seizure, Foreclosure, Creditor Harassment & Repossession
Exemptions from Seizure
Utah has designated certain types of property as being exempt from seizure. Clothing, standard household furnishings and your vehicle may qualify for exemption, assuming, of course, that they are not worth a significant amount of money. Keep in mind that your secured property may still be at risk. For instance, if you are still making payments on a major purchase, such as your home, your creditor has likely attached a lien to the property.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your voluntary petition constitutes an “order for relief” that triggers an automatic stay. If your home has already been scheduled for a foreclosure sale, the transaction will be delayed for the duration of the bankruptcy proceedings (generally 3-4 months).
If you have already filed for bankruptcy and your lender has not yet repossessed your vehicle, an automatic stay will prevent your lender from being able to repossess your car until a bankruptcy judge can approve your repayment plan. Remember: as long as you remain current on your monthly payments, your lender will be barred from repossessing your vehicle both before and after the bankruptcy proceeding. However, you may be required to make “adequate protection” payments after filing in order to cover any depreciation in the value of your car.
Unfortunately, many creditors engage in profligate practices in order to intimidate debtors into making payments. These shameful practices may include repetitious phone calls intended to annoy and stress debtors — often with obscene and profane language — as well as threats of violence and harm. Thankfully, filing for bankruptcy will automatically protect from this sort of activity.
Contact The Law Firm of Peter & Paul Today for Your Free Consultation
The Law Firm of Peter & Paul is committed to helping Utah residents overcome stressful bankruptcy issues. If you and your family are currently considering filing for any one of the chapters of bankruptcy listed above, call our office today to schedule your free consultation.