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Common Questions and Concerns for Chapter 7

COMMON QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS FOR CHAPTER 7

1. EFFECT ON CREDIT

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the filing of a Chapter 7 petition remains on your credit record for a period of ten years. This, in and of itself, does not prohibit you from obtaining credit, but obviously, it would be one of many factors a creditor would look at in determining whether or not you are creditworthy.

If you maintain your house and car payments, you will have good credit relationships with those creditors and will be able to use the relationships toward rebuilding your credit.

As a general rule, it is difficult to establish new credit within two years of filing a chapter 7; after that, the degree of difficulty drops off dramatically.

2. EFFECT ON EMPLOYMENT

Federal law prohibits both public and private employers from discriminating against anyone solely because he or she has filed a bankruptcy. Public employers cannot terminate employment, refuse to promote or refuse to hire an applicant solely because of the filing of a bankruptcy, while private employers cannot terminate an employee solely for filing a bankruptcy; although, they may refuse to hire you for having filed bankruptcy.

This employment discrimination prohibition does not apply to the granting of credit. It does not prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to you, banks from refusing to establish an account, nor insurance companies from refusing to insure you or your property. As a general rule, those issues are considered “business decisions”. Nonetheless, a landlord usually will not refuse to rent to you unless you have had a prior history of rent defaults. It is unusual for a bank to refuse you to establish an account, absent a prior history of bounced checks. Insurance cancellations are extremely rare.

3. FUTURE STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS

It is illegal to deny a governmental grant, loan, loan guarantee or loan insurance to anyone seeking a student loan for themselves or a person associated with them because the person has filed a bankruptcy.

4. WHAT PROPERTY CAN I KEEP?

The issue of what property you can keep after filing a bankruptcy can be complicated, and you should discuss your specific situation with an attorney.

As a general rule, you are entitled to keep your home, contents of your home, vehicles, and retirement accounts. If you are single and have less than $18,450 equity in your home (or married and have less than $36,900 equity), or you do not own a home, you may be entitled to keep some money, stocks, savings, and accounts receivable. In Chapter 13, you may be able to keep assets that you would not be able to keep in a Chapter 7, but this must be discussed with the attorney specifically on a case by case basis.

5. BANK ACCOUNTS

A bank, savings and loan, credit union, or financial institution in which you have a deposit account, is allowed to take your deposit and set it off against any outstanding debt you may owe that institution. Therefore, as a general rule, you should not do business or have any deposit accounts in any financial institution to which you owe money.

As a general rule, if you are single and have less than $18,450.00 equity in your home (or married and have less than $36,900.00 equity), or you do not own a home, you may be entitled to keep anywhere from $975 ($1,950.00 for a married couple filing bankruptcy together) to a maximum of $10,225 ($20,450.00 for a married couple filing bankruptcy together). The issue of whether you can keep the money on diapsid in your bank accounts should be discuss with an attorney because the answer may be different in your situation.

6. TAX REFUNDS

This is a fact specific question and must be discussed with your attorney.

7. ATTORNEY’S FEES AND SERVICES

The fee for the handling of your Chapter 7 case will depend on the complexity of your situation. During your free in office consultation, you will be advised of the fee associated with the handling of your case.

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    Bedford, Texas 76021
    Phone: 817-358-9977
    Fax: 817-358-9988
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    Weatherford, Texas 76086
    Phone: 817-599-6780
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