• Bankruptcy FAQs

    • Can I leave some creditors off of my bankruptcy petition? Do I have to list all of my debts?
      All debts owing as of the time of a filing of a bankruptcy petition must be listed on the schedules; no creditor can be left off. This applies even to debts owed to friends or relatives. When a person signs a bankruptcy petition, he or she is certifying under penalty of perjury that all assets and all liabilities (debts) are listed on the petition. Additionally, at the time of the meeting of creditors, a debtor will be asked under oath if all assets and liabilities have been listed. This does not mean, however, that certain debts cannot be reaffirmed. Even if a debt has been discharged, the bankruptcy code is very specific that nothing prohibits the voluntary repayment of a discharged debt. On secured debts such as car and home loans, the debtor still lists that debt on the petition, but can reaffirm the debt in order to keep the property.
    • What are the ramifications of filing bankruptcy?
      Quite frankly (in our personal opinion), aside from one’s ability to get future credit, the primary negative aspect of filing bankruptcy is the personal and emotional feelings a person may have about bankruptcy.
    • Will I ever get credit again? Will I be able to buy a home?
      There is no magic formula to rebuild credit after a bankruptcy. Obviously, a debtor who has just completed bankruptcy will want to make timely payments on continuing obligations, such as utilities, rent/mortgage payments, car payments, etc. in order to rebuild the credit record. Another way to help rebuild credit is through the judicious use of a secured credit card. Once two years have elapsed after the discharge, creditors start to look favorably about granting credit. Obviously, the reason why someone files for bankruptcy comes into play here. Home mortgage loans are generally available to a debtor after two years have elapsed (assuming the person otherwise qualifies for the loan).
    • Do many people file for bankruptcy protection?
      Absolutely! According to the American Bankruptcy Institute in a recent press release, bankruptcy filings nationwide for the 1997 calendar year were at an all-time high–over 1.4 million petitions. In the Eastern District of Tennessee, over 10,000 petitions were filed in 1997.
    • How long will bankruptcy stay on my credit record?

      10 years. No one can legally remove a bankruptcy notation from a credit record if 10 years have not elapsed. Do not trust anyone who says that bankruptcy notations less than 10 years old can be removed, especially if they want to charge a fee to do this.

    • I’ve already been sued. Can bankruptcy help me?
      A bankruptcy filing will automatically stop all collection efforts. If you have been sued, but the bankruptcy is filed before a judgment is entered, no judgment can be entered. If a judgment has been entered, collection of the judgment is stopped.
    • When will creditors stop harassing me?
      Generally, a debtor is “fair game” for a creditor until a bankruptcy petition is actually filed with the court. As a practical matter, however, most creditors will cease collection efforts once the attorney has been retained to file.
    • How often can I file bankruptcy?
      A debtor can receive a Chapter 7 discharge once every eight years. Under certain circumstances, a Chapter 7 can be followed by a Chapter 13.