Read Our Bankruptcy FAQs
Many people wait too long to explore bankruptcy as an option, thinking bankruptcy itself means you have to lose everything. This is not necessarily the case. For many people, bankruptcy is the first step to finding financial stability.
The first step to resolving your debt challenges is getting the right information. Contact Marrell J. McNeal Attorney at Law, PC, in Opelika, Alabama, to set up a consultation or review our frequently asked questions about bankruptcy below.
How long will the bankruptcy process take?
The length of your bankruptcy case will depend upon which chapter you file. Typically, our firm can prepare a bankruptcy petition within one day once we have all of the information necessary from our client. Meetings with creditors take place approximately four to six weeks after the petition is filed. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one can expect a discharge of debts approximately 60 days after meeting with creditors. In Chapter 13, a case is usually confirmed approximately four weeks after the meeting, with repayment plans lasting up to five years. A debtor does not get a discharge until all payments are paid to the trustee.
How do I pay for bankruptcy attorney assistance?
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the attorney fee and filing fee must be paid upfront. These fees are calculated based on the complexity of your case and should be discussed with your attorney. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a total of $75 is paid upfront and the remaining attorney fees are included in your repayment plan and are paid by way of the bankruptcy trustee.
What is the automatic stay?
Once a bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay is ordered, which prevents creditors from taking action against a debtor. Creditors may not contact debtors, garnish wages, repossess property, foreclose on mortgages, etc.
Will I lose all of my property?
In most cases, debtors are able to keep most, if not all, of their property. Bankruptcy exemptions provide a means to protect certain kinds of property and amounts of financial assets. Retirement accounts are also typically exempt, so it is important that you do not drain these accounts in an effort to pay creditors.
How do I know if I qualify?
Qualifications for bankruptcy start with a means test which assesses income and assets to determine which, if any, chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. Work with your attorney to determine eligibility.
When should I file for bankruptcy?
If you are feeling financial pressure, you should contact us. There is no cost for the consultation. Many people who end up filing are behind on credit card payments, have had wages garnished, have a house in foreclosure and otherwise do not see a way to meet their debt obligations. Let us help.
Will I be able to get a loan after bankruptcy?
By the time someone files for bankruptcy, they are often already finding it difficult to secure a loan. Repairing your credit after bankruptcy can take some time, but it is possible. If you take the right steps, you could end up securing the loan you need within two to four years.
What happens to my mortgage?
If your debts are being reorganized into a payment plan through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your mortgage should remain in good standing (assuming you continue to make the mortgage payments outlined in that plan).
How will bankruptcy affect my credit?
Bankruptcy will likely lower your credit score. For many people, however, they are already struggling with credit challenges. Bankruptcy can wipe the slate clean so you can begin to rebuild that score.
How long does bankruptcy stay on my credit history?
A completed Chapter 13 stays on your credit report for 7 years. Chapter 7 stays on your credit report for 10 years. Filing bankruptcy will lower your credit score overall, but also provides a great starting point for rebuilding your credit.