Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney in Chicago

Fight Debt Today. Call (312) 957-8077 for a Free Review.

In the face of crushing debt and creditor harassment, it is easy to think you have no options. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Federal bankruptcy law gives debtors just like you the opportunity to file for bankruptcy in order to get a fresh start. By taking the proper steps and reaching out to a bankruptcy lawyer, you could have your debts discharged through bankruptcy.

Attorney Joseph P. Doyle is an expert in bankruptcy law in Chicago, providing a wide range of legal services to clients in the city and the surrounding areas. He can thoroughly assess your financial situation, determine your available options to eliminate or reduce your debt, and help you get a clean slate and get your life back on track.

How Can We Help You?

Having a Chicago Chapter 7 attorney with a thorough knowledge of bankruptcy law to help you determine your best option for debt relief is important. With our bankruptcy law experts in Chicago, you can benefit from time-tested advice and dedicated counsel.

Our Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Chicago is here to help. Contact us online for a free initial consultation or call (312) 957-8077. Se habla Español.

What Happens When You File Chapter 7?

Filing under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code is a way to obtain immediate debt relief and regain financial stability with a fresh start. The Chapter 7 process involves liquidation and discharge of any remaining debts. It is a viable solution for many individuals who cannot get out from under their troubling financial situation.

When you file for Chapter 7 you eliminate your legal obligation to pay unsecured dischargeable debt and some secured debts.

How Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

Think of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a fresh start. In this type of filing, all of your debt is listed on the schedules of your bankruptcy petition. There is a schedule for secured debts, like your house and car, as well as a schedule for your unsecured debts, like medical bills and credit cards. These unsecured debts, if the case is successful, are all discharged in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is what makes this type of filing a fresh start.

Secured property can also become an unsecured debt, and thus be discharged in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if it has been repossessed or foreclosed upon and all that is remains is a deficiency balance, or if the client decides they would like to surrender their interest in the secured property ahead of time.

Since a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation of your assets, there is also a schedule for listing all of your assets. This includes anything from bank accounts, to life insurance policies, to cars and any other significant assets. Most of the time, these assets can be exempt and thus there will never be any issues with the case. However, it is still vital to your case to consult with your attorney to ensure that your assets are properly shielded from the liquidation that occurs in every Chapter 7 case.

Finally, an individual can only receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 case every eight years. If you are in need of bankruptcy protection and you are ineligible for a Chapter 7 due to this rule, there are other options for you such as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this case, consult an expert in bankruptcy law in Chicago to decide the best course of action that your situation requires.

What Happens Next?

After you have completed bankruptcy and debts have been discharged, you may no longer be liable for those discharged debts. In some cases, debtors can reaffirm secured debts to reinstate their previous legal obligation. For example, they may be able to reinstate a prior mortgage, making regular payments as they stay in the house. Some types of debt, however, cannot be discharged.

Classic examples include:

  • Child support
  • Student loans
  • Particular taxes

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Call (312) 957-8077 for a free initial review with a Chicago Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at our firm today! Services available in Spanish.

Will I Lose My Property If I File?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago involves liquidating a debtor’s nonexempt assets. In this situation, the trustee will take possession of the debtor’s property and liquidate any assets that are unprotected. During this process, the assets will be sold and funds will be paid to creditors. Under the bankruptcy code, the debtor will be allowed to retain certain basic assets, which are the exempt property.

Below are properties that might be exempt in a bankruptcy:

  • Whole Life Insurance
  • Personal Injury Payment
  • Wild Card
  • Homestead
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Pensions and Qualified Retirement Plans
  • Alimony and Child Support
  • Social Security, Unemployment and Public Assistance
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Illinois College Savings Pool Accounts
  • Certain Personal Items (Clothing, School Books, Family Photos)

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The Pros of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The process for declaring a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically over within about three to six months, which is relatively short. That said, while the process itself is not too time-consuming, it will remain on your record for up to ten years. Your missed payments, defaults, and any lawsuits against you will also harm your credit score.

Oftentimes, there are exemptions that prevent important items from being liquidated, and you might even be allowed to keep more than you expect.

Assuming you do not owe money on the debts that survive bankruptcy, such as a mortgage lien, the amount and number of debts that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can relieve you from paying is potentially unlimited.

The Cons of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

You cannot keep your credit cards and you will lose property that was not exempt from sale by the trustee, in addition to other luxury items that were not exempt.

If you declare bankruptcy now, it will be harder to declare it later if you find yourself in an even worse financial situation. Make sure that filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is necessary. Once you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will not be able to file again under that chapter for another 8 years.

If you previously filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and less than 70% of your unsecured debt was paid to creditors in good faith, you must wait 6 years before you are able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What Type of Debt Relief Is for Me?

There is only one way to know whether or not filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you, and that is to discuss your options with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney to fully understand the benefits and disadvantages of each. If you initiate the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process blindly, you could find yourself in trouble later. At our firm, we fully understand the scope of bankruptcy law and can even dispel some of the common bankruptcy myths that you may have heard.

If you're in need of help from a Chicago Chapter 7 lawyer, contact us online, or call (312) 957-8077 for a free initial review today!

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