Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney Serving Houston
If you are struggling with consumer debt, you are not alone. Millions of Americans face crippling debts from credit cards, medical care providers, mortgages, student loans, and other forms of individual borrowing. You have options for getting yourself out from under debt and back on the road to financial security and freedom. The Law Office of Maria S. Lowry in Houston, Texas, is here to help. We help clients explore their debt-relief options, including consumer bankruptcy, and walk them through the legal processes. We provide Houston clients with advice and representation while they work towards financial independence.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy potentially involves liquidation of an individual debtor’s non-exempt assets to repay unsecured creditors. An appointed bankruptcy trustee will sell off non-exempt assets and use the proceeds to pay off creditors. Regardless of whether creditors are completely paid back, at the end of the process, all covered unsecured debt will be fully discharged. Additionally, as soon as the process is begun, an automatic stay will be filed, which prevents creditors from pursuing collection efforts, such as filing or continuing lawsuits, garnishing your wages, or otherwise harassing you about collection.
Chapter 7 is a good option for low-income debtors who will not be able to afford debt repayment even with an extended period of time to repay. Moreover, not all assets are sold. Many, if not most, assets qualify for some form of exemption from sale during the bankruptcy proceeding. Debtors are often surprised at how many of their assets they are able to keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Even if you end up keeping most or all of your assets, your debts will still be discharged.
To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must satisfy a “means test.” Chapter 7 is meant for lower-income individuals. The means test assesses your income and expense levels as compared to others in the state and determines whether you should be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge. A knowledgeable Texas bankruptcy attorney can walk you through the means test to establish your eligibility and help strengthen your chances of qualifying.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is different from Chapter 7. Instead of liquidating your assets and using the proceeds to repay creditors, Chapter 7 involves reorganizing your finances and working out a repayment plan with your unsecured creditors. Repayment plans typically last three to five years and end up covering some or all of your debt. At the end of the repayment plan, remaining debts are discharged.
Chapter 13, in essence, buys you additional time to repay your debts and is a good option for wage earners to get out of debt without risking any assets. Chapter 13 filers often wind up paying far less than the total amount that they owe and still get a discharge of debt. It is, however, more expensive than Chapter 7, and it takes more time to complete.
Chapter 13 eligibility depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of debt that you owe and your level of regular income. Your total secured and unsecured debt cannot exceed a certain maximum, and you must be earning sufficient income so you will be able to repay a significant portion of your outstanding debt. Your Texas debt relief attorney can evaluate your debt and your income to determine whether you are eligible for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
TALK TO A KNOWLEDGEABLE AND COMPASSIONATE CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY LAWYER
If you are facing mountains of debt and believe that bankruptcy might be the right option for you, the dedicated debt relief lawyer at the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry is prepared to help. We will walk you through the different types of bankruptcy and identify which type you may be eligible for and which would be best for your finances and family. Call the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry to schedule a personal consultation at a time convenient for you. Let us help put you back on the road to financial freedom.