As is most legal processes, bankruptcy can be a difficult thing to maneuver. There is a lot of misinformation out there, you need to be careful to get your information from a trusted source. Here are some myths regarding bankruptcy:
Myth 1: If I file for bankruptcy, everyone will know.
Like most legal proceedings, most bankruptcy documents are public record. Since I work at a law firm in the bankruptcy department, I search these records all the time. I even have a special username and password that allows me access online. However, how many times do you think your friends, family, or co-workers search through federal court records? The truth is that while your bankruptcy documents will be public information, it is unlikely that those you know would search to find them.
Myth 2: If I file for bankruptcy, I have to give up all my house.
If you are filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are often able to keep your house. Obviously, you need to be sure that you can pay your mortgage, or it would be useless to try and keep the house. But if you can afford the payments, then you can reaffirm the debt and retain your house. In a Chapter 13, you can even catch up on mortgage arrearages through your Plan, which may be all the help you need to keep your home.
Myth 3: Chapter 13 Plans require you to pay all of your unsecured debts.
A “means test” is the tool used to figure out if you qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you must file a Chapter 13, then a similar test tells you what your disposable monthly income is. This amount must be paid to your unsecured creditors. So, depending upon your situation, you could pay all of your unsecured debt, very little of your unsecured debt, or none at all.
Myth 4: Married couples must file bankruptcy together.
This is not true. You can file a joint petition if you want to save on court costs, but you are not required to. A Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can assess your particular situation and tell you whether it is beneficial for one of you or both of you to file, based on how much debt you have, what kind of debt it is, and in whose name the debt is in. Often times it is more beneficial for one spouse to file.
To discuss any questions you have regarding bankruptcy, creditor harassment or consumer law, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today at 904-685-1200 for a free consultation.