bankruptcy attorney in oklahoma city

 

Oklahoma City Bankruptcy Attorney

Oklahoma City's Leading Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Resource. Serving Oklahoma City & Surrounding Areas.

Call Today (405) 334-5150 or EMAIL US!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the automatic stay?
A: This is an injunction that goes into effect automatically upon the filing of a bankruptcy. It strictly prohibits the commencement or continuation of any acts to collect on a debt that arose prior to filing the bankruptcy. This includes enforcement of judgments, creating or perfecting liens, and many other actions. (It does not apply to collecting alimony maintenance and support).

Q.  Does the automatic stay always apply when a bankruptcy case is filed, and if so, for how long?
A:  Generally, the automatic stay goes into effect immediately upon filing your case and against acts taken towards you personally until you receive your discharge. Stays against actions towards property you own may last longer or shorter depending on what happens to that property during your case (e.g. it is sold by the Trustee or not, etc.).  Note:  For cases filed on or after October 17, 2005, there are several limits to the length of the automatic stay:  1.  If you had a prior bankruptcy case dismissed under any chapter within one year prior to the filing of your present case, the automatic stay will terminate 30 days after your new case is filed, unless you obtain a court order extending it, for cause and a showing of good faith as to why the prior case was dismissed.  2.  If you had more than one prior bankruptcy case dismissed under any chapter within one year prior to the filing of your present case, the automatic stay does not go into effect at all unless and until the court orders it into effect, after a noticed hearing.  There are other new limitations on the automatic stay, but you should check with your attorney as to whether they will affect you.

Q: Is it too late to file bankruptcy if I'm being sued or already have a judgment against me?
A:  No.  It's almost never too late to file bankruptcy.  Assuming that it is a dischargeable debt (meaning one that isn't incurred through fraud, or a domestic support obligation, or one of the others Congress has excluded from discharge), you can still get rid of the debt even if a creditor has filed a lawsuit against you and gotten a judgment.  You can even get rid of the debt if they have a lien against your property (although the lien will remain against the property unless you are able to remove it during the bankruptcy proceeding).  

Q: Where Does My Case Get Filed?
A:  Your case is filed in the District where you have resided or have your domicile (or for a business, its principal place of business) for the greater part of the 180 day period prior to the date your case is filed.  See below to identify the district that you reside in.

map of districts

Q: Will I have to go to court?
A:  You will have to appear at a meeting of creditors hearing at the bankruptcy court.  The meeting will be held by the trustee who is not a judge but an attorney appointed to administer bankruptcy cases.  The place you will go to court depends on the district that your case if filed in.  For cases in the Northern District you will attend a hearing in Tulsa.  In the Western District you may have a hearing in Oklahoma City, Lawton or Enid depending on which location is more convenient to you.  In the Eastern District you will have your hearing either in Okmulgee or McAlester in most cases.  See district map here for your district.

Q: What does it mean to bankrupt or discharge a debt?
A:  Many people refer to getting rid of their debts in bankruptcy as "bankrupting" the debt.  They often ask "can I bankrupt this debt?"   That is incorrect terminology.  The legal term for this is "discharge".  What happens in bankruptcy (assuming you are successful) is that your legal obligation to pay on your debt will be discharged.   Debts are never technically eliminated.   They still exist after a bankruptcy, but you no longer have the legal obligation to pay on the ones that are discharged (or, bankrupted if you prefer).  

Q.  What are exemptions?
A:  Exemptions are protected allowances for the value in certain assets.  For example, a homestead exemption protects the equity you have in your home, up to a certain value.  All States have different exemption laws which protect the value in certain assets.  You need to check with a qualified bankruptcy attorney regarding what exemptions you are entitled to when you file your case. Which State's laws you use depends on where your domicile was located for the 2 years prior to commencing your bankruptcy case (more on exemptions).

Q.  Do I have to list all of my creditors in my bankruptcy case?
A:  Yes, you must list all your assets and all your debts in ANY chapter of bankruptcy. You may voluntarily repay anybody you want after your case is concluded (and you are required to repay any debts that are not discharged), but you are still required to list all your creditors.

Q.  Can I transfer assets out of my name into someone else's before filing bankruptcy?
A.  Not unless they are sold for "reasonably equivalent value".  Otherwise it can be recovered as a Fraudulent Transfer.

Q.  Can you be fired or denied employment because of a bankruptcy?
A: No. While an employer can usually find some reason to fire anyone, they cannot use bankruptcy as a basis for doing so. This is set forth in Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Q.  Can I remove liens against my property?
A:  Yes.  Under certain circumstances, judicial liens and "nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interests"  may be removed if, based on the value of the asset and the amount of senior liens and encumbrances against it on the date your bankruptcy case is filed, the fixing of the lien causes it to "impair" an exemption to which you are entitled under State (or other applicable) law.

Q: Are any and all debts dischargeable in a bankruptcy case?
A:  No.  There are many debts which Congress has excluded from discharge.  These are the main types excepted from discharge, although there are others. 
See more on dischargeability of debt.

Q.  Can you be denied a student loan because you or your parents file bankruptcy?
A.  No.  Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code prohibits discriminatory treatment by any governmental or other student loan program on the basis of filing a bankruptcy. In other words, a student loan agency cannot deny your loan application based on the filing, by you or anyone you know, of a bankruptcy.

Q: Will I lose any property, assets or belongings?
A: Bankruptcy laws protect what you own. These are called "exemptions". Most, if not all, of your assets (including automobiles and certain amounts of equity in your home) are "exempt" allowing over 99% of our clients to keep everything and lose nothing. In a typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, filed through our office, you will lose nothing. In Chapter 13 (Debt Consolidation) you keep all the assets you choose because your debts are paid off or wiped out.

Q: Can you stop wage garnishment?
A: Yes. Any wage garnishment must immediately stop when we file your case.

Q: How does bankruptcy affect my credit?
A: Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, you can immediately begin re-establishing your credit after your case is filed. Due to the fact that you are wiping out your debts and cannot file again for 8 years, credit companies want to be first in line to extend credit to you again. By not filing Bankruptcy, your credit report may show negative information for 7 years from the time you become current. By filing, negative reporting stops immediately. This allows you to begin re-establishing credit faster by keeping house, auto or other payments current.

Q: Will my landlord be notified?
A: No, unless you have been evicted or are moving and need to include your landlord as a creditor in your Bankruptcy.

Q: Will my employer be notified?
A: No, unless your employer is also a creditor or you authorize a wage deduction in a Chapter 13 case. Your payroll department would have to be notified of your filing in order to stop a wage garnishment.

Q: How often can I file bankruptcy?
A: Under the current law, you  cannot obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if the debtor obtained a discharge in (a) a Chapter 7 case filed within the past 8 years, or (b) a Chapter 13 case filed within the past 6 years. The time periods in either case are measured from the dates the respective cases were filed, not the dates of discharge.
You cannot obtain a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if the debtor obtained a discharge in (a) a Chapter 7 case filed within the past 4 years, or (b) a Chapter 13 case filed within the past 2 years. Again the time periods in either case are measured from the dates the respective cases were filed, not the dates of discharge.

 

Our firm handles cases throughout the Oklahoma City Metro. Please call my office today for a free bankruptcy consultation, either in my office or by telephone - (405) 334-5150.

 

 

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