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If Chapter 7 Cannot be Filed Again, Chapter 13 May be an Option

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There are cases in which a debtor files bankruptcy more than once.

When the economy began to decline and unemployment was on the rise, those who lost their jobs faced difficult financial choices. Many people used their credit cards to pay for bills and other expenses and racked up significant debt. Many of those people are still unemployed. These individuals are candidates for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Some people find themselves in a position to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy more than once.  Iowa bankruptcy lawyer Kevin Ahrenholz explained that a debtor’s prior bankruptcy may create a problem in attempting to file again, depending on the filing date of the debtor’s prior bankruptcy.

While there is no limit to the number of times someone can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are limits on whether an individual can receive a bankruptcy discharge from their case. Changes made to the bankruptcy code in 2005 mean that debtors are required to wait eight years before they can receive another debt discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is important to note that the relevant date is the date that the debtor’s prior bankruptcy petition was filed. For instance, if an individual filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on October 1, 2006, they cannot file Chapter 7 bankruptcy again until for eight years, until October 1, 2014. The debtors who filed in 2008, when the economy started to decline, do not yet have the opportunity to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a debt discharge. However, they may be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a court-supervised debt repayment plan, during which debtors receive protection from creditors, and make monthly payments to a trustee for a period of three-to-five years. Upon the successful completion of the plan, they receive a discharge of any remaining unsecured debt. If the Chapter 13 debtor becomes eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy while their Chapter 13 case is pending, they may convert the case from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7, when the eight-year waiting period has passed..

Each debtor’s debt relief options depend upon a variety of factors and circumstances. Speak to a qualified Iowa bankruptcy attorney to find out what those options and considerations are, as well as how and when to take advantage of them.

Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2012 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on If Chapter 7 Cannot be Filed Again, Chapter 13 May be an Option .
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Not Always Be the Best Debt Relief Plan

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not always the right solution for a debtor.

Most debtors have a long list of questions when they make an appointment with a bankruptcy lawyer. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process, and people are concerned about how the decision will affect them and their credit rating. Making the right call to a qualified Iowa bankruptcy attorney will put many debtors’ fears to rest, says Iowa bankruptcy attorney Kevin Ahrenholz.

Most debtors who have made the decision to seek bankruptcy protection are aware of the enormous impact it will have in their lives, and know that in order to file without errors, they need the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. When making that first appointment to discuss filing with a bankruptcy lawyer, questions to ask may include whether or not filing is feasible, how important is a credit report, how to rebuild credit later, and whether declaring bankruptcy will eliminate all outstanding bills.

Not everyone is eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Ahrenholz explained. Some debtors may need to file Chapter 13, and others may need to take care of their debt in another manner. Each case, each person and each debt profile is different and is approached that way by an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The only way to know with certainty whether bankruptcy is the best debt relief plan, and what Chapter of bankruptcy to consider filing, is to speak with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.

Many people also think that when they declare bankruptcy that all of their debts will be erased. In some instances, this does happen. In others, some debt remains. This is another reason why it is vitally important to speak to a competent bankruptcy attorney who will help to determine whether debts are dischargeable. There are instances where some of the debt is ineligible for discharge; non-dischargeable debt includes, but is not limited to, student loans, child support, and back taxes. Criminal fines are also not dischargeable.

If a debtor’s creditors are mainly for student loans, back taxes, and/or child support, then filing for bankruptcy may not be the best debt relief plan, and there may be alternatives to pursue. In order to make an informed decision, schedule a frank discussion with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2012 and filed under News and Press | Comments Off on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Not Always Be the Best Debt Relief Plan .
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It is not in your best interest to file Chapter 7 without legal advice

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Many people think they can file bankruptcy on their own, without the help of a qualified Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. This is not a wise decision.

While there are some enterprising individuals who may be able to handle filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on their own, there are far too many important legal elements and considerations that may inadvertently be overlooked. Every bankruptcy filing must adhere to a multitude of precise rules and regulations, and every debtor must meet stringent requirements and produce specific documents and information.

In the pre-filing stage, some cases require careful analysis and strategic planning to address seemingly-innocuous circumstances.  In the post-filing stage, while the case is pending, some cases must undergo additional strategic planning and negotiation.  It is extremely risky for a debtor to attempt to navigate filing and addressing these issues on their own.  One mistake may well cause the case to be dismissed.

If you are planning to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and want to ensure that you are meeting all requirements, hire a competent Iowa bankruptcy lawyer to reduce the risk of making a mistake, and to rest assured that you have chosen the most prudent method of dealing with your financial situation.  Your bankruptcy lawyer will not advise you to seek bankruptcy protection if there is another way for you to manage your financial issues.

When you first meet with a bankruptcy lawyer, you can expect to have an honest discussion about your finances. If you have questions, this is the time to ask them. Ask about the bankruptcy process, how to file, what you need to provide in terms of documentation, and what to expect once your petition has been filed with the court. Declaring bankruptcy is a decision with long-term ramifications, and your Iowa bankruptcy lawyer will explain how bankruptcy affects you and how to later rebuild your credit.

One of the main reasons Americans file Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to get their mortgage back on track. They are overwhelmed by all their debt and may be in danger of losing their home. They do not know how to prioritize their mortgage payment without frustrating other creditors attempting to collect on credit cards, medical bills, and loans. Before long, they find that they are facing pending lawsuits, or judgments have been entered, and garnishments are depleting paychecks. They quickly become unable to make utility payments, buy groceries, and put gasoline in their vehicles. Perhaps they are unemployed and have no employment prospects in sight. They fall behind and cannot catch up their payments, despite how hard they may be trying. These are the kinds of situations that typically drive people to speak to a bankruptcy lawyer.

There is no shame in filing for bankruptcy. It is called “debt relief” for a reason. Just make certain that bankruptcy is the best debt relief plan for you, and make sure it is done correctly by hiring competent counsel.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit http://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on It is not in your best interest to file Chapter 7 without legal advice .
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You May Check the Status of Your Bankruptcy Case Online

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If you have trouble finding information about the status of your bankruptcy filing, you may track your status online.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records, also referred to as PACER, provides a debtor access to the information needed to keep track of the post-filing status of his or her case. Though debtors may get information directly from your bankruptcy lawyer or via a court-appointed trustee, some debtors find it frustrating to wait for the information, as lawyers and trustees may not be able to respond immediately. With PACER, you simply need to go online to check your bankruptcy status quickly and easily.  Just visit the site at: http://www.pacer.gov/ and register for a login ID. This system offers access to bankruptcy courts across the U.S., provided you have a valid password and ID. It is easy to register: enter your name, home address, phone number, the name of your nearest living relative, and your date of birth. You will then need to authenticate your registration. To do so, use a valid credit card to finish the registration process and you will receive an assigned password. While it may seem odd to ask for a valid credit card number if the debtor has credit card debt, many individuals do still have valid cards they may use for registration purposes.

Once you have successfully registered, the password is emailed to you, or, if you did not provide an email address it will be sent to you by regular mail. PACER will bill you to view pages. The rate may vary, but typically is about ten cents per page, with a viewing limit of 30 pages. If you are searching for court transcripts, you do not have to pay the 30-page fee limit. Also, parties to a case and their lawyers may get one free copy of all e-filed documents.

Once you have your login and password, you may search the complete list of U.S. bankruptcy courts to determine which one is handling your case. Typically, the courts are separated into districts: In Iowa, select from either the Northern or Southern District. Cases filed in the eastern half of Iowa will be predominantly Northern District cases.  Cases filed in the Des Moines area and west are likely to be Southern District cases.

In order to locate information specifically about your bankruptcy case, you will need to enter your birth date, name and Social Security number. Once this information is verified by the system, all information relating to your case will be made available to you, including the current status of the bankruptcy petition.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit http://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2012 and filed under Bankruptcy | Comments Off on You May Check the Status of Your Bankruptcy Case Online .
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