If you are struggling under a higher amount of debt than you can manage, our bankruptcy lawyer serving clients in Marion, N.C., may be able to help you address your current financial situation. Insurmountable credit card, medical, and other debt can leave you frustrated and overwhelmed. Acquiring a heavy debt load happens over time, and recovering from it without filing for bankruptcy protection can take even longer.
Bankruptcy protection exists to help individuals just like you who have accumulated more debt than they can repay. Filing for bankruptcy means the courts will help you eliminate certain debts, figure out a repayment plan, and get a new financial start. When you are ready to explore the fresh start bankruptcy can provide, Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, will help you review your options for financial recovery.
We Can Help You Consider Your Debt Relief Options
When medical bills, credit cards, and other forms of personal debt grow out of your reach, the law in North Carolina offers residents three primary forms of bankruptcy protection: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
After successfully filing for the financial protection of their assets through the bankruptcy courts, most consumers and businesses in Marion will experience two important benefits:
- Reduction or elimination of debt coupled with a new financial start
- Realistic repayment of debt based on available finances
Our lawyer can help you start reorganizing, repaying, or eliminating debt and getting your financial life back on track. They also understand federal and state laws and can explain how they apply to your situation. Before you begin the bankruptcy process, it is important to know what it is and how it works.
Federal Law Governs the Bankruptcy Process
Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that helps people and businesses that cannot repay their debts. When a person or business declares bankruptcy, creditors must immediately stop seeking to collect debts until the person or business figures out a repayment plan. Repayment could mean they will have to liquidate their assets or use another approach to pay their debts.
Bankruptcy is governed by federal laws, so federal courts preside over all bankruptcy cases. This means that any bankruptcy case in North Carolina cannot be filed in state court. However, North Carolina laws do come into play, such as the state’s formal property exemptions in Article 16 of the North Carolina code (G.S. § 1C-1601). These exemptions can help you keep your home, vehicle, and other assets you have.
What Bankruptcy Can Do and Not Do
Bankruptcy can help:
- Eliminate your legal duty to repay some or all of your debts, depending on your situation
- Stop your vehicle from being repossessed
- Halt a pending home foreclosure or eviction
- Prevent or stop garnishment of your wages
- Keep your utilities from being turned off
It can also protect some, if not all, of your assets. While there are benefits to bankruptcy, it is not a solution for every situation. It also does not wipe away all obligations to repay a debt, nor will it bar all creditors from contacting you. It does not:
- Eliminate all liens against property
- Erase any child support or alimony payments
- Erase most student loan debt unless specific circumstances apply
- Eliminate unpaid tax debts in general, but in some cases, it may apply to older tax debt
How Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, Can Help Your Bankruptcy Case
Filing for bankruptcy can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for those unfamiliar with how it works. The legal team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, represents individuals and small businesses in Marion with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. Our team also handles Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy and Chapter 12 bankruptcy for family farmers.
Our lawyer can review your situation and determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation. We will also:
- Protect your rights during the bankruptcy process
- Advise you on a financial strategy for your situation
- Ensure you meet the requirements for a bankruptcy filing
- Review your petition and other paperwork to ensure it is filled out correctly
- Keep you on track to meet critical deadlines in your case
- Represent you in court hearings
- Help you protect your assets and money
Below, we explain the different types of bankruptcy that could apply to your situation. If you have any questions, we would be glad to answer them during a free consultation.
The Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can mean your debts are fully discharged, and you no longer have an obligation to repay your creditors. In most cases, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and still keep all of your assets, including your home and vehicle.
Our lawyer can help you navigate the following steps for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- Calculating your total debt load
- Creating a comprehensive list of your creditors
- Clearly establishing your income-to-debt ratio
These financial considerations play an important role in having your debt dismissed. When you are ready to eliminate your debt with a straightforward bankruptcy filing, we will explain the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and help you compile the required documentation so that you can file a timely, accurate claim.
The Benefits of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Individuals, business owners, and corporations can file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Filing Chapter 11 can be a favorable bankruptcy option if your debts are complex or particularly large. It can also allow your creditors to receive structured repayment of a portion of your debts.
Through a Chapter 11 filing, our lawyer can help you:
- Reorganize your debt
- Continue to run your business
- Experience relief from large or complex debt
Do not hesitate to get protection from creditors when you need it. Because Chapter 11 bankruptcy is complicated, our lawyer serving Marion and surrounding communities can help you understand:
- How your debt will be reorganized
- What potential repayment your creditors might receive; and
- How your personal and business finances will be affected
The Benefits of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you are concerned about holding on to your home, car, and other property, Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the best option for you. If your debt load is temporarily overwhelming, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to:
- Restructure your debt into a manageable amount
- Reorganize non-dischargeable debt like taxes
- Repay some of your debt in smaller amounts over time, and receive forgiveness of the remaining debt.
Your income will be considered in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Our lawyer may be able to help you:
- Organize your debts
- Avoid liquidating your property
- Establish a workable payment plan
Bankruptcy Relief for Farmers and Fishermen
For a farmer or fisherman in Marion who has regular income but also has more debt than they can repay, filing Chapter 12 bankruptcy can create a feasible and effective debt relief plan. Through Chapter 12 bankruptcy, a farmer or fisherman can:
- Establish a three- to five-year plan for repaying creditors
- Reorganize both secure and unsecured debts
- Receive beneficial credit counseling from an approved agency
Our lawyer can help you receive the benefits of the streamlined process of Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection designed specifically for family farmers and fishermen.
File for Bankruptcy Protection as Soon as Possible
In North Carolina, creditors have a limited time to file a debt collection lawsuit against you. In most cases, the designated time is generally three years from the date of the last payment you made, per G.S. § 1-52. After the allotted time has passed, your creditors can still pursue payment using alternative debt collection methods.
They can no longer file a lawsuit against you for repayment or garnish your paycheck to recoup the money you owe, but they can still impact your credit score and other financial prospects. Our legal team can help you understand how the debt collection statute of limitations applies to your case and how filing for bankruptcy can pause or stop debt collection activities until you can determine the best strategy that can help you regain control of your finances.
Costs to Declare Bankruptcy in Marion
Bankruptcy can help you get out from under debt that you cannot address in any other way. However, you should expect to pay some fees to complete the process. Specifically, you will have to pay a filing fee to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The exact cost for filing fees varies based on the kind of bankruptcy you pursue. For example, Chapter 7 filings generally cost less than Chapter 13. A lawyer can help you review the specific expenses associated with your case.
You should also expect to pay legal fees when working with a bankruptcy lawyer in Marion.
Waivers for Bankruptcy Filing Fees
According to Upsolve, you may qualify for a fee waiver to avoid bankruptcy filing fees in some cases. Generally, North Carolina courts only grant a waiver to individuals who have a current income very close to the state poverty level.
For example, if you have a single person in your household, the court may issue you a fee waiver if your monthly income falls below $1,698.74. This amount is above the state poverty level by several hundred dollars.
Your lawyer can help you determine if you qualify for a bankruptcy fee waiver in Marion.
How Long Does the Bankruptcy Process Take?
Going through bankruptcy gives you options for dealing with creditors and recovering your financial stability in Marion. However, the process does not occur automatically. Once you start working with a bankruptcy lawyer, you should prepare to go through several steps.
The time it takes to complete a bankruptcy filing depends on the kind of bankruptcy you pursue. For example:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy generally takes a few months.
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy may take several years.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy often takes around 95 days.
However, these are only estimates based on average bankruptcy cases. Your case may resolve in more or less time, depending upon the state of your finances, the number of assets you have, and other factors.
Claims take longer in some cases due to:
Requests for More Information
Trustees and creditors involved in the claim may have questions about your claim or request additional information about your finances. Getting the information to them quickly usually results in only a short delay.
Some bankruptcy cases involve the sale of property. Depending on the time it takes to sell the property, the proceedings may take longer. If someone discovers an issue with the property, you may expect a moderate or even long delay.
Issues Related to Student Loans
Some individuals want to discharge a student loan during the course of their bankruptcy. Your lawyer needs to take care of special paperwork to handle this issue, which can increase the amount of time to resolve your bankruptcy proceedings. You may also face a delay if you put off a debt education course.
A bankruptcy lawyer will stick with you throughout the process, keeping you up-to-date about the state of your claim and answering any questions you have.
We Handle Bankruptcy Cases in Marion, N.C. and We Can Help You
Enormous debt can lead to anxiety and frustration that make everyday life challenging and stressful. Our lawyer can help you eliminate or greatly reduce your current financial burden with bankruptcy protection. Starting anew can relieve you of many debts and give you a clean slate.
We are ready to help you learn more about how bankruptcy can help you manage your creditors and retain your personal property. You don’t have to figure this out on your own. Let us help. Call Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, to speak to a team member today.