A Guide to Understanding Bankruptcy Options from Simon Fitzgerald, LLC
In these challenging economic times, many Louisiana residents grapple with overwhelming debt. Whether due to job loss, underemployment, mounting medical bills, or reliance on credit cards for daily expenses, debt can quickly become overwhelming. But there’s a way out, and Simon Fitzgerald LLC, Louisiana’s most seasoned bankruptcy law firm, is here to guide you.
We understand the struggle. You’ve strived to meet your financial obligations, hoping to overcome the debt eventually. But sometimes, the mountain is just too steep to climb alone. When you’re out of options, and the problem seems insurmountable, it’s time to consider a fresh start.
According to debt.org, consumers were represented by bankruptcy lawyers in 91.5 percent of the Chapter 7 cases filed in 2017 and had their clients’ debts discharged in 96.2 percent of those cases. In sharp contrast, those who represented themselves in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings were successful only about 66.7 percent of the time. The success rate for unrepresented consumers who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy was even more dismal—only about a 2.3 percent success rate.
Bankruptcy is a complex subject, and if you are not experienced in filing legal documents or arguing your cases persuasively, you could lose your bankruptcy case because of a simple mistake. Further, filing your paperwork incorrectly can have potentially disastrous consequences. Imagine if a Chapter 7 Trustee sold your home because of a simple paperwork error—which would not have occurred with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Since there are many different types of bankruptcy, having a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney from Simon Fitzgerald ensures that the correct type is filed and that it is filed correctly and promptly. In short, bankruptcy is not something that should ever be a DIY project.
Choosing the Right Type of Bankruptcy with a Firm That Knows the Law
With over half a century of experience in Louisiana bankruptcy law, Simon Fitzgerald LLC is your trusted partner in navigating this complex process. A fresh start is within your grasp, but understanding bankruptcy and the related laws can be overwhelming. Our highly skilled lawyers and qualified staff are committed to clarifying your options and guiding you toward the best decision for your unique situation.
When you first learn how intricate bankruptcy can be, it’s normal to feel daunted. At Simon Fitzgerald LLC, we’re ready to help you choose between the different types of bankruptcy. Our extensive experience with Louisiana bankruptcy cases enables us to make this decision easier for you, answering your questions and ensuring you’re on the path to financial stability.
Simplifying Your Options
The three most important factors to consider are whether you own a business, have specific assets to protect, and can pay a portion of the debt over time. We can help you assess your situation to select your most advantageous path. The three most common types of bankruptcy include:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Think of Chapter 7 as a clean slate or liquidation bankruptcy. This option completely eliminates eligible unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills without losing all your property. However, you must first meet specific criteria and pass the Means Test.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides immediate relief from creditors and protection against collection efforts and wage garnishment. Once your bankruptcy is discharged, the only debts you will be responsible for are secured assets for which you chose to sign a Reaffirmation Agreement. Any property you acquire, and wages you earn following the discharge of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy are yours and have nothing to do with the bankruptcy court or prior creditors.
No minimum amount of debt is required to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and it allows you to receive a fresh start. Usually, Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are discharged in about 3-6 months, offering a swift path to financial freedom.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
This option usually provides immediate relief from creditors and offers a structured way to prevent various types of property loss. It allows you to form a repayment plan based on what you can afford over time, often resulting in lower payments for secured debts like vehicle loans.
You may find this option favorable if you have a regular income that is not enough to cover your current debt. As long as you can afford the repayment plan, you can keep any property you choose—non-exempt and exempt. While your debts are not canceled as they are in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under Chapter 13, some debts can be reduced.
Like a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you immediate protection against the collection efforts of creditors and potential wage garnishment. If your Chapter 13 repayment plan provides for full payment of all your debts, then any co-signers cannot be “dunned” by creditors. As long as you meet the terms of your repayment plan under Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules, you are protected from home foreclosure.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you more time to pay debts not considered dischargeable, like taxes, back child support, or past-due alimony payments. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy rules, you can separate creditors by “class.” Different classes of creditors will receive different percentages of payment. This allows you to treat debts with a co-signer differently than debts incurred solely by you.
This structured approach to debt relief makes Chapter 13 a viable option for those looking to regain control of their financial situation without losing valuable assets.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Reorganization for Businesses
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is an option that typically applies to mid-size and large businesses that want to reorganize their debt and build a structured payment plan. It can also be a suitable choice for small-business owners, including individuals or couples operating a business. Depending on your circumstances, you may have the option of filing for Chapter 13, Chapter 11, or Chapter 7, and a Simon Fitzgerald attorney can help you determine the best choice.
Chapter 11 allows debt reorganization while you can still operate your business. Like Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, Chapter 11 bankruptcy places an automatic stay once filed, preventing creditors from harassing you. Under Chapter 11, you may be able to renegotiate some debts, including leases, giving your business more time to dismiss some debts and pay others. This allows you a fresh financial start and can be a good option for those concerned about their business finances.
If you are filing for personal bankruptcy, a Simon Fitzgerald attorney can also help you learn more about the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition, if you decide to change course during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they can assist you in converting to a Chapter 7 case.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy offers a flexible and strategic approach to debt management for businesses of various sizes, providing the opportunity to restructure and regain financial stability.
We can also discuss other potential solutions like debt negotiation or loan modification.
Meet Hank: A Bankruptcy Case Illustration of Filing without a Lawyer
Hank has had a rough couple of years financially and has decided to file for bankruptcy. A friend tells him to skip hiring a bankruptcy attorney and file independently so he won’t have to pay the attorney. Unfortunately, Hank’s friend doesn’t tell him of all the potential pitfalls he could face when filing for bankruptcy.
Hank found the paperwork confusing and is unsure how to prevent the pending foreclosure of his home or the pending repossession of his vehicle. Since Hank did not have a thorough understanding of Louisiana bankruptcy laws, and did not understand the pros and cons of the different types of bankruptcy, his assets were not adequately protected from debt collectors—and eventually, because of mistakes made in the filing, the court refused to discharge his debt.
How to Choose the Best Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer for Me: Financial Relief and Peace of Mind with Bankruptcy
Choosing the best bankruptcy lawyer for you can feel overwhelming when you are already stressed from dealing with debt. However, it is a critical choice, and at Simon Fitzgerald LLC, we are here to guide you through it. We understand you have many options, but your choice will be clear once you have spoken to an attorney at Louisiana’s oldest bankruptcy law firm.
The Simon Fitzgerald attorneys have the qualifications, experience, and deep knowledge of Louisiana bankruptcy laws and the different types of bankruptcy in Louisiana. We pride ourselves on being Louisiana’s premier bankruptcy law firm and are committed to helping you achieve the fresh start you deserve.
Our firm provides every client with stellar customer service, prioritizing transparency and honesty in all our interactions. When you choose Simon Fitzgerald, you will gain peace of mind, knowing your bankruptcy is in the best hands possible. We provide a free initial consultation that allows us to get a good overview of your case, and we can then offer guidance on the types of bankruptcy available and the best choice for your financial situation. Our attorneys will complete all necessary paperwork, file that paperwork, and represent you in court.
While bankruptcy isn’t a magic cure-all, it can provide practical financial relief and invaluable peace of mind. It’s often the only surefire way to halt property foreclosure or repossession, prevent wage garnishment, and end creditor harassment. Choosing to file for bankruptcy is a significant decision, and our team will take the time to:
- Explain the bankruptcy process and deadlines
- Discuss your options under Chapter 13, Chapter 7, and Chapter 11 (if applicable)
- Debunk common bankruptcy misconceptions
- Discuss the impact of bankruptcy on your credit
- Determine which debts you can discharge, including back taxes
- Identify which assets you can keep
Bankruptcy is a legal tool designed to give people a chance for a fresh start. You’re not alone in this journey – many notable Americans have declared bankruptcy, and with the proper legal guidance, you can fully understand the different types of bankruptcy, choose the path that is right for you, and navigate the process successfully. Let Simon Fitzgerald LLC be your trusted partner in this critical phase of your financial life.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Bankruptcy can be a complex process, and having questions is normal. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about bankruptcy to help you better understand what to expect.
- Can bankruptcy stop a foreclosure or repossession in Monroe, Louisiana?
- What is the process for filing for bankruptcy in Louisiana?
- How is the process different when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Louisiana?
Ready for a New Beginning? Take the First Step Towards Financial Freedom with Simon Fitzgerald LLC – Louisiana’s Premier Bankruptcy Law Firm
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can seem complex, but our free guide makes it simple. Stay updated with the latest information by signing up for our newsletter. If you’re considering bankruptcy, get a personalized look at your options with our assessment tool.
Don’t let debt control your life. Reach out to us today and take the first step toward financial freedom. Whether you’re considering Chapter 13, where we can cover your court filing fees and our attorney fees are paid over time, or another bankruptcy option, our experienced attorneys are ready to guide you through the process and discuss the different types of bankruptcy with you.
We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your bankruptcy options and other potential debt relief solutions. If you choose to retain our services, the initial consultation fee will be included in the quoted fee. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at our various offices across Louisiana: Shreveport / Monroe (318-868-2600), Alexandria (318-625-7505), or Lafayette / Lake Charles (337-984-1584). Let Simon Fitzgerald LLC help you regain control of your financial future and embark on a new beginning.