Many people in Texas face financial challenges in a troubled economy. Recent years have taken a tremendous fiscal toll upon thousands across the country. Are you one of them? Perhaps, like others, you took a hit at work with a decrease in salary, lost bonus or incentive pay that was a large part of your income. If so, you're not alone. In fact, many people have had to seek additional part-time employment just to pay their bills and put food on their tables.
Life can become extremely stressful when stacks of bills start piling up and your phone rings daily with calls from unrelenting creditors. It often feels downright overwhelming trying to figure a way out of such a crisis.
Upon hearing the word, "bankruptcy" what do you feel? Some people feel nervous or afraid when pondering the term, and others, embarrassed or ashamed. Many people, however, feel a deep sense of relief when considering this option could help them restore their financial stability. Unfortunately, even today, a stigma remains attached to the idea of filing for bankruptcy.
By gaining a clearer understanding of what bankruptcy entails (and what it doesn’t), you can replace misguided notions with valuable information that helps you make informed decisions about your own financial future.
Basic facts about Chapter 7
Perhaps you've heard of Chapter 7 bankruptcy but never understood what to do or where to turn to begin the process. Not everyone is eligible for this type of immediate debt relief; so, it might help to review some basic facts below before pursuing it as an option:
- Chapter 7 provides protection from creditors, as well as debt satisfaction through liquidation of assets.
- Your income must not exceed your state's median income over a certain period in order to be eligible.
- You need not include income tax refunds and Social Security retirement benefits as types of income.
- If you already used Chapter 7 (within eight years) or Chapter 13 (within six years) to discharge debt youwon't be able to apply for Chapter 7 again at this time.
- A debtor who wishes to claim bankruptcy under Chapter 7 must participate in a certified credit counseling program within 180 days of filing.
Other criteria exist that could make you either eligible or ineligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most importantly, you have every right to explore all available options to remove your current burden of debt and develop a plan to rebuild your finances. The laws that govern such matters are often complex and difficult to understand. Navigating the system without experienced guidance typically increases stress rather than alleviates it.
A Texas attorney experienced in bankruptcy law could provide much-needed support as you begin to peel away the layers of your current financial problems. Rest assured that a skilled bankruptcy attorney successfully helped others pay off their debts and avoid creditor harassment. If you have particular concerns you'd like to discuss, you could request a meeting with a lawyer in your area.