Understanding The Process
El Paso Lawyer Helps Clients Understand the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in Texas
Learn the steps for discharging your debt in a Chapter 7 filing
Struggling with debt can be overwhelming and frightening. Getting out from under it shouldn’t be. In fact, it should be a relief and a fresh start. Rest assured, at The Law Offices of Cheryl S. Davis, P.C., I will guide you through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, which lets you discharge your debt and start from scratch. Because Chapter 7 bankruptcy is costly to creditors, the filing is not taken lightly, and not everyone is eligible. But I will explain each step and answer all your questions if this filing is your best option for resolving your debt. You deserve to be fully informed, so you can confidently move forward.
Do you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
To be certain you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 relief, you will need to meet certain income requirements:
- If your annual income is below the median income in Texas for a household of your size, you may automatically qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- If your income is above the median, you must then pass the means test.
The means test examines whether your debts and expenses exceed your ability to pay them back. If it is determined that you can afford to pay your debts, you must instead file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Additionally, you must not have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge in the previous eight years.
Experienced bankruptcy attorney helps you file for Chapter 7 relief
If you decide to proceed, I will file a petition with the bankruptcy court on your behalf. This includes all required financial data and forms, such as:
- A complete list of your creditors and the amount you owe
- All sources and frequency of your income
- A full list of your property, both exempt and nonexempt
- A detailed list of your monthly living expenses.
The court will appoint a trustee — an independent person who will administer your case. You must fully cooperate with the trustee.
The good news is that while your case proceeds, an automatic stay protects you from additional collection efforts.
What property is exempt from liquidation?
One of the downsides of bankruptcy may be the loss of some property. However, Texas has a fairly extensive list of property that you can protect. Exempt property includes:
- Homestead of unlimited value, with some size restrictions
- Personal property of up to $50,000 in value ($100,000 if married) including furnishings, food, clothing, life insurance, pensions and a limited amount of jewelry
I will ensure you understand what property and assets you can protect in a Chapter 7 filing.
Legal help with discharging your debt
After the trustee administers your case, your eligible debts are discharged. A creditor may not initiate or continue collection efforts for that debt. You may choose to reaffirm a debt with a secured creditor, for example, if you wish to keep making a car payment to keep a vehicle. Certain debts, such as alimony and child support, cannot be discharged. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not an easy decision. As a bankruptcy attorney for more than 20 years, I can help you decide the best course of action, and then guide you through the process.
Contact a skilled bankruptcy attorney for advice on filing Chapter 7
The Law Offices of Cheryl S. Davis, P.C. represents Texas clients in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings and also advises on other debt relief concerns. Please call 915-565-9000 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.