On October 17, 2005, the most sweeping bankruptcy reform legislation was passed which marks the first significant change to the bankruptcy laws in more than twenty-five (25) years. Although the new law, known as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, brings with it sweeping changes to the process for filing bankruptcy, it also requires debtors to receive credit counseling as a prerequisite for eligibility to file. In addition, the new law also requires that debtors who have completed the bankruptcy process undergo post-bankruptcy education to ensure their future use of credit privileges comes with an understanding of the rights and responsibilities for debts incurred after their bankruptcy discharge is entered. Although the new laws bring additional burdens, such as increased time and expense, most individuals will still qualify for bankruptcy. The purpose of the new law was to steer more people into filing a "pay back" plan. Fact of the matter is, it didn't work as well as Congress thought.
The process of bankruptcy is very complicated but with the assistance of the attorneys at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, it can be an easy and successful process. As part of our representation, we will meet with you in person to determine your annual income using what is known as the "means test", where we will request that you provide proof of income for the last six months. A complicated mathematical computation will be performed by us to determine what your average income is. This means test is then used to determine whether you fall above or below the median family income for counties in Maryland.
Once we have performed the means test, we will ask you a series of questions about what you owe, what you own, what you earn and what you spend each month on household expenses. You may wish to refer to our online bankruptcy intake form to learn more about the questions we will ask you at our initial consultation. If you wish, you may fill out the form online and submit it to us in advance of scheduling an in person meeting. This will speed up your intake and will assist us in preparing for our initial meeting.
Once we have met with you and performed the appropriate evaluation of your financial situation, we will advise you as to the best course of action to take in dealing with your debt. In many instances, bankruptcy may be the most appropriate course of action for you to take. In other instances, non-bankruptcy solutions such as consumer credit counseling and non-bankruptcy debt reorganization may be best suited for your needs. In many instances the greater the amount of debt and the longer that debt has been in existence, the more likely it will be that bankruptcy relief is best for you.
The filing of a any bankruptcy case in whatever chapter immediately stops all collection activity, lawsuits, garnishments, judgments, repossessions, foreclosures, creditor calls, collection letters, harassing mail, tax levies, and any act aimed at collecting a debt. This protection is invoked by operation of Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code and does not require the intervention of a Judge or the holding of a hearing to take effect. Imagine that once you file an invisible force field is erected around you and your property, this is your protection. It is immediate and can only be violated if the Bankruptcy Court allows it to be penetrated. Typically, that will only happen when and if a debtor falls behind on their mortgage or car loan obligations. Rarely if ever can a credit card or unsecured loan creditor ever be granted the permission to continue to pursue you. Often times, the only reason the Court allows a penetration of your protections is simply to allow a creditor to recover property that was to go back to a mortgage or car loan company anyhow. Regardless, this permission never involves permission to seek repayment against someone that has filed bankruptcy. All circumstances are different. You should ask your attorney how this protections affects you specifically.
Our site contains detailed explanations of the bankruptcy process for both Chapters 7 and Chapter 13. Each circumstance presents different requirements and obligations of both the attorney and the client and the description below is based upon the experiences of the average client. Should you wish to discuss your case further, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are glad to serve you and have represented thousands of people in Maryland and the District of Columbia in consumer bankruptcy cases of all types.