Clair Stewart answers questions about Philadelphia Bankruptcy

Copyright 2009 Clair M. Stewart:  Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney. All Rights Reserved
100 S. Broad Street #1523, Philadelphia, PA 19110 Phone: 215-564-5150  Fax: 215-405-8055
Clair M. Stewart
Attorney at Law
Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions 

1.  If I’m paying my debt through a debt consolidation or credit counseling agency, is it even necessary to file for bankruptcy?

I would advise you to file for bankruptcy because it is cheaper and more effective.  Many debt consolidation companies are actually owned by the credit card companies so their interests come first – your interests are second.  Debtors first try these agencies because they are so widely advertise, but they ultimately file for bankruptcy because they cannot afford the monthly payments and the added fees. In addition, filing for bankruptcy will allow you to save your money instead of making monthly payments to these organizations.

2.  What is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to save their homes from foreclosure and their cars from repossession. By filing under this Chapter, individuals file a "plan" with the court to cure their delinquent payments (with no interest) over the course of 3-5 years.  
3.  What is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment as in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor's nonexempt assets (if any) and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay creditors in accordance with the Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Code will allow the debtor to keep certain "exempt" property. Accordingly, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under Chapter 7 may result in the loss of property. Finally, if you have a mortgage or car payment, you must continue to make the monthly payments or you may lose the property.

4.  Can I file for bankruptcy by myself in order to save my home from Sheriff sale?

Bankruptcy can save your home from Sheriff sale but you need an experienced attorney to help you file bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy laws changed in 2005 and many new requirements must be met or your bankruptcy will be dismissed! Certifications, petitions, schedules, a means test or a payment plan must be filed.  If your bankruptcies are repeatedly dismissed, you may be temporarily barred from filing future bankruptcies!  

5.  If I file for bankruptcy, will my spouse’s credit report be affected?

Your spouse’s credit will not be affected by your bankruptcy.  His or her credit will remain exactly the same. However, your spouse may still be responsible for the debt if it is a joint debt.

6.  If I file for bankruptcy, how long will it stay on my credit report?  How will I be able to re-establish my credit rating?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years and Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your report for 7 years.  After bankruptcy you can immediately start to rebuild your credit through secured credit cards and you can also get car loans and mortgages through “bankruptcy-friendly” finance companies.

7.  It’s so embarrassing to file for bankruptcy. Will everybody know?

Bankruptcies are public records and if someone goes to the Bankruptcy Court and searches the docket, they will find your bankruptcy. Otherwise, only you, your creditors and the people you tell will know that you filed for bankruptcy.  

8.  What should I do if I think I may need to file for bankruptcy?

Contact an experienced Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney, Clair M. Stewart, Esquire. who can help in protecting the rights of consumers like you.  We may be reached at 215-564-5150 or through through our Legal Intake form.