Bankruptcy FAQ

WHAT IS A BANKRUPTCY?

A bankruptcy is a court procedure where an individual or business can discharge certain debts and usually retain all or most of their assets. It is a process designed to give you a "fresh start." More information can be obtained by contacting Greggory T. Colpitts, your Tulsa bankruptcy lawyer, at The Colpitts Law Firm.

WHO CAN FILE?

Individuals, married couples, and businesses can file. You cannot file a Chapter 7 if you filed for bankruptcy in the past 8 years. You will also have to pass a means test to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7.

To get started on your case right now with no obligation whatsoever, simply complete our free confidential consultation form or give us a call at 918-236-8385 . Let us start working on your Tulsa Bankruptcy case immediately.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy enables you to discharge unsecured debts such as most credit cards and medical bills, and any unsecured loans. In some limited cases, you can discharge past taxes. You can keep property that is exempt such as household furniture and clothing, and most retirement funds. Oklahoma also has an unlimited homestead exemption. For other items like automobiles, you can keep one car with equity up to $7,500.00.

A Chapter 13 is a reorganization in which you and your attorney come up with a plan, which must be approved by the trustee, to pay back your creditors within 5 years. You can keep all of your property, but you must have a steady income that is sufficient to pay your creditors and to satisfy the trustee.

In a Chapter 13, you make one monthly payment to the trustee who pays your creditors in order of priority with unsecured creditors at the bottom. At the conclusion of the repayment period, which is 36 or 60 months, any unpaid debt owed to unsecured creditors may be discharged.

Your Tulsa bankruptcy lawyer, Greggory T. Colpitts, can advise you on whether filing for bankruptcy is in your best interests and which chapter to file under.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE ALREADY BEEN SUED?

A bankruptcy filing operates to automatically stay all legal proceedings, meaning that any court cases or collection actions must stop. In many cases, you may be able to name the person or company suing you in your bankruptcy and have the potential debt discharged.

WILL I LOSE ANY PROPERTY?

Not in a Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7, you can retain any exempt property. Exempt property means that creditors cannot touch it and the trustee cannot seize it and have it sold to pay your creditors.

Examples of exempt property under Oklahoma law includes the total equity in your home, one auto up to $7500, retirement accounts, household furnishings, most if not all of the cash in your bank accounts, and other property that your attorney can advise you on.

If you have a second home or own real estate that is not your home, it is not exempt and the trustee can seize it.

Consult with Greggory T. Colpitts, your Tulsa bankruptcy lawyer, regarding your assets in a bankruptcy proceeding.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CREDIT?

A bankruptcy will stay on your credit record for 10 years, but there are numerous ways you can rebuild your credit and to obtain car and home loans on excellent terms after only two years or so. Your attorney can give you some reassuring news about how to build up your credit.

WHAT DEBTS ARE NOT DISCHARGEABLE?

You cannot discharge the following debts in a Chapter 7:

  • Student loans
  • Most tax liabilities
  • Court fines or fines levied by municipalities
  • Debt incurred by fraud
  • Debt incurred in a personal injury action where punitive damages were awarded
  • Child support and spousal maintenance
  • Cash advances or loans of at least $750 obtained within 70 days of filing

DO I GO TO COURT?

No, but you will have to attend a First Meeting of Creditors, or a 341 Meeting, in which you will be questioned by the trustee regarding your petition. Most of these meetings are very short. Creditors may attend this meeting and question you about your property but this is not typical.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The filing fee for a Chapter 7 is $299. For a Chapter 13, the fee is $274. Attorneys fees vary usually based on the complexity of your case.

Call us at 918-236-8385 to arrange an initial consultation and find out what we can do for you. Or contact our Tulsa bankruptcy lawyer by e-mail.