Information about these legal FAQs assumes that the client qualifies for bankruptcy relief
How much does bankruptcy cost in Texas?
There is no charge for this information and first visit to my law firm. After you read the paper, you will provide some basic information to my staff. This will help us decide if you qualify for bankruptcy, and if so, which of the four basic kinds of bankruptcy would be best to help you.
A fee will then be set for you based on the amount of debt you have, the kind of debt you have, the kind of bankruptcy you need, and bankruptcy problems that appear based on the paperwork you fill out for me. Fees for Chapter 7 typically range from $1,300 to $2,000 (unless you are a business owner), plus court fees and credit reports. Fees for Chapter 13 are set by the bankruptcy court, and typically require a minimum retainer before filing. If you are one of the rare cases (such as where a fraudulent statement has been made in writing to obtain a loan) that require litigation (trial) in bankruptcy court, additional fees will be required of you.
My staff will explain payment options to you, and if you and I agree to file a bankruptcy, you will have to sign a contract and provide a deposit.
Is the initial interview free of charge?
Do you have payment arrangements?
Yes. We require a minimum of $300 down, and a signed contract to pay the rest of our fees, some of which must be paid before bankruptcy is filed.
Can I keep everything or will I lose it?
There is no need to fear any loss of your important property or possessions in most cases, because filing for bankruptcy in Texas provides strong and wide-ranging protections. Indeed, it is rare that a client has to surrender any property in bankruptcy, and if you are one of those rare situations, you will be given the option to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows you to keep all of your property, so long as you meet certain required minimum income and financial ability to pay requirements.
In a chapter 7 case, you may keep your homestead and one car for each licensed driver driving in your home, if you are current (or can quickly become current) on any debt tied to your home or your car on the date you file bankruptcy. If you have debt on your home, your car, or any other personal property which you purchased by financing, you may reaffirm the debt, which means you will keep the item, and continue paying the debt on time, during the bankruptcy and thereafter.
The court will only require that you sign a contract with the bank or finance company called a “Reaffirmation Agreement” and show that you can afford the payments. Once that agreement is signed, you may change your mind and/or void the reaffirmation agreement in writing within 60 days of signing the contract, or before your bankruptcy case is discharged, whichever is later.
Almost all our clients officially “reaffirm” some secured debts on property they own. In my many years of bankruptcy work, no client has ever been refused the right to reaffirm a debt on his home, so long as he/she is current on the debt at the time the bank presents the new contract. So, you should not be concerned if this is the kind of debt you want to reaffirm, and you are current on the debt and can afford to keep making the payments.
Can a bankruptcy help me with a lawsuit?
Will I be able to buy a car or house after bankruptcy?
In Chapter 13, you can also buy a home or a car with bankruptcy court permission, showing the Court you can afford the payments and the Chapter 13 payments already required by the Court.
Does my spouse have to file with me?
Should I file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 is for those that need to get caught up on a house payment, or refinance their vehicles, or need a five year payment plan to get current on IRS or child support obligations. In Chapter 13, most unsecured debt is either wiped out, or paid at reduced balances, based on your ability to pay.
Who notifies the creditors and bill collectors?
Will the bankruptcy stop bill collectors from calling?
Can I use bankruptcy to stop foreclosure on my home or to stop other actions by creditors?
Chapter 13 is the ideal way to stop foreclosure and get caught up on back payments in a three to five year plan, while wiping out other debts in most cases.
Can my employer fire me for filing bankruptcy?
Can I go to jail if I file bankruptcy or don't pay my debts?
Will I have to go to court?
Can I file a bankruptcy for my debts, but not include my assets?
Can all of my debts be eliminated by a bankruptcy?
Can I keep any credit cards?
Can I load up on debt just before the bankruptcy?
Should I do debt consolidation instead?
What if I don’t know who I owe or how much I owe?
Our office requires every client to pay $45 for a four credit bureau report that applies specifically to bankruptcies. Any debts not shown on those reports can still be wiped out by providing our office with the name, address, and amount of debt. Usually, medical bills and pay day loans are not on these bankruptcy credit reports.