Joliet is one of the largest cities in Illinois and has especially seen growth in its downtown area. That doesn’t mean all is well for everyone, however. Economic troubles still abound, which has caused many people in Joliet to consider bankruptcy. But bankruptcy is more beneficial than many people realize because it can allow you to turn the page on insurmountable debt. If you’re tired of fighting with creditors, are worried about foreclosure or repossession, or are concerned about wage garnishment, Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic can help.
Clearing Up Misconceptions About Bankruptcy
Most debtors cringe at the thought of filing for bankruptcy because there are so many misconceptions about it. They believe you have to be completely broke before even considering bankruptcy, so they associate the word with poverty. Others worry they won’t be able to build credit for years. On top of that, there’s the stigma of filing for bankruptcy, with so many debtors believing it represents personal failure.
In reality, many Americans choose bankruptcy because of circumstances that are not in their control. If creditors are coming after you, or you can’t keep up with your bills, it’s a good idea to consider a solution that millions of other people have used to start over. Bankruptcy can help you:
- Put an end to creditor phone calls and letters
- Stop foreclosures and repossessions
- End wage garnishments
- Deal with creditor judgments and lawsuits
- Begin rebuilding your credit
Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Which Is Right For Me in Joliet, Illinois?
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are two great options, and which one is right for you will depend on several factors. The type of debt you have will affect which option is best. So will the strategy by which you wish to handle your debt. Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic can evaluate your debt situation and help you pick the solution that fits your needs.
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee assigned to your case will sell off property and assets to pay down as much debt as possible. This option, known as a liquidation bankruptcy, is best for debtors with unsecured debt. You will be able to eliminate all or most unsecured debt, including
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Utility bills (electric, water, etc.)
- Unsecured judgments
- Collection agency debts
- Personal loans
Child support, student loans, taxes, and traffic tickets are some examples of debts you cannot discharge in Chapter 7.
Not all property has to be liquidated. Certain items are exempt, including furniture, clothing, household items, and other things with little or no liquidation value. Your home and vehicle may be exempt, depending on whether their values exceed exemption limits.
There are also income restrictions, which means not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Eligible debtors have to make less than the median household income in their area. If Chapter 7 is not available to you, Chapter 13 could be an option.
Debtors who either don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or who want to reorganize and pay off their debt (rather than liquidate assets) should consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. With Chapter 13, debtors propose a 3-5 year repayment plan for their debt. The trustee will review the plan, and creditors get to look at it as well. If the bankruptcy judge approves the proposal during a confirmation hearing, the debtor can start making payments under it.
As long as the debtor makes all payments under the reorganization plan, he or she gets to keep their property and ultimately discharge the bankruptcy. If you miss a payment, however, your creditors may be able to resume their collection efforts.
What Is the Automatic Stay?
After you file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will enter an automatic stay. This order prevents creditors from going after you to collect and requires ongoing collection efforts to cease. Specifically, the stay prevents creditors from pursuing the following against you:
- Wage garnishments
- Creditor lawsuits
- Collection letters and calls
An automatic stay can be lifted in some cases, which then allows creditors to continue the above actions. If the stay is lifted, for example, a creditor might be able to repossess your vehicle or foreclose on your home. Having an attorney will help keep your automatic stay in place so you can focus on taking care of your debt.
Our Joliet Bankruptcy Attorney Is Ready to Help
When you retain Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic, our experienced legal team will assess your debt situation, review your income, and consider other information to help you choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We also look at your goals with bankruptcy. Is your priority keeping assets or would you rather liquidate them? Can you complete a debt reorganization to keep your property?
Contact Our Joliet Bankruptcy Attorney
Give Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic a call. We will explain what bankruptcy requires, what your most likely outcome will be after bankruptcy, and what your rights are each step of the way. As your attorney, we will represent you and your interests throughout the process. We can schedule your confidential consultation today.