Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Ferris, Thompson & Zweig is a top Chicago Chapter 7 bankruptcy firm committed to assisting individual and business clients emerge from debt by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At Ferris, Thompson & Zweig we walk our clients step by step through the bankruptcy process, from the pre-filing stages, through the liquidation of assets, to the final court-ordered discharge of debts.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows debtors to sell or liquidate their assets in order to pay creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcies differ from those filed under Chapters 11 and 13 by bypassing the need for a court-approved repayment plan that provides for the partial payment of debt over time. Unlike these "reorganization cases," Chapter 7 provides an easy, fast way to settle debts through liquidation of the debtor's non-exempt assets. In Chapter 7 proceedings, the debtor relinquishes all non-exempt property to the bankruptcy trustee who sells the property to pay off debts. Examples of non-exempt property include cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and other investments. The debtor can retain "exempt" property such as motor vehicles up to a certain value, a portion of equity in his/her home, and damages awarded for personal injury.
The debtor begins the bankruptcy process by submitting to mandatory credit counseling within 180 days prior to filing the petition with the bankruptcy court. Once the petition is filed, the court appoints a trustee to sell the debtor's non-exempt assets and split the money from the liquidation among the creditors to discharge the person's debts. The good news is, debtors can discharge almost all their debts in as little as four months, giving themselves a new opportunity to "start fresh" without the previous burden and harassment from creditors. Most debts can be paid through liquidation; those that cannot are discharged.
In order to be eligible to file for Chapter 7, debtors must pass the "means test" by having a current monthly income less than the median income for a household of the debtor's size in the debtor's state. If, after subtracting monthly expenses from your current monthly income, your "disposable income" is higher than a certain amount, you fail the means test and are not eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Higher income filers may still file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to repay a portion of their debts, but cannot use the more expedient liquidation procedures offered by Chapter 7. Debtors who discharged their debts using Chapter 7 bankruptcy within the past eight years are also not eligible to file again.
Because bankruptcy is a relatively complicated process, it is important to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you do it correctly. Since 1989, Ferris, Thompson & Zweig has helped clients assess the best method to discharge their debts and get back on their feet. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality representation and getting you through this trying time.
If you require legal assistance filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, get a free consultation from an experienced Gurnee, Illinois, Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney by calling (866) 602-3000 or filling out our online Contact Us form. We charge $1000.00 for attorney's fees in Chapter 7 cases and have a payment plan.