Guiding You Through Consumer Bankruptcy
The purpose of bankruptcy is to give an honest debtor a fresh start in life by wiping the slate clean of debt and providing a harassment-free way to repay creditors to the extent that a person has property or income available for payment. Some bankruptcy cases are filed to allow a debtor to reorganize and establish a plan to repay creditors, while other cases involve liquidation of the debtor’s property.
Each client’s circumstances are unique, and the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Steinhilber Swanson LLP will meet with you personally to explain and explore the options available to you under federal bankruptcy law. From our offices in Oshkosh, Madison and Milwaukee, you will receive professional and personalized representation from attorneys who care about your situation and who can assist you in gaining relief from debt under the Bankruptcy Code.
Bankruptcy is complex, but Steinhilber Swanson LLP is a debt relief agency committed to finding the best bankruptcy and nonbankruptcy options available in each of our clients’ unique situations.
The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7/Debt Liquidation
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed for debtors in financial difficulty who cannot pay their existing debts. Those whose debts are primarily consumer debts are subject to a “means test” designed to determine whether the case should be permitted to proceed under Chapter 7. If your income is greater than the median income for your state and family size, your creditors may have the right to file a motion requesting that the court dismiss your case under Section 707(b) of the Code. It is up to the court to decide whether the case should be dismissed. In such a case, there may be an option to convert to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization.
Under Chapter 7, you may claim property as exempt, up to a given value, under governing law. A trustee may have the right to take possession of and sell the remaining property that is not exempt or otherwise pledged and use the sale proceeds to pay your creditors.
The purpose of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is to obtain a discharge of your existing debts. If, however, you are found to have committed certain kinds of improper conduct toward your creditors as described in the Bankruptcy Code, the court may deny your discharge and, if it does, the purpose for which you filed the bankruptcy petition will be defeated.
Even if you receive a general discharge, some debts are not dischargeable under the law. Therefore, you may still be responsible for: most taxes and student loans; debts incurred to pay nondischargeable taxes; domestic support and property settlement obligations; most fines, penalties, forfeitures and criminal restitution obligations; certain debts that are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; and debts resulting from death or personal injury caused by operating a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Also, if a creditor can prove that a debt arose from fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, theft, or a willful and malicious injury, the bankruptcy court may determine that the debt is not dischargeable.
Chapter 13/Debt Repayment
Chapter 13 is a wage earner repayment plan. It is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments. You are eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy only if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. Under Chapter 13, you must file a plan with the court for repaying your creditors all or part of the money owed from your future earnings. The period allowed by the court to repay your debts may be three years or five years, depending upon your income and other factors.
The court must approve your plan before it can take effect. After completing the payments under your plan, your debts are generally discharged except for domestic support obligations, most student loans, certain taxes, most criminal fines and restitution obligation, certain debts that are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers, certain debts for acts that caused death or personal injury, and certain long-term secured obligations.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing may:
- Allow you to stop foreclosure on your home
- Give you time to catch up on your house payments
- Stop repossession of your vehicle
- Stop the IRS from garnishing your wages
Contact Steinhilber Swanson LLP
The success of your bankruptcy can depend on the quality of your representation. Steinhilber Swanson LLP is a Wisconsin law firm offering quality representation for a wide variety of bankruptcy cases, including business bankruptcies.
We invite you to contact our firm to schedule a consultation with our lawyers by calling 920-235-6690 or 608-630-8990 or 414-269-8500. If you prefer, get started by sending us an email via our online contact form. Offices in Oshkosh, Madison and Milwaukee.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.