Frequently Asked Questions About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you are struggling to make ends meet, it is in your interests to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options.

The law firm Donahue & Walsh, P.C., is committed to making the bankruptcy process as pain free as possible. Before you consider cashing out your retirement accounts or taking other action to avoid bankruptcy, you should talk with a lawyer about bankruptcy to have your individual situation evaluated to see if bankruptcy is right for you. Schedule a free consultation with a lawyer. Call us in McHenry at 815-322-9678, in Rockford at 779-203-9049 and in Elgin at 224-276-6641.

One of the best ways to understand Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to get answers to common questions about bankruptcy.

What Is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy for individuals and married couples. It is commonly known as liquidation because it eliminates most debts, enabling people to move forward with their lives without struggling to pay their bills.

Types Of Debt Included In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

  • Credit card debt
  • Medical debt
  • Payday loan obligations
  • Personal loans that are not secured by any property
  • Deficiency balances on property that has been repossessed of foreclosed upon
  • Money owed as a result of court judgment (this does not include court fines)

What About My House Or My Car?

If you have loans securing these items, such as a mortgage or car note, you will need to continue paying on these items if you wish to keep the secured property. If you do not want to keep them, these debts can be discharged in bankruptcy.

What Kind Of Debt Is Not Dischargeable?

There are certain types of debt that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes:

  • Government fines such as traffic tickets
  • Child support and alimony arrears
  • Debts owed to a former spouse or child arising out of a divorce or separation
  • Any debt resulting from fraud or created under false pretenses
  • Student loans
  • Debts resulting from a personal injury lawsuit resulting from driving while intoxicated
  • Some tax debts — talk to an attorney about your options here

Can A Creditor Object To Discharge Of Debt?

In certain circumstances a creditor may object to the discharge of a debt in bankruptcy. Reasons for doing this may be ringing up additional debt in anticipation of bankruptcy. Debts that were created as a result of intentional, willful and malicious injury to another person or their personal property. A creditor may also object to discharge if an individual purchased luxury goods such as jewelry within the 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy.

What Can I Keep In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

In many situations, you will be able to keep all of most of your property in bankruptcy. Illinois uses systems of exemptions to protect your property in bankruptcy. Because the exemptions apply to individuals filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we have included information about exemptions on our bankruptcy page.

What Is Needed To Qualify For Chapter 7?

To qualify for Chapter 7 your income must satisfy the Means Test. Generally, this requires your household income to be under certain thresholds, but there are circumstances where you could qualify even if your income exceeds these thresholds. Talk to an attorney about qualifying. If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, you may still be able to pursue Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Items To Bring To Your Initial Bankruptcy Consultation

It is helpful to have as much information about your debt and current circumstances as possible. In many situations, these documents will need to be provided to the bankruptcy court if you file for bankruptcy. Please bring:

  • Your last two years of tax returns
  • Paystubs from all employers over the past six months
  • A property tax statement for your home if you own one
  • A statement showing the current balance owed on any secured property such as a home or car
  • A statement showing the balance of any retirement accounts or investment accounts

If bankruptcy is right for you, these documents will enable your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to begin preparing your case.

For additional information about the advantages of bankruptcy, visit our bankruptcy page.

Are You Ready To Schedule Your Free Consultation?

If you are ready to meet with an attorney to find out if you should file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, please call one of our law offices. You can reach us in McHenry at 815-322-9678, in Rockford at 779-203-9049 and in Elgin at 224-276-6641. You may also fill out a brief form to reach us online. We serve clients throughout Cook County.