Lafayette & New Iberia Bankruptcy Attorneys
Bankruptcy Attorneys in Lafayette and New Iberia
You’re not alone if you find yourself in a tough spot financially. In 2021, thousands of bankruptcy cases were filed in Louisiana alone. Fortunately, help is available. Our Lafayette bankruptcy attorneys are here to talk through the options available to help ease your debt-related stress.
Just like in life, we need to fully understand our financial situation before taking the next steps. The bankruptcy lawyers at Standard Law want to help you achieve your goals. We give you the opportunity to speak with qualified legal counsel concerning your specific financial situation and evaluate what our firm can do to assist you and your family.
The Benefits of Bankruptcy
The bankruptcy process is difficult, but it has many benefits that can improve your life. It’s not a punishment, and filing won’t have any negative effects on your life. In fact, you may find that your life becomes easier after bankruptcy, as most or all of the debt causing financial hardship will be gone. These are some primary benefits offered by bankruptcy:
Freedom From Debt
Depending on which type of bankruptcy you file for, either Chapter 7 or 13, your debt will be discharged in different ways. If it’s Chapter 7, then your unsecured debts – like credit cards and medical bills – will be excused and you no longer have to pay them back. However, if it’s Chapter 13 that you choose to go with, you’ll set up a payment plan where you gradually pay off the debts over time until they’re gone for good.
Halting Collection Actions
When you file for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” is put into effect by the court. This means that creditors and debt collectors are not allowed to take any further action against you. If your property is at risk of being repossessed or your home is in danger of foreclosure, the automatic stay will prevent this from happening while you’re going through your bankruptcy proceedings.
Obtaining a Fresh Start
After your bankruptcy is complete, you can work on rebuilding your credit score. With time and patience, you may even reach a level of financial health that is better than before you filed for bankruptcy.
Your financial information and bankruptcy record are private. You aren’t required to tell anyone you filed for bankruptcy unless you’re applying for a new loan or credit card.
What Are Some Options for Debt Relief?When you contact Standard Law and speak with one of our Lafayette bankruptcy attorneys, we will review your financial situation and advise the best route to take to achieve the debt relief you need. Often, these options include one of the following:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Chapter 11 bankruptcy
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Chapter 7 BankruptcyChapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation or liquidation bankruptcy, generally allows you to get rid of unsecured debts. These include credit card debt, medical bills, and money judgments (even though not all debts are dischargeable). If you’re struggling with a mountain of debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy could eliminate thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, which should help you get back on track financially. It can also release your personal responsibility for secured debt. The biggest worry about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Louisiana is that people think they will “lose everything.” However, creditors are forced to stop all collection activity, including harassing letters and phone calls. Most of the time, you only have to keep making payments to retain any property that’s considered collateral. Despite the common misconception, most of our clients who qualify are able to keep a majority, if not all, of their belonging through bankruptcy exemptions.
Chapter 7 Means TestIn 2005, the federal government revised bankruptcy law to include an eligibility test that takes into account median income in each state and other considerations. Our experienced Lafayette bankruptcy attorneys will carefully analyze your finances to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and advise you on the pros and cons of this type of filing. You may prefer or be required to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy if:
- You earn too much under the means test
- You are behind on mortgage or vehicle payments on the property you want to keep
- You have nonexempt assets you are not willing to lose
- You prefer to pay a portion of the debt that you can afford
- You want to lower or restructure a vehicle or other secured loans
- You have nondischargeable taxes you would like to pay over time
Chapter 11 BankruptcyChapter 11 bankruptcy, or “reorganization” bankruptcy, is primarily used by businesses to rachet down their debts while continuing day-to-day operations. This process is usually very costly and complex which limits its availability to big corporations, partnerships, and LLCs. There are some specific scenarios where individuals or small businesses may opt for Chapter 11 but this type of filing typically only makes sense when there’s a large restructuring of debt owed.
What Are the Benefits of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?One of the biggest advantages of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that businesses can stay open and keep operating during the process. This means that they continue to generate cash flow, which gives them more flexibility in terms of repaying debts.
Who Is Eligible for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?Although most businesses and individuals who qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy will also qualify for Chapter 11, many choose not to pursue it because it tends to take more time and money with higher risks. array If you’re unsure about whether filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the best move for you or your business, meeting with a Lafayette bankruptcy lawyer at Standard Law can help clear things up.
Chapter 13 BankruptcyIf you have income but are struggling to pay your creditors, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help. It stops foreclosure, repossession and debt collection, while giving you time to pay back what you can afford. In most cases, people don’t end up paying back all of their unsecured debt, and some owe nothing at the end of their case. With some exceptions, those debts not paid in a Chapter 13 plan are discharged.
The Many Advantages Of Chapter 13Chapter 13 repayment plans are designed to help you pay off your debts over time, and can often result in a reduction or even elimination of your unsecured debt. Once you enroll in a plan, creditors must stop any collection actions against you, and you’ll make fixed monthly payments for 3-5 years based on what you can afford. At the end of the plan period, any remaining dischargeable debt will be wiped out. You won’t have to give up any assets unless you so desire. This chapter provides both immediate and long-term relief and is typically viewed as a less severe form of bankruptcy than Chapter 7. Some benefits of Chapter 13 filings include:
- Stop foreclosure and repossession — If you have mortgage arrears or past-due car payments, you can roll them into your repayment plan. In many cases, we can also reduce your monthly vehicle payments.
- Prevent wage garnishment — Your take-home pay will not be seized by creditors.
- End the creditor harassment — Annoying phone calls and threatening letters from creditors will no longer be a problem. The automatic stay prevents them from contacting you or taking any legal action against you to collect a debt.
- Restructure your vehicle and other secured loans other than home mortgage loans.
- Free yourself from constant stress.
Who is Eligible for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you do not need to pass a “means” test like in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The requirements for Chapter 13 filers are:
- Their income tax filings are current.
- They possess sufficient disposable income.
- Their unsecured debts are less than $394,725.
- Their secured debts are less than $1,184,200.