Chapter 5When should I file bankruptcy?
Chapter 6What do I lose if I file bankruptcy?
Chapter 8What can bankruptcy do for you?
Chapter 9What Does Bankruptcy Cost?
Chapter 18What About My Car in Bankruptcy?
Chapter 19What Happens to My House in Bankruptcy?
Chapter 20When Will Creditors Stop Bothering Me?
Chapter 23When do I stop paying my creditors?
Chapter 24Gas, cable, electric and phone bill
Chapter 26What Bankruptcy won't solve
Chapter 27Chapter 13 Debt repayment Plans
Chapter 28Will I be able to get credit again?
Chapter 29Bill Consolidation Loans
Chapter 30Bill Consolidation Scams
Chapter 31Wage Assignments, Deductions and Levies
Chapter 32Student Loans
Chapter 33Can I get rid of Taxes
Chapter 34NSF Checks, Traffic & Parking Tickets
Chapter 35Surrendering Real Estate & Time Shares
Chapter 36Business Bankruptcy
Chapter 37Professional Persons
Chapter 38Do you ever "Not Get" a Discharge?
The minute the bankruptcy case is filed. In the meantime, don't talk to them, leave them on the answering machine. If they call you at work, get their info, give them your home number, and say "My employer does not allow calls at work, please call me at home." These are magic words under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that require them to stop calling you at work. You can tell them that!
After we have prepared a petition listing your debts and assets, and prepared answers to required questions about your personal actions in relation to money, the bankruptcy petition is filed with the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. Of course, your attorney fee must be paid in full, unless you have made other arrangements. After you have paid your attorney, you pay the filing fee, or court cost. It is about $300.00 (When I started practicing bankruptcy law, in 1974, the court cost was only $30.00.) This must be paid in the form of a money order or cashier check payable to the Clerk of U.S. Bankruptcy Court, since the Clerk does not take personal checks.
After the Clerk has stamped a bankruptcy case number, or docket number, on the petition, notice can be sent out to all creditors that you are under the jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court. Then, Federal law requires that all collection action stop.
After you have made up your mind what to do, I generally advise you to stop paying all creditors except the ones which will survive a bankruptcy. If you are having trouble with bill payments, you should get a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you make more payments to creditors.
You may be wasting your money right now by making minimum payments on bills that don't go down after you make the payment, or you may be paying money to creditors that you will get rid of, instead of creditors that you must pay.
It is important to understand that thinking about filing bankruptcy, or even talking about it, is not the same as giving money to an attorney and actually having a docket number assigned by the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Even giving money to an attorney is not enough. The case actually has to be filed with the Clerk. It is then that the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code which protect you from creditor harassment, bill collectors, wage assignments and lawsuits come into effect.
Those provisions are briefly known as the "automatic stay" provisions. This protection is known as the automatic stay, because the Bankruptcy Code provides that all creditor action is automatically stopped, or stayed, when a petition is filed with the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. This "automatic stay" is truly automatic, and even if a creditor does not know a bankruptcy case has been filed, you are protected from their actions.
For instance, if money is taken out of our paycheck by a creditor after the date a bankruptcy petition has been filed, it must be put back as soon as you notify your payroll department that you were under the protection of the automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code at the time the money was deducted.
I routinely provide my clients with notices entitled "Automatic Stay", which state the language of the Code. I mail them to the client when the case is filed, so that the client can notify payroll, if necessary, or tell the docket number to any bill collector who calls. Sometimes clients get these in the mail, and even though we have discussed it thoroughly, they call up and say, "What are all these papers? Do you mean I have to notify my creditors? What am I paying you for?
I then explain again that this is for your benefit, so that you quickly have something in your hand to give to anyone who wants proof that you have filed a bankruptcy petition. Creditors and payroll departments will immediately stop any action if they know definitely that a bankruptcy has been filed.
Problem: Keith has a wage assignment from a finance company, and all his creditor cards are behind and bill collectors are calling him constantly.
The Peter Francis Geraci Chapter 7 or 13 Solution: The filing of any bankruptcy petition stops all creditor action. When Keith's bankruptcy case is filed, the wage assignment has to stop, and no one can even call him on the telephone.
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