Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Richmond
If your debt and other expenses are too high to manage with your current income level, bankruptcy may be a viable solution. Chapter 7 is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy filed in the U.S., and, every year, hundreds of thousands of people use it to eliminate debt and achieve a fresh start. With personalized guidance, you can take full advantage of this legal option.
When you bring your case to Flores Law PLLC, you can trust our attorney to treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve. Your financial crisis may be the result of honest mistakes, or it might have been the unexpected consequences of a natural disaster, car accident, economic downturn, or any other event that was beyond your control. No matter the case, you will not be judged when you work with our firm. Our firm is personally and professionally motivated to help you overcome adversity and build the lasting financial foundations you need.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Available to individuals, couples, and business owners, Chapter 7 is generally the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy. Because it is also called “liquidation bankruptcy,” many people believe they will lose everything they own if they choose this legal path. Most Chapter 7 cases, however, allow filers to free themselves from debt without losing any assets.
Chapter 7 is called liquidation bankruptcy because the trustee takes your nonexempt assets and sells them to repay your creditors. But this does not mean the trustee will sell everything you have until your creditors are paid in full. You will be able to exempt, or protect, certain assets and equity from the liquidation process by using state or federal exemption laws.
Here are just a few of the exemptions you can claim through the state of Virginia:
- $25,000 home equity for principle residence per filer
- A motor vehicle valued up to $6000
- Insurance benefits, such as from life insurance, an industrial sick benefits
- ERISA-qualified pension benefits of up to $17,500 per year
- Personal property, including family heirlooms, health aids, furnishing up to $5000, clothing up to $1000, pets, wedding rings, and more
- Compensation from unemployment or workers’ compensation
- Tools of the trade needed to successfully perform your job
In Virginia, you may also claim certain federal exemptions in addition to the exemptions provided by the state.
Like all forms of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 triggers an automatic stay, which halts and prevents all collection actions such as harassing calls and letters, wage garnishment, foreclosure, and more. The automatic stay lasts for the duration of your case, giving you the freedom you need to implement a legal solution to your financial crisis.
Eliminating Your Debt
If your nonexempt assets have been sold under Chapter 7, the liquidation process is complete. The court can then discharge any remaining unsecured debt. After a debt discharge, you are no longer liable for that debt, and collectors can no longer contact you or take you to court.
Unsecured debt is anything that is not attached to collateral, such as
credit card debt, personal loans, medical bills, and utility bills. If
you have secured debt, such as a loan on an automobile or mortgage, you can
keep the property if you keep paying the loan. It also will not discharge criminal penalties, child support, or alimony. Student loans can technically be discharged through bankruptcy, but very few people qualify for that relief. Income tax debt can be discharged under certain conditions. If most of what you owe is not dischargeable, you may consider a repayment plan through Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.
Our attorney can help you determine whether Chapter 7 will substantially improve your circumstances, or if Chapter 13 may be a better option. No matter the case, we are fully prepared to help you achieve financial freedom as soon as possible.
Is Chapter 7 Right For You?
Not everyone can—or should—file Chapter 7. To qualify, you typically must make less than your state’s median income for a household of your size, or you must demonstrate a particular need for relief through a complex calculation of your income and expenses. This is called the means test. If you cannot qualify, Chapter 13 might be a viable alternative.
Our attorney can assess your situation to determine whether the benefits of Chapter 7 will outweigh the costs. After careful consideration of all your options, we can guide you every step of the way toward financial security.
“He's the best professional I've seen, everything went perfect in our process thanks to Flores team. I'm definitely asking them for help if any legal representation is needed in the future.”- Jerry R.
“Flores Law provided excellent sevice for my Bankruptcy case. Lawyer Stephen Flores took the time to explain in detail all my options, the steps involved, and the likely outcome for each option. I am very glad I chose Flores Law.”- Kathleen P.
“Flores Law helped me with my bankruptcy, they were very helpful with answering my questions. They called to check to see if there was anything I needed. They are very professional and I would recommend them to anyone that needed a bankruptcy lawyer.”- Hope P.
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