Credit card bills are a major source of crushing, oppressive debt for millions of Americans, including thousands of people here in Philadelphia. If concerns and anxieties about paying off your credit cards are keeping you awake at night or intruding into your daily life, debt relief may be available in the form of bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can help give you credit card debt relief while simultaneously protecting you from repossession, foreclosure, and other debt collection actions. By wiping out your debts, bankruptcy can also give you a greater ability to start building good credit.
While bankruptcy has many financial advantages under the right set of circumstances, it’s extremely important to have professional assistance from an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Factors like when you file for bankruptcy, which chapter of bankruptcy you file for, how much income you earn, and the amount of credit card debt you have will all need to be weighed carefully by an attorney who understands how to comply with bankruptcy regulations while making financially strategic decisions for the client.
For a free legal consultation concerning bankruptcy in Philadelphia or nearby areas of Pennsylvania, including Bucks County and Delaware County, contact Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215) 995-2543 today.
Does Filing Bankruptcy Eliminate Credit Card Debt?
A person who files for bankruptcy is called a “filer,” “debtor,” or “bankruptcy petitioner.” When a debtor files bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, all of his or her debts are divided into two categories: dischargeable debts, and non-dischargeable debts. If a debt is dischargeable, it means the bankruptcy court can wipe out the debtor’s liability for that debt. In other words, the debtor will no longer be liable for paying off the debt when it has been discharged.
Fortunately, most debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, including credit card debt. That means you can get rid of credit card debt by filing for bankruptcy. This applies regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Continue reading for an overview of some key differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and to learn more about which type of bankruptcy may be better for you.
Should I File Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
This is one of the most important and fundamental questions to consider when making the decision to declare bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. At Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, our bankruptcy attorneys have extensive experience assisting debtors with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, enabling us to make a nuanced assessment of which is more appropriate considering your debts, assets, and income, your reasons for filing bankruptcy, and the financial goals you hope to achieve.
In bankruptcy, the term “chapter” simply refers to a form or type of bankruptcy, in reference to federal bankruptcy code. While there are many chapters of bankruptcy, the majority of debtors use Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, regardless of whether they choose to file individually or file jointly with their spouses.
Chapter 7 is called “straight bankruptcy,” “ordinary bankruptcy,” or “liquidation bankruptcy.” Chapter 7 generally takes a period of approximately four to six months to complete. A person called a “trustee” is appointed to administer the bankruptcy estate, which in this case means the trustee is authorized to sell certain possessions in order to repay the debtor’s creditors to the greatest extent possible. However, Chapter 7 debtors seldom lose their homes or cars, because bankruptcy exemptions can be used to protect property. There are also many situations where trustees decide not to sell property because the value of the property is relatively low.
If the debtor complies with bankruptcy rules, most of his or her debts will be discharged (eliminated). This includes not only credit card debts, but also:
- Business Debts
- Debts from Personal Loans
- Medical Debt
- Past-Due Rent
- Past-Due Utility Bills
Chapter 13 is called “reorganization bankruptcy” or a “wage earner’s plan.” Chapter 13 takes a period of three or five years to complete. Chapter 13 is primarily designed for debtors with higher income and more valuable assets. This is because Chapter 13 revolves around a “reorganization plan,” under which the debtor makes monthly payments to the trustee. The trustee then disburses the money to various creditors. In exchange, the debtor gets to keep all of his or her property.
If the debtor makes up missed mortgage and car loan payments, and continues making payments in a timely fashion, the debtor can stop home foreclosure and prevent repossession of their vehicle. Additionally, many of the same debts are dischargeable under Chapter 13 as are dischargeable in Chapter 7. In fact, Chapter 13 allows debtors to discharge several debts which can’t be eliminated by Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as certain debts related to divorce proceedings.
Philadelphia Credit Card Debt Attorneys Offering Free Bankruptcy Consultations
Filing for bankruptcy can be one of the best financial decisions you ever make. However, it’s important to have guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced attorney with a strong understanding of bankruptcy regulations and court rules. Your bankruptcy lawyer can handle your legal documentation, advise you on all aspects of your bankruptcy case, and make sure you comply with bankruptcy laws. For a free bankruptcy consultation with the credit card debt attorneys of Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, call our law firm today at (215) 995-2543.