How Do I Stop Debt Collector Harassment?

The Automatic Stay

Once you file a bankruptcy petition, there is a judicial process that takes effect called an “automatic stay.”  You can think of this several ways.  It is like the judge saying to the creditors, “Stay!”  You can also think of it in terms of things learned from television.  When the murderer is waiting for execution, he is waiting for a “stay of execution” from the governor.  Stay is just fancy legal for stop.  An “automatic stay” means the creditors have to stop right away when you file bankruptcy.

Creditor Harassment Before Filing Bankruptcy

As described above, the automatic stay takes effect when the bankruptcy is filed.  If creditors are harassing you before filing, there are a few things you can do.  You can get your documents together and file the bankruptcy quickly.  That will invoke help from the court. will arrange to have the creditor calls taken by our phone room anytime after retaining our office.  That way, if a creditor calls you, you just tell them that you have hired a lawyer and he said not to talk to them.  Give them our number, and we will talk to the creditors until you file.

Can I File Bankruptcy and Keep My Property?

Keep Your Home and Car and Most Everything Else in Bankruptcy

Can I File Bankruptcy and Keep My Property?

The short answer is, probably.  In both Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, debtors get to protect certain property from the court.  This property is referred to as exemptions.  It is exempt from the bankruptcy process.  The vast majority of property that most debtors have is covered by and exemption and are exempt from the bankruptcy.  If property is exempt, the debtor keeps it.

Can I Keep My Home and Car in Bankruptcy

In the case of a home or a car, the exemptions cover a certain amount of equity in the home or car.  Equity is the amount of money that would be left if you sold the car or home and paid the lien or mortgage.  For example, if you have a car that is worth $10,000 and there is $8000 owed on the car, there is $2000 in equity.  The same is true for a home.  If the home is worth $150,000 and there is $100,000 owed, there is $50,000 equity in the home.  In Prescott, Arizona, the exemptions cover up to $6000 in car equity and $150,000 in home equity.  Both of the assets above would be covered by exemptions and exempt from the bankruptcy process.  In either chapter, the debtor would be able to keep his home and car.

Can I Keep Other Property in Bankruptcy

There are similar exemptions that cover personal property as well.  Household goods, retirement funds, furniture, clothing, appliances, and everything you need to carry on a normal life are all covered by exemptions.



Who Can File Bankruptcy

Can Anyone File Bankruptcy?

Almost anyone can file for bankruptcy protection.  There are a few considerations, but they do not prohibit many bankruptcy filings.  There are a few considerations.  You must have a permanent residence or domicile in a particular state or jurisdiction.  This will determine where you file.  You are not limited by the number of times you can file bankruptcy, but you are relegated to the amount of time in between your filings.  You do not have to achieve a certain level of debt or even be bankruptcy to file bankruptcy.  There are many reasons to file that do not involve debt levels.  You will have to take a credit counseling course as described by the court.  You do not have to be a United States citizen.

There are different requirements for receiving a discharge of debt in bankruptcy.  There are many reasons to file bankruptcy that do not involve a discharge.  They include control of aggressive creditors.  Filing a chapter 13 will delay or limit payments of certain debt obligations like student loans.

Eligibility to file does not automatically mean you can file any chapter you like.  If you qualify to file a Chapter 13, that does not mean you will qualify to file a Chapter 7.

There are many different reasons to file bankruptcy and considerations with filing.  For a more complete picture, talk to a Prescott bankruptcy attorney.