When will bankruptcy provide me relief and protection from my creditors?

Upon filing of your bankruptcy case, your creditors will receive an official notice form the Colorado Bankruptcy Court informing them of the case filing and their obligations under the law. Creditors will be prohibited form contacting you in any way and actions to the contrary would be sanctioned by the Court. In some cases, creditors may take a while to process the bankruptcy notice which could contribute to collection efforts even after a bankruptcy is filed. If so, please disclose the bankruptcy filing and provide the creditor who is contacting you with your case number. At that point, the creditor will discontinue all communication.

What is the automatic stay?

The automatic stay takes effect as soon as a bankruptcy case is filed. The automatic stay prohibits or stays creditors from any further collection actions, including all written and verbal communication regarding debts owed to them. The automatic stay expires at the time the Court issues the final discharge order. Given that creditors are prohibited from communication, it is often necessary to create an exception to the automatic stay whenever you seeks to contact a creditor for payment processing on an auto or mortgage loan. An exception to the automatic stay may be created only with the written permission of the bankruptcy attorney on the case.

Can a creditor get around the automatic stay?

In cases where the loan is secured by a tangible collateral like a home or a vehicle, the creditor could seek relief from the stay should you fail to pay the loan payments. In those cases, the Court will grant relief from the automatic stay and allow the creditor to repossess or foreclose on the collateral.

What is a discharge?

The bankruptcy discharge is a court order stating that all debts eligible for discharge under the law have been discharged in the bankruptcy. The discharge order does not name which creditors have been discharged and which have not. Thus, it may be necessary to discuss the effect of discharge on your debts with your bankruptcy attorney. Certain unsecured debts, including student loans, taxes in the three years prior, domestic support obligations, and/or court ordered restitution, cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Will I lose my home and car?

If you desire to retain your home or vehicle(s), you have the right to do so in bankruptcy. However, you must continue to make timely payments on those obligations or the home and vehicle(s) will be lost to repossession or foreclosure. In cases where there are no liens against the home and vehicle, the market value of those may not exceed the allowable exemptions. Thus, it is crucial to discuss the limits set for the unencumbered values of homes and vehicles in bankruptcy.

What does “reaffirm a debt” mean?

Reaffirming a debt means that you agree to be liable for a debt that could be discharged in your bankruptcy case. You may sign a reaffirmation agreement and the agreement will be filed with the Bankruptcy Court. If you break the agreement in the future you will still be responsible for the outstanding debt.

Will I lose my 401(K) or other retirement accounts?

Most retirement accounts are safe-guarded from liquidation in bankruptcy if they are ERISA qualified i.e. IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b) and PERA. Retirement accounts that operate as money market accounts or brokerage accounts are not exempt in bankruptcy. Stocks, bonds, debentures, self-settled trusts, and whole-life insurance policies are subject to liquidation in bankruptcy. Thus, it is important to discuss with your attorney any and all ownership of financial instruments whether they pertain to your retirement or not.

Can I include my utility bills in my bankruptcy case?

Yes, but you may have to pay a security deposit for any future payments. All utility bills prior to filing bankruptcy will be eliminated. However, you will have to pay all utility bills from the date of filing forward. Cable television is an exception, because it is not considered a utility.

Will bankruptcy eliminate the unpaid child support or spousal maintenance?

No, this priority debt is not dischargeable.

Will filing bankruptcy allow for the reinstatement of my driver’s license?

The answer is often yes. It could depend on why your license was suspended.
If you were in an auto accident or were suspended for driving without insurance, then the bankruptcy may permit the reinstatement of your driver’s license provided that any other requirement of the DMV is also satisfied.

Will a creditor try to collect the debt from the co-debtor if I file for bankruptcy?

It is possible and completely up to the creditor. The creditor has a legal right to do so, but may choose not to if they determine that collecting the debt is not possible.

Will my employer find out about the bankruptcy?

If your wages are being garnished and you want that to stop, your employer must be notified. Otherwise, it is not necessary to inform your employer.

Do I have to appear in Court?

Normally, no. However, you do need to appear at a 341 meeting of creditors. At this meeting, you will answer questions under oath from the bankruptcy trustee. Creditors have the opportunity to appear at this meeting but rarely do.

When does the bankruptcy get removed from my credit report?

Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to 10 years.

Will I be able to get credit in the future?

Yes. Creditors will see you as a fairly minor credit risk, because they know you cannot file again for another eight years. After three years, you may be able to get a mortgage for a fairly low rate. Most auto lenders like to wait until you have received your discharge before they will give you a car loan.

Contact Us for Answers to More Questions

Do you have questions that are not answered by these bankruptcy FAQs? Every case is different, so it is important to discuss your situation with a Colorado lawyer before making a decision. Contact us to discuss your options with the attorneys at Colorado Law Group.




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