Maine Chapter 7 Lawyer
If you face overwhelming debt and don’t foresee any change in your situation to allow you to recover financially, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can help you get a fresh start. The laws changed, making it more difficult to qualify to discharge debts permanently. You want an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to help you understand your rights and options.
At the office of Perry O’Brian, we bring more than 36 years of bankruptcy experience to people throughout northern Maine. Our objective is to simplify the process to minimize stress and anxiety. Because of our extensive experience and knowledge, we move you quickly through the process. You can put the past behind you and rebuild your life.
Our Bankruptcy Practice
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, you can permanently rid yourself of certain debts in exchange for the sale of nonexempt property. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are referred to as “no-asset” cases. This means debtors do not lose property by filing for bankruptcy. We let you know what property you could lose in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and what you can do to protect it.
Chapter 7 only allows you to discharge unsecured obligations such as medical bills, personal loans, or credit card debts. At the end of your bankruptcy case, you still owe certain debts, such as most taxes and student loans. We carefully review your debts and let you know which bills you cannot discharge.
With respect to secured debts such as home loans and car loans, you can reaffirm the debt or surrender the property to the creditor. In certain cases, you can redeem the property or pay the creditor in one lump sum the value of the property. However, to reaffirm home loans and car loans, you must establish that you can afford the monthly payments.
Under the 2005 revisions to the federal bankruptcy laws, you must now qualify to file under Chapter 7 by submitting to a “means test.” This requires you to demonstrate to the bankruptcy court that your income is below the state median income given your household size. We look at your gross income for the six-month time period before the month of filing from all sources to see if you qualify.
If your income is above the state median income for this period, we file out a long means test form to see if you still qualify for Chapter 7. Some above-median debtors with the right mix of deductions can still file for Chapter 7. In coming up with a means test, Congress intended to force some higher-income debtors into filing Chapter 13 bankruptcies and repaying some of their unsecured debts.
When you hire us to assist you with a bankruptcy petition, we walk you through the means test to determine eligibility for Chapter 7. If you qualify, we carefully explain what debts can and cannot be discharged. Also, we tell you what property you can keep, so you know what to expect before you file. Then, we prepare and submit all necessary documentation. We appear on your behalf at all meetings or hearings during the process.
Contact the Law Office of Perry O’Brian
For a private meeting with an experienced Bangor bankruptcy lawyer, contact us by e-mail. Call our office at 207-942-4697 or toll-free at 877-900-9857. We work with you to set up an installment payment plan, if necessary.