Frequently Asked Questions
The Automatic Stay temporarily stops debt collection efforts of most creditors. It stops creditor collection calls, collection letters, and lawsuits. It also stops wage garnishments. There is an Automatic Stay in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. The Automatic Stay goes into effect when the Bankruptcy Petition is filed.
The Bankruptcy Discharge eliminates your personal liability for a debt. So you are no longer responsible for paying the debt, and the creditor cannot try to collect the debt from you. Secured creditors, however, may still have a right to the property which serves as collateral for the debt.
A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy provides a Debtor the opportunity to catch up her house payments over a period of time.
A Bankruptcy can also stop a lender’s efforts to repossess your car. The car lender would have to get permission from the Bankruptcy Court to repossess your car after the has been filed.
A Bankruptcy Case is a public record. But local papers rarely list Bankruptcy Cases anymore. Your family and friends would have to access a particular website to discover you filed a case. So they likely will not know about the case unless you or a creditor tell them.
While the Bankruptcy Discharge prohibits your creditors from collecting on their debts, it does not prevent you from paying a debt after the Bankruptcy. For instance, you may want to repay a loan from a friend.
The Meeting of Creditors is a hearing at which the Trustee and your creditors get an opportunity to ask you questions about your assets and liabilities. This hearing is not before the Judge. The Meeting of Creditors occurs approximately a month after your case has been filed. The Meeting of Creditors often is a short hearing – less than 15 minutes. Creditors often do not attend the Meeting of Creditors. As a result, the Trustee often is the only party that asks you questions.
Employers cannot fire you because you filed Bankruptcy. Federal Law prohibits such action. Employers also cannot discriminate against you because of a Bankruptcy. Lastly, the government cannot discriminate against you because you filed bankruptcy when it is hiring.