I heard the bankruptcy laws have change. Can I still file? 

Yes, you can still file! Although the effect of the enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) was expected to be much more far reaching, we have found that the majority of individuals are still eligible to file bankruptcy Chapters 7 and 13.




Do I have to take a class or go through counseling in order to file?

Yes, you must take a credit counseling course prior to filing your bankruptcy by an agency approved by the United States Trustee. In order to receive a discharge, you must take a second course in financial management offered by an approved agency. Fortunately, most agencies offer these courses via internet and telephone.


What type of information will I need in order to file? 

Go to Links to see our Filing Checklist and Intake Forms. Bring the completed forms and provide all available checklist items to the attorney at your free in-office consultation.


What do I do if I don’t have all or any of my bills?

As a client with our office, you will be provided with a credit report at no charge. However, keep in mind that all creditors do not report the bureaus. Therefore, it is your responsibility to be certain that all debts are provided to your attorney. So write down a list of creditors so that they may be cross referenced with your credit report. Keep in mind that you may still be held responsible for any omitted creditors. 


What is a debtor?

An individual or entity who files for bankruptcy relief.


What is a discharge?

This is the term used to describe the completion of your bankruptcy and indicates the final status of the debt that you have been advised by your attorney would be eliminated by your bankruptcy filing.


What’s a dismissal?

Dismissal is when your bankruptcy case is thrown out by the court for non-compliance with some aspect of the case. You will be back where you started before you filed, so it is imperative to be diligent about following all instructions given by your attorney and trustee.  


What is an automatic stay?

This is the statutory vehicle that prohibits your creditors from further collection activities such as foreclosure, repossession, garnishment, parking boot, judgments and creditor harassment.


I filed a previous bankruptcy that was DISCHARGED in the last 8 years. 
Can I file again?

The enactment of the new law has brought about some changes in bankruptcy for those who wish to file again. If you have filed a Chapter 7 and received a discharge, you are ineligible to file another for 8 years. If you have filed a Chapter 13 and received a discharge, you are ineligible to receive another Chapter 13 discharge for 2 years. If you have filed a Chapter 7 and was discharged, you cannot receive a Chapter 13 discharge for 4 years. 


I filed Chapter 13 and the case was DISMISSED in the last year, can I file again?

As long as you have not been barred by the court, you may file again. However, keep in mind that your automatic stay may terminate in 30 days if this is a second filing within that year. Or if this is the third or more in the year prior, you will have no automatic stay. If there’s a showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since those previous filings, the court may impose the stay or extend it for the remainder of your case.  


I earn a pretty nice salary. Can a high annual income disqualify you from filing bankruptcy? 

Not necessarily. For the purposes of bankruptcy filings, the State of Illinois has median income guidelines based on the number of persons in your household. If your household income exceeds that amount, you may be prevented from filing Chapter 7. Go to Links to view the median income for Illinois households. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may still be an available option regardless of whether your income exceeds the median income amount.


How long does the bankruptcy remain on my credit?

Chapter 7 remains for ten years, while Chapter 13 remains for seven years from the date of filing. 


After receiving a bankruptcy discharge, will I be able to buy a house 
or car in the future?

Yes, provided you have taken the necessary steps to rebuild your credit by making all payments timely, establishing a good payment history within a matter of a few years. If no outstanding credit obligations remain after your discharge, it’s a good idea to obtain a secured credit card in order to rebuild. It’s also recommended that you check your credit for reporting errors every 6 – 12 months. See Links to order your free annual credit reports.  


For all other questions,
complete the FREE EVALUATION for additional information. 


Attorney at Law
Please be reminded that the information contained on this site is only an overview. Each individual's situation is unique. Our website has been designed to provide you with a user-friendly overview of the bankruptcy process and how we may be able to assist you. Be advised that the information herein does not constitute legal advice. Our attorneys are here to provide you with a free, confidential evaluation to review and analyze your situation to determine which options may be right for you.
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Damita G. Buffington
Attorney at Law
773-298-0280
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