Cedar City, St. George Utah Attorney

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St. George Area: 435-634-1000 Cedar City Area: 435-674-7600 Provo/Orem: 801-210-3007 Vernal: 435-714-6990

Bankruptcy FAQs

1-HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?

The answer to that question is "How long will it take you to provide me the necessary information and pay for the services?" But on average from your first meeting regarding your "Roadmap to a Fresh Start" to filing of the case is about 21 days if you have paid all of the money for fees within that time. This gives us time to ensure you have provided all of the information required under the law, we have pulled a credit report and prepared you for your Fresh Start.

Some clients are extremely motivated and organized. For those client the process is very quick. You might not be too organized and that is why we have simplified the process as much as possible in order to help you. You will be required to gather some documents and complete some basic paperwork, but think about the freedom from worry and the release of stress you will get from being rid of your debts. It is worth getting the documents and funds together quickly.

From the date your case if filed to the time it is closed, a Chapter 7 case averages between 4 to 6 months. Most of your participation is in the beginning in preparing the filing and the meeting with the trustee about 30 days after filing. Most of the remaining time is due to deadlines the court sets which must pass before the case is closed. But all of the heavy lifting by you is done at the beginning of the case. We continue to shepherd it through the system after that point and work to ensure you receive your discharge.

A Chapter 13 Plan can last from 3-5 years depending on what you need your plan to accomplish and how much money you have available each month to make it work. The faster the better, so you can complete your plan, get your discharge and start your new debt free life. But think about how long you have left on your car payment. If you have several years left why not make it more manageable by reducing the interest rate or extending the time. We can do that in Chapter 13 cases, but it is unavailable in a Chapter 7. Then if the car breaks down before it is paid off, we just convert your case to Chapter 7 and you can give the car back and go out an get a new one. In Chapter 7 you must reaffirm the car loan and pay it off even if it breaks down and is worth less than you owe.

ONLY an experienced attorney can assist you in determining what you should do.​ Click here to contact us for an appointment. Or call (435) 634-1000.

2-HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE BANKRUPTCY?

It is true there are costs. But place these costs into the context of your current situation. How much do you pay per month for each bill you are trying to put a dent in? Is it $50 per month? Is it $100 per month? How many of those do you have to pay each month? Three? Four or more? That adds up pretty quickly. What if you could end those payment struggles and humiliating phone calls each month? What if you could force the creditors to take the best you have instead of them beat you down and demand more, more and more. What if you could pay what you can afford and make the debt go away permanently? What would you be willing to pay?

Now....There are a few answers to this question because no one's situation is identical and you might benefit from one type of bankruptcy over another. For those individuals who may be best served by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy the attorney fees may be as low as $800.00 or as high as $7,000.00 (we have served both types). Only an experienced bankruptcy attorney can tell you what your specific circumstances require. BUT DO NOT FEAR!! MOST CASES ARE AROUND $800.00!

Fees for a Chapter 13 are generally set by the court. The total fees for an attorney working on your 3-5 year plan are as follows:

  • $3,000.00 in a case that is considered below median income with a monthly payment of $150 for thirty-six months or less;
  • $3,250.00 for all other below median income cases; and
  • $3,500.00 in an above median income case.

But we can get you started with as little as $500 down towards your Chapter 13 and make the harassment stop!

There are many factors that determine how much it will cost for your to file bankruptcy and ONLY an experienced attorney can assist you in determining what you should do. Click here to contact us for an appointment. Or call (435) 634-1000.

3-WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13?

The purpose of both types of bankruptcy is to get you a discharge of debt. A discharge is an order from the bankruptcy court granting you legal "forgiveness" of unpaid debts.

In a basic Chapter 7 case you generally:

  • Do not have much property and it is all protected by statute,
  • No tax debts,
  • No child support or alimony debts,
  • Are current on your house payments or are surrendering your home in the bankruptcy,
  • Current on your auto payment or can't "cramdown" the loan on the bank;

Pros of Chapter 7 include:

  • It is over quickly;
  • Cheaper than Chapter 13.

Cons of Chapter 7 include:

  • You have little control, the trustee appointed to your case makes all the decisions after you file,
  • You do not own anything any longer until the trustee abandons the estate,
  • No way to work out child support, alimony debts or tax debts in bankruptcy,
  • Cannot save a home from foreclosure,
  • Cannot restructure car loans to reduce interest, to keep a car you must pay it off even if it breaks down later.

In a Chapter 13 case you might:

  • Have property you wish to keep which is left unprotected by statute,
  • Run a small business,
  • Have unpaid mortgage payments you wish to bring current,
  • Have a second mortgage you wish to get rid of (this can ONLY be done in a Chapter 13 case see here);
  • Have tax debts which will not go away in bankruptcy;
  • Have unpaid child support or alimony;
  • Benefit from a "cramdown" on an automobile. (A "cramdown" occurs when you can force the lender on your auto loan to redo the loan and you only pay them what the auto is worth at a the time of filing AND at a reduced interest rate.)

Pros of Chapter 13 include:

  • You have a lot of control regarding creating the plan within the statutes;
  • You CAN work out child support, alimony debts and taxes with creditors;
  • You CAN save a home from foreclosure;
  • You CAN restructure car loans to reduce interest, possibly reduce the principle on the car, convert and give the car back to the bank if it breaks down later;
  • It is more realistic to your circumstances;
  • It will put you on a budget to be able to save money once your plan is complete.
  • Cons of Chapter 13 include:

    • Somewhat more expensive than Chapter 7.

    There are many factors that determine what type of bankruptcy is best and ONLY an experienced attorney can assist you in determining what you should do. Click here to contact us for an appointment. Or call (435) 634-1000.

    4-IS THERE LIFE AFTER BANKRUPTCY?

    Of course there is! The best way to think about bankruptcy is to see it as an opportunity to start over. But when you start over, you need to be vigilant about being financially responsible with your new financial life.

    We want to help you, and although we will become friends, we hope to not see you again in our office to file another bankruptcy case!! At the kids' soccer games, ok, but not in our office. We don't want you to need bankruptcy help on a regular basis.

    ​5-CAN I EVER QUALIFY FOR A LOAN TO BUY A HOME AGAIN?

    Of course, just like everyone else, if you can afford it.

    Generally, there is no limitation on your future ability to own or acquire land, homes or personal property (cars, furniture, etc.). In fact, most people with income who keep their noses clean after filing bankruptcy can qualify for a home loan approximately two years after discharge of their bankruptcy.

    6-WILL I LOSE ALL OF MY PROPERTY IN A BANKRUPTCY?

    No. In fact in a bankruptcy filed in St. George and Cedar City, Utah, you may keep most if not ALL of your property and go through a bankruptcy. Under Utah bankruptcy laws, the things below are just a few of the things you can keep. This list is not everything and only an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine what your rights regarding property will be in bankruptcy.

    • Equity in your home, which may even be a mobile home. This is called your "Homestead";
    • You are allowed to keep the following your washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, stove, microwave oven, sewing machine, carpets, family provisions for 12 months (food storage), all clothing (except furs and non-heirloom jewelry), all of your beds and bedding;
    • Family portraits and art created by family members;
    • a Burial plot;
    • Sofas, chairs and related furnishings;
    • Dining and kitchen tables and chairs;
    • Animals, books, and musical instruments;
    • Heirlooms or other items of particular sentimental value --usually wedding bands;
    • Tools of your trade/work, up to $3,500 (for each filer);
    • Equity in a vehicle up to $5,000 for married joint filers;

    There are many more items of property that you may keep and ONLY an experienced attorney can assist you in determining what is protected under state law. Click here to contact us for an appointment. Or call (435) 634-1000.

    ​7-HOW LONG WILL THE BANKRUPTCY APPEAR ON MY CREDIT REPORT?

    A bankruptcy may appear on a credit record for ten years. (Although if you file a Chapter 13 it may only appear for seven years after filing.)

    Only an attorney can help you understand your rights and limitations with your current creditors, and can give you bankruptcy advice on steps to take to re-establish your credit such as getting and using credit cards, applying for a new home mortgage, and financing a new car.

    ​8-WILL I NEED TO GIVE MY CREDITORS ANYTHING WHEN MY BANKRUPTCY IS DONE?

    In most cases, creditors whose claims are discharged in your bankruptcy will not be able to take property or earnings you acquire after the filing of bankruptcy. One potential affect after bankruptcy might be in connection with inheritances, property settlements, and life insurance proceeds, if you acquire any of these within six months after bankruptcy, they may become available for payments to creditors.

    9-WHAT DO I DO WHEN CREDITORS CALL?

    Please make sure to always answer your phone when it rings, and instruct any family members to do the same. Save all voice mail and answering machine messages from debt collectors. Debt collectors are limited by what they are allowed to say to you when they call.

    If a debt collector breaks the law then you may be able to recovery money from the collector even if you owe the debt.