Answers to Your Most Pressing Bankruptcy Questions – Rosenzweig Law Office serving the Twins Cities area 2017-10-12T19:37:10+00:00

Answers to Your Most Pressing Bankruptcy Questions
– Rosenzweig Law Office serving the Twins Cities area

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Category

ANSWER: Some people who file for Chapter 7 relief may be able to stay in the homes that they live in when they file their bankruptcy petitions. Generally, if you do not have equity in your home that is above and beyond the bankruptcy exemption and you are up to date on your mortgage payments, then you may be able to stay in the home that you have been living in even if you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If staying in your current home is important to you, then your Dakota County bankruptcy lawyers will fight hard for your right to continue to live at your current address. This is something that you and your Dakota County bankruptcy attorney will talk about before you file for bankruptcy.

If staying in your current home is not a top priority for you or if it is unlikely given your unique circumstances, then your Dakota County Chapter 7 lawyer will talk to you about your alternatives and the likelihood of getting a new mortgage or lease.

Do not let concerns about your housing arrangements prevent you from getting bankruptcy advice. It is only with comprehensive knowledge about the bankruptcy process that you can make an informed decision about your future.

For more information, please call our Dakota County bankruptcy law firm today at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203. We also invite you to download a FREE copy of our book, What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota, for more information.

ANSWER: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is, by definition, impartial. While your bankruptcy trustee should not favor your creditors, nor should your bankruptcy trustee favor you or provide you with legal advice.

A Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, however, has a different role in your bankruptcy case. That role begins long before a bankruptcy trustee has been assigned to your case. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will begin protecting you before a Chapter 7 case is even filed by explaining your different legal options to you and helping you decide how best to protect your financial future. In some cases, that may be by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, but sometimes other options may be better suited to your needs.

Once a case has been filed, your Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer and your bankruptcy trustee will continue to have different roles. The bankruptcy trustee will impartially administer your case, while your bankruptcy attorney will make sure that all of your rights are protected.

Chapter 7 may be your best financial option, but it is not one that should be entered into lightly or without an experienced lawyer on your side. For more information about bankruptcy in Minnesota, please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota. We also encourage you to set up a FREE meeting with our Minneapolis bankruptcy law firm by calling MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203.

ANSWER: If you don’t have a high income and qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, then there may be advantages to filing for Chapter 7 instead of hiring a debt settlement company to help you get out of debt.

Specifically, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be:

  • Safer. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process is regulated by federal law. The debt settlement process is not regulated by law. Accordingly, you know what you are getting into when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and an experienced lawyer can help you avoid any surprises.
  • Less Expensive. Generally, filing for Chapter 7 is less expensive than going through a debt settlement. A debt settlement company may charge high fees.
  • Faster. Typically, a Chapter 7 proceeding can be completed in just a few months as opposed to a debt settlement, which can take much longer.

If you are interested in learning more about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process then it is important to contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible for a FREE consultation about your rights. Your lawyer will explain the Chapter 7 process to you and make sure that you understand your legal rights.

You can reach an experienced Minneapolis bankruptcy attorney today by calling MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203 or contacting us via this website. We also encourage you to learn more about the benefits of bankruptcy and the bankruptcy process in our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Many people who are in debt want to handle their debt reduction on their own. They may be embarrassed to share their financial situation with someone else or believe that they have some responsibility to handle the situation on their own.

However, people who handle debt reduction on their own do so at their own risk. They face the risks of working with unethical people who seek to take advantage of them and of failing to make the best financial deals that they can to reduce their debt.

This risk may be reduced by working with an experienced Minneapolis debt reduction attorney. The Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyers at the Rosenzweig Law Office always look at the client as a person and not as a balance sheet. We understand how people get into overwhelming financial situations, and we never judge them. Instead, we fight hard to get them the debt relief they so badly need to move forward with their lives. We have the experience and skills necessary to avoid debt reduction tricks and traps, negotiate with creditors, and advise debtors about all of their options.

To learn more about the benefits of working with an experienced Minneapolis debt lawyer we encourage you to call us today at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203. We also invite you to learn more about the option of bankruptcy in our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota. Let us help through this difficult time.

ANSWER: Whether you are facing a wage garnishment or a bank levy, you are dealing with a creditor who is trying to collect the money that you may owe directly and without you mailing a check. However, where that money comes from is different depending on whether you have been notified of a wage garnishment or a bank levy.

If you are notified of a wage garnishment, then your creditor will be taking a certain amount of money out of each of your future paychecks until the debt is satisfied. A Minnesota Notice of Bank Levy, however, does not indicate that money will be taken from your paychecks, but rather that the money will be taken out of your existing bank accounts.

Of course, there are limits on both wage garnishments and bank levies. Some of those limits and exemptions should be included in the notice that you receive. You may also have the ability to stop a wage garnishment or bank levy by filing bankruptcy or reaching an agreement with the creditor seeking to garnish your wages or levy your bank accounts.

In order to protect your rights, contact an experienced Minneapolis bank levy lawyer who can explain all of your options and help you make important decisions. For more information and to schedule a FREE consultation with a Minneapolis bank levy attorney, please contact us via this website or at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203.

ANSWER: A cosigner is someone who promises to pay a debtor’s debt if the debtor does not pay it. Common examples of cosigners are parents cosigning a college student’s apartment lease and relatives cosigning a loan if the debtor has poor credit. The term “cosigner” refers to the fact that the cosigner signs the contract along with the debtor, and so the cosigner is obligated to pay any unpaid balance of the obligation.

ANSWER: No. If the Chapter 7 discharge or Chapter 13 repayment plan covers all of the debt, there will be no debt left for the cosigner to pay, and so the discharge or fulfillment of the repayment plan releases the cosigner from any obligation on that debt. If the bankruptcy results in only part of the debt being paid, there will be some debt left for the cosigner to pay, and so the creditor may go after the cosigner for the remainder of the debt.

ANSWER: Generally, you may file for Chapter 7 once every eight years. If you previously filed for Chapter 13 and received a discharge by doing so, you must wait six years before filing to obtain a discharge in Chapter 7. If your case is dismissed, you will often have to wait 180 days before re-filing.

ANSWER: Medical bankruptcy means a personal bankruptcy filed because the debtor is unable to cover his or her medical bills. Medical bankruptcy is thus a reason to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13; it is not a third type of bankruptcy. Medical bankruptcies often happen to uninsured people and their families but they can also strike the insured. For example, many insurance plans only pay a certain percentage of medical bills and/or have a cap on the total amount paid per year. If the bills are high, such as for an extended hospitalization, the uncovered portion of the bill, i.e. the amount owed by the debtor, can be too much to afford.

ANSWER: Even though bankruptcy law is a Federal matter, the law allows states to make up their own lists of exempt property. Many states have done so. Some require debtors to use the state list, while others allow the debtor to choose either the state list or the Federal list (these state are called “opt-in states” because they allow the debtor to opt in to using the Federal list).

ANSWER: You may use the Federal exemption list in MN if you are domiciled in MN (there are many domicile rules but generally speaking, domicile refers to where you were living between 2.5 and 2 years before filing), you lived in another “opt-in” state between 2.5 and 2 years before filing, or between 2.5 and 2 years before filing you lived in a state that does not allow its exemptions to be used outside of that state.

ANSWER: You must choose either the Federal or state list and then use only that list; you may not use part of one list and part of the other. Because the state and Federal lists differ, one will end up protecting more of your assets. For example, Minnesota’s homestead exemption is bigger than the Federal homestead exemption, and so Minnesotans with large equities in their homes are often better off using the state list. On the other hand, the Federal list has a catch-all provision whereas the MN list does not, and so debtors with a lot of miscellaneous property or low home equity values may benefit from using the Federal list.

ANSWER: The Federal list focuses on big-ticket items, such as the debtor’s house and furnishings, life insurance policies, retirement benefits, car, jewelry, business tools and payments from personal injury lawsuits. There is also a catch-all, or miscellaneous, category. Exempt items are not 100% exempt; rather, the Federal rules set a dollar maximum for most categories. These maximums are reviewed and adjusted every other year.

ANSWER: MN’s list is similar to the Federal list but it also has smaller items, such as the debtor’s family bible, musical instruments, watch, utensils and food. Proceeds originating from a fraternal benefit association, such as a police or fire department association, are also on the list. These items are not 100% exempt; rather, the rules set a dollar maximum for some categories.

ANSWER: Usually. Most of the enumerated monetary limits are per person, not per couple. Thus, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is called doubling. However, there are some exceptions, the most notable of which is the homestead exemption, which may not be doubled.

ANSWER: Adequate protection is a back-up source of security for secured creditors whose collateral is being spent by the debtor. This issue is particularly relevant when the collateral has lost value over time. If debtors were allowed to dispose of collateral without compensating their creditors, that action would functionally erase the secured nature of the debt. Adequate protection may take the form of an upfront payment, periodic payments or a substitute item of collateral.

ANSWER: Common Chapter 11 motions fall into two categories: those made by the debtor or trustee, and those made by a creditor. Common debtor- or trustee-initiated motions include: permission to spend cash collateral and permission to obtain a new loan by granting either superpriority or secured status to a lender. Common creditor-initiated motions include: relief from the automatic stay, conversion of the Chapter 11 case into a Chapter 7 case and dismissal of the case. Motions concerning contracts in progress (executory contracts and unexpired leases) are also quite common.

ANSWER: Your question indicates that you know you need help. That is important. If you are behind on credit card payments, then you are doing the right thing by being proactive and trying to deal with the problem before your wages are garnished.

There are several ways in which credit card debt may be handled. For example, you may be able to file bankruptcy and avoid a wage garnishment. Alternatively, you may be able to work out an agreement with the credit card company that prevents both bankruptcy and wage garnishment.

In order to understand your rights and to make the decisions that are best for you and your family, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer. The lawyers at Rosenzweig Law Office have experience with both wage garnishment and bankruptcy. You can speak with a St. Paul wage garnishment lawyer and a St. Paul bankruptcy attorney at the same time and get advice on both options.

What you decide to do will depend on your personal preferences, your future goals, the amount that you owe, your income, and your assets. Together you and your St. Paul wage garnishment attorney will decide how best to protect your future.

For more information, please contact the experienced Minneapolis St. Paul debt lawyers of the Rosenzweig Law Office at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203. We also invite you to read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Community debt refers to debt owed jointly by two spouses or ex-spouses. Divorce effectively releases the debtor from his or her half of the community debt but the debt itself is not erased from the perspective of the creditor. The result of the debtor but not the debt being forgiven is that the debtor’s half of the debt burden gets transferred to the ex-spouse, who then becomes liable for the full amount of the debt. If you are in the process of obtaining a divorce when you or your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy, it is best to consult both a bankruptcy attorney and a family lawyer.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: If you have secured car debt that is less than three years old, you must either pay off the full amount of the loan or lose your car. You must also make lease payments if you are leasing a car.  Leased cars may not be sold in the liquidation process because you have no equity (ownership rights) in a leased vehicle. If, on the other hand, you own your car outright, i.e. do not owe money on it, you may end up losing the vehicle.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: The outcome regarding credit cards in a chapter 7 case depends on the facts and circumstances of each debtor and credit card company. For example, some credit card companies are more willing than others to negotiate with debtors or to keep bankrupt debtors as customers. Other factors include the size of the credit card debt and the debtor’s forecasted ability to pay off debt.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Removing liens via personal bankruptcy is a complicated and nuanced process that is best considered under the advisement of an attorney. Certain liens may be removed via bankruptcy but even then, statutory conditions must be met. In order to petition the court to remove a lien, your attorney will file a special motion. If the court grants the request, a court order will be issued to remove the lien.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Federal income tax debt may be discharged, or forgiven, but the lien itself will not be removed. Tax debt may be discharged only if the tax return was due at least three years prior to bankruptcy and was actually filed no less than two years prior to bankruptcy, the return was not fraudulently prepared, the taxpayer did not try to evade paying taxes and the taxes were assessed at least eight months prior to bankruptcy. Because the lien survives bankruptcy up to the amount of the debtor’s equity in the property subject to the lien, the IRS will be able to use its lien rights to collect on the unpaid debt after the bankruptcy process is over.

To find out more information about bankruptcy in Minnesota, please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know Before You File for Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment to speak with us. You can reach us by using our online form. We can also be reached by phone at (952) 920-1001 or toll free at (480) 207-2203. Our attorneys can help you to decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and, if so, which type makes the most sense for your particular circumstances. Different types of bankruptcy have different eligibility requirements, and so it is very important that you consult with an attorney prior to planning any bankruptcy-related action.

ANSWER: These requirements are a lot more lax than you might expect. If you own property in the United States, you may file for bankruptcy even if you are not a citizen and do not have a Social Security or Tax ID number. If you do not own property in the U.S., you may file for bankruptcy if you have a Social Security ID or Tax ID, even if you are not an American citizen.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Bankruptcy filings may be amended until a certain date (check with your local court to find out how far in advance of discharge the amendments must be filed). If you file the amendment in time, a creditor that you originally forgot to include on your schedules will be added. However, this process is more arduous than is including the creditor on the original filings so the best option is to be very careful when filing your initial schedules. If you purposefully omit a creditor, you will be guilty of perjury. If you unintentionally omit a creditor because you were honestly not aware of that creditor, that debt may be discharged.

To find out more information about bankruptcy in Minnesota, please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Yes. Just as private debt consolidation firms lack the legal authority to limit the actions of creditors, financial counselors do not have the power to prohibit a debtor from filing for bankruptcy.

ANSWER: Generally speaking, a debtor who has income and who wishes to protect his or her property from creditors should file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy rather than for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 uses the debtor’s income to pay back creditors over a period of three to five years, while Chapter 7 liquidates the debtor’s assets and distributes the proceeds amongst the creditors. However, if a Chapter 13 debtor does not have enough income to pay back the amount of debt that the court deems necessary, the court may use some of the debtor’s nonexempt property to pay creditors.

ANSWER: Equity security holders are owners of equity security interests. An equity security is a legal instrument that grants its holder ownership rights in the issuer (in the case of bankruptcy, the debtor is the issuer). Common types of equity securities include shares in a business (e.g., interests in a limited partnership or shares in a corporation) and rights to buy or sell such shares. Because equity security holders have ownership interests in the debtor’s business, they have the right to vote on the debtor’s reorganization plan. In lieu of a proof of claim, an equity security holder typically files a proof of interest.

ANSWER: A proof of interest is similar to a proof of claim, i.e. proof that the filer is a creditor of the debtor. As such, a proof of interest is generally subject to the same rules as a proof of claim is. There is no need for an equity security holder to file a proof of interest if the interest is properly characterized on the debtor’s schedules and is certain and for a set amount (i.e., non-contingent and liquidated). If a security interest does not fulfill the three requirements outlined above, the holder of the security interest must file a proof of interest, which will trump the debtor’s characterization of that interest.

ANSWER: Avoiding powers are powers of a Chapter 11 debtor or trustee to avoid, or undo, transactions within certain time periods before the filing of the bankruptcy case. By canceling, or “disgorging,” the transfer, the debtor returns the assets otherwise earmarked for that creditor to the general estate to be divided among the various creditors. The purpose of avoiding powers is to prevent a situation in which one creditor gets an unfairly large share of the bankruptcy estate as compared to other creditors.

ANSWER: Generally, a debtor or trustee can avoid transfers made in the ninety days before the filing of the bankruptcy case. However, this time period extends back to one year before the case for transfers made to “insiders” (family members and business partners or officers of the debtor). Insiders generally share money with the debtor, either by familial or business relationships. Therefore, a large payment to an insider could end up back in the debtor’s hands and thereby function as an evasion of fair bankruptcy distribution procedures.

ANSWER: Cash collateral is cash, anything equivalent to cash (e.g., deposit accounts and negotiable instruments) and ownership interests (e.g., securities and documents of title) that are owned or controlled by both the debtor and another party. Cash collateral also includes amounts stemming from property rental (e.g., rent, lodging fees). Cash collateral may not be commingled with the debtor’s other assets and may be spent only with the court’s permission. Secured creditors sometimes request that the court deny said permission.

ANSWER: Because a lender uses collateral to secure its interest in the debtor’s loan, the lender has an interest in protecting the jointly owned asset and is therefore a creditor. For example, if the debtor were to sell a company car, the holder of the car loan could lose money because the collateral for the loan is no longer part of the debtor’s estate. As a result, secured creditors are entitled to receive “adequate protection” if a debtor spends their collateral.

ANSWER: Some of the most common contributing factors to personal bankruptcy are: credit card debt, significant medical bills and other unexpected large debts, loss of employment and marital problems. The last item on the list may seem surprising but marital problems can lead a couple to go from sharing a residence to having two separate residences. The second rental or mortgage bill is a significant additional expense.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: In Minnesota, you have the right to be represented by a bankruptcy lawyer.  Debtors who are considering filing for Chapter 7 relief can often benefit from the knowledge and experience of a bankruptcy attorney.

A Minneapolis bankruptcy attorney will, for example, fight hard for your fair and equitable bankruptcy discharge and try to prevent a Chapter 7 bankruptcy dismissal. In bankruptcy, a dismissal occurs when a case is ended by the bankruptcy court prior to a discharge. When a case is dismissed, the debtor does not have the advantages of bankruptcy protection. In other words, creditors may still have claims against the debtor.

When a case is discharged rather than dismissed, however, the creditors that were parties to the bankruptcy no longer have rights to pursue their claims against the debtor. Their claims are considered to be legally satisfied. Thus, a Minnesota bankruptcy discharge can help a debtor move on with his or her life with certainty and with options that may not be present if the case is dismissed.

There is no requirement that you hire a bankruptcy lawyer. Minneapolis debtors have the choice of whether or not to hire an attorney. However, it is important to know that an attorney can help you through the sometimes complicated and complex bankruptcy requirements and work hard to secure your future.

To find out more about filing bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: 

Yes, a child support debt is treated differently from other types of debt when it comes to garnishing wages in Minnesota. For example, worker’s compensation benefits and unemployment insurance payments may be garnished to satisfy unpaid child support obligations, but may not be garnished to satisfy credit card debt. Veteran’s benefits, social security benefits, and other types of income that are not subject to garnishment by commercial creditors may also be used to satisfy child support payments.

Additionally, a greater percentage of a person’s wages may be used to satisfy child support debts than credit card and other consumer debts.

Of course, you want your children to be taken care of, and you are doing everything you can to pay child support and support your own household. Wage garnishment in Minnesota may not be the answer for you or for your children.

Instead, a Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyer can discuss your legal and financial options with you and help you make the decisions that are in the best interest of your family. A bankruptcy, for example, could help you satisfy other debts and have enough money to pay your child support obligations. Other options may also exist that reduce stress and help your family.

For more information about your options, please contact an experienced Minnesota wage garnishment lawyer by filling out our online contact form or calling (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 for a free consultation.

ANSWER: It is not too late to contact a Minnesota wage garnishment attorney even if your creditors have already garnished your wages. While you might have been able to prevent the wage garnishment or lower the amount that is deducted from your pay had you contacted a lawyer when you first received notice of a garnishment, our Minnesota debt relief lawyers will not judge you for delaying the call and will work hard to get you the relief that you deserve.

Wage garnishment in Minnesota must be conducted according to state law. That means that, among other things:

  • You must be provided with notice of the garnishment.
  • Some of your income may be exempt from garnishment.
  • The total amount that may be taken may be limited.
  • The creditor seeking to garnish your wages must have the legal right to do so.

Your lawyer will look into the terms of your wage garnishment and the rights of the creditor who garnished your wages. If alternatives exist, then your Minnesota debt relief attorney will review those alternatives with you and work hard to limit any garnishment on your wages so you can get the relief you deserve.

For more information, we invite you to contact an experienced Minnesota wage garnishment lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 to schedule a FREE consultation. Together, we can work toward securing your financial future.

ANSWER: Neither federal bankruptcy law nor Minnesota bankruptcy law requires a spouse to file for bankruptcy just because the other spouse files for bankruptcy. That said, it may be in the best interest of your family for only one spouse to file for bankruptcy, or it may be better for you and your spouse to file a joint bankruptcy petition.

An experienced Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyer can explain the pros and cons of each possibility to you and help you make the decisions that are right for you. Thus, it is important that you contact a bankruptcy attorney. Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyers at the Rosenzweig Law Office can help you through this difficult time and help you and your spouse make the decisions that are best for you.

Minneapolis bankruptcies are the same as bankruptcies throughout the state of Minnesota, but may be different from bankruptcies in other states. While bankruptcy is a federal court matter, other states may be community property states or have different exemption laws. Thus, it is important to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, Minneapolis, MN, if you are considering bankruptcy in this state.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: The 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act changed bankruptcy law. Among the changes is the requirement that, with few exceptions, individual debtors seeking Chapter 7 relief get pre-bankruptcy counseling and complete a debtor education course.

Pre-bankruptcy counseling and a debtor education course are not the same thing. As the name implies, pre-bankruptcy counseling must occur before bankruptcy is filed. Specifically, it must occur within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy, and it must be completed by an organization, business or individual that is approved by the government. Pre-bankruptcy counseling is typically about 1-1.5 hours and includes topics such as bankruptcy alternatives and the development of a new budget based on your unique financial situation.

The debtor education course is different. The debtor education course typically lasts a couple of hours and occurs after you have filed for bankruptcy protection. Like pre-bankruptcy counseling, it must be completed with an approved provider. The course generally covers proper use of credit, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Despite these differences, both debtor education courses and pre-bankruptcy counseling are required in Minnesota. An experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will make sure that you have the proper counseling and courses so that your Minnesota Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can be completed as expected.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at
(952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Your employer is correct in that you should contact a Minneapolis-St. Paul wage garnishment attorney as soon as possible. Likewise, if your employer has been notified of a legal wage garnishment, then he or she is required to comply with it. However, even if your employer cannot prevent the wage garnishment, there may be steps that you and your Minneapolis wage garnishment lawyer can take to protect your rights.

Your lawyer may, for example, be able to negotiate with your creditor and advise you of your different legal options including, but not limited to, bankruptcy. The specific advice that you receive will depend on your financial situation and future goals.

It can be easy to be angry at an employer for withholding your pay from you. However, it is important to remember that it is likely not your employer’s fault and that your frustration may be relieved by contacting a Minneapolis wage garnishment attorney who can help you fight the creditor who is attempting to take your wages before you receive them.

For more information about wage garnishments in Minnesota and what to do about them, we encourage you to contact an experienced Minneapolis-St. Paul wage garnishment lawyer via our online contact form or at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203.

ANSWER: Minnesota bankruptcy courts require exact paperwork before your case can be accepted by the court. In order to get bankruptcy relief and make sure you understand the terms of your bankruptcy case and any alternatives available to you, it is important to consult with a Minneapolis bankruptcy attorney before filing your case.

In general, the courts require you to file:

  • Petitions, schedules and statements. These are often numerous.
  • Certificate of credit counseling.
  • Payment advices cover sheet and your income record.
  • Creditor matrix.
  • Signature declaration form.
  • Statement of social security number (if you are filing without a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer)
  • Notice of responsibilities of chapter 7 debtors and their attorneys (if you are filing with a Minnesota bankruptcy attorney)
  • Filing fee or waiver.

The information you include in your filing may have a significant impact on your case. For that reason, you might wish to consult with an experienced St. Paul bankruptcy lawyer before you begin formal bankruptcy proceedings. Your lawyer can not only help you file your petition but can also discuss alternative debt relief options with you and help you through this difficult time.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203 and please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Many people notice that they get some relief very quickly after contacting a Minneapolis bankruptcy attorney.

Relief comes in different forms. From the time of your first meeting with an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer, you may have a sense of relief knowing that you have received professional advice about how to manage your debt and plan for your future. If you qualify for bankruptcy, then you will experience additional relief when your bankruptcy petition is filed. Once the petition is filed, your creditors can no longer contact you directly and pressure you to make payments.

Final relief from your debts may come when your bankruptcy is discharged. Typically, a Chapter 7 discharge may come as soon as your non-exempt property is sold or distributed to satisfy your debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may take longer as a discharge does not occur until the terms of the 3- to 5-year repayment plan have been satisfied. Once your bankruptcy is discharged, then the creditors who were parties to the bankruptcy have had their claims legally satisfied and generally have no further claims against you.

To find out more about how to get relief from overwhelming debt, please contact an experienced Minneapolis bankruptcy lawyer today at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203. You can also learn more about the bankruptcy process and how you may benefit from it by reading our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: Many Minnesota homeowners are understandably concerned about what will happen to their homes if they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. They don’t want to move and uproot their children. At the same time, they want the relief and fresh start that bankruptcy can provide.

The bankruptcy code addresses this concern specifically and provides what is known as the homestead exemption for Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitioners. According to the homestead exemption, a certain amount of the equity in a home is exempt from creditors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Of course, many people who are filing for Chapter 7 in Minnesota do not have a lot of equity in their homes and instead have a mortgage that may be difficult to pay. So long as arrangements are made to keep paying the mortgage on time, which may be possible if your income is freed from other debts, then you may be allowed to stay in your home.

If keeping your home is a priority to you, then it is important to speak with an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer who is committed to helping you keep your home if possible. You can reach a Minnesota bankruptcy attorney at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203 to schedule a free consultation.

To find out more information about what you need to do to complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota, please contact an experienced Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at (952) 920-1001 or (480) 207-2203. You can also learn more about the bankruptcy process and how you may benefit from it by reading our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

ANSWER: The question really is: Can you afford not to hire a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer? When you enter an agreement in bankruptcy court, it is binding. You may not be able to amend it after the agreement has been reached. You might not be able to get back property that has already been sold to satisfy your debt. Thus, it is important to take steps to protect your potential recovery at the outset with the help of an experienced Minnesota debt relief lawyer.

The attorneys at our Minnesota bankruptcy law firm would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation where we can discuss your legal options, how we may be able to help you, and whether our services are a good investment in your future.

To find out more information about bankruptcy in Minnesota, please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know Before You File for Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

Contact our office to schedule your free meeting with a compassionate, experienced and aggressive bankruptcy attorney. You can reach us by using our online form. We can also be reached by phone at MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203.

Our attorneys can help you to decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and, if so, which type makes the most sense for your particular circumstances. Different types of bankruptcy have different eligibility requirements, and so it is very important that you consult with an attorney prior to planning any bankruptcy-related action.

If you are ready for a legal consultation, free of charge and free from judgment, contact the best bankruptcy lawyers in Minnesota at Rosenzweig Law Office. Together we can wipe the slate clean and help you start your new, debt free life. You do not have to go this alone. Call today MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203.

It can be hard to make a financial commitment when you are contemplating bankruptcy. Our Minnesota individual bankruptcy lawyers know that and hope to have the opportunity to explain our services to you and help you plan for your future.

ANSWER: Chapter 11 bankruptcy is primarily for businesses rather than for individuals (for individual bankruptcies, see “What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?” and “What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?”). Most Chapter 11 petitioners are corporations or partnerships; however, self-employed individuals may also file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a business to continue operating while paying off its debts. In this way, it is the business equivalent of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Even considering the above, Chapter 11 bankruptcies are rare for small businesses.

ANSWER: The length of the bankruptcy process depends on a variety of factors, including the type of bankruptcy filed and the income level of the debtor. Chapter 7 bankruptcies are usually completed within three months of the filing date, with more complex cases taking longer. Because there is so much variety in the sizes, structures, assets, liabilities and complexities of businesses, Chapter 11 cases vary greatly in length. Chapter 13 cases establish payment plans, which typically last for three to five years.

To find out more information about bankruptcy in Minnesota, please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know Before You  File For Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment to speak with us. You can reach us by using our online form. We can also be reached by phone at  MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203. Our attorneys can help you to decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and, if so, which type makes the most sense for your particular circumstances. Different types of bankruptcy have different eligibility requirements, and so it is very important that you consult with an attorney prior to planning any bankruptcy-related action.

ANSWER: List expensive assets (real estate, automobiles, furniture, appliances, etc.) and their values individually. For cheaper items (such as clothing, cookware and linens), list the assets by category rather than individually. While you may report inexpensive assets in groups as described above, you may not purposefully omit or misrepresent assets.

ANSWER: You are required to list all of your creditors, including individuals and companies to whom or to which you owe money. In bankruptcy cases, creditors even include friends and relatives to whom you owe a debt. Listing all creditors ensures that all of your debts are accounted for and treated fairly. Also, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the court will be able to distribute your monthly payments or any asset liquidation proceeds fairly.

To find out more information about bankruptcy in Minnesota, please read our FREE book: What You Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment to speak with us. You can reach us by using our online form. We can also be reached by phone at  MN (952) 920-1001 or AZ (480) 207-2203. Our attorneys can help you to decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and, if so, which type makes the most sense for your particular circumstances. Different types of bankruptcy have different eligibility requirements, and so it is very important that you consult with an attorney prior to planning any bankruptcy-related action.

ANSWER: No, you are not permitted to pay off some of your creditors prior to filing for bankruptcy. That would give those creditors an advantage over the other creditors with respect to how quickly and/or completely they were paid. This is referred to as a preference. Accordingly, the court may order any such payments to be rescinded so that the money may be fairly allocated among the various creditors in the case. You may, however, choose to pay off some of your debts early after you file, as long as you keep up with your court-ordered monthly payments. There are some legal planning techniques that can be used to pay some creditors, and in some cases relatives, without violating any bankruptcy statutes. An experienced bankruptcy attorney should be able to explain how this can be accomplished.

ANSWER: Individuals may file for personal bankruptcy without their respective spouses filing. However, the spouse of a bankruptcy petitioner must provide certain information for use in the debtor’s bankruptcy paperwork. In addition, a debtor’s spouse may be affected by the petitioner’s bankruptcy even if the spouse is not actively participating in the proceedings. In Chapter 13 cases, much of the debtor’s income will be ordered to go toward monthly payments. In Chapter 7 cases, jointly owned property may not be completely exempt and therefore not completely protected. Also the non-filing spouse will still be liable for the jointly owed debts, even if the debt is discharged for the debtor.

ANSWER: Yes. Since 2005, bankruptcy petitioners are required by the Bankruptcy Code to attend a Credit Counseling course prior to filing and a Financial Management class within sixty days of their Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The Section 341 Meeting of Creditors, or “341 hearing” for short, is a very brief (usually five to ten minutes) informational meeting that is scheduled for approximately thirty days from the date of filing. At this meeting that you attend with your attorney, the bankruptcy trustee will question the debtor about the bankruptcy petition that was filed to verify the accuracy of the information contained in it.