Bankruptcy Information

The major 18 changes to Bankruptcy After October 2005:

8 Changes that affect you Before you file:

  1. Incomes Testing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy If you make over the average income for your size of family, you are forced to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. If you make under the average income you might be able to file a Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy
  2. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be between 3 to 5 years prior to this, Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases were often for only 3 years.
  3. Mandatory Debtor Education After 10-2005 you cannot file any bankruptcy without first taking “credit counseling” classes approved by the Trustee’s office. This is your ticket to file bankruptcy. After you file bankruptcy you must also take a “Debtor Education” class in financial management to get a discharge. Both of these classes are available online and/or on the phone.
  4. No more Chapter 20 bankruptcy filings. Often a person could not afford a Chapter 13. To lower payments, he would first file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate unsecured debts and then only pay secured debts in a Chapter 13 to stop a foreclosure. This was Chapter 20. Now you cannot get a Chapter 13 discharge if you file a 7 within the prior 4 years.
  5. Chapter 7 discharge is limited to once every 8 years. This used to be every 6. You cannot file a Chapter 13 after a filing a Chapter 7 for 4 years. You cannot file a Chapter 13 after a filing a Chapter 13 for 2. If you file before the time limit, you may be able to file a Chapter 13 in order to stop a foreclosure by paying arrearage. But you don’t get a discharge and you won’t be protected from the other creditors calling or suing you.
  6. Exemptions reduced: Several states had their homestead exemptions reduced. The amount and types of property you can keep will be reduced. Kentucky will increase their home exemption from 5,000 to 18,450 on June 20 2005
  7. Cannot bankrupt student loans even to non-government and for-profit lenders before October 2005 you could bankrupt non government student loans.
  8. Documents needed after October 2005 will include: Attorney must verify the:
    1. Certificate of Credit Counseling.
    2. Proof of income for prior 6 months to prove income including anticipated increases or decreases in income and expenses this must be at least 60 days of pay stubs (for all employers); or a statement from work of your last six months of income or if you are on Social Security your letter of income
    3. List of debts must include account numbers, and address of Creditor provided by mail to the Debtor. In other words a bag of your bills.
    4. A photo id.
    5. Proof of expenses if you don’t take the standard amounts but at least a year of utility bills.
    6. Four years of tax returns, not your copy, the transcript from the IRS; you cannot file if taxes are not filed for last 4 years. If the Debtor fails to provide within 7 days before the 341 the case must be dismissed further it must be provided to any creditor that requests it.
    7. At least six months of bank statements, credit card statements, loan statements.
    8. An appraisal on your home and vehicles may be needed.
    9. A comprehensive list of personal property – furnishings; you will only be allowed to keep certain items (which you can discuss with the attorney before filing).

In addition, recent changes in bankruptcy requirements in Chapter 7 and 11 have been made. Our attorneys will look at the factors in your case and will provide you with information to help you decide which chapter to file.

Chapter 7, straight bankruptcy, has been made more difficult to file for since amendments to the bankruptcy law were made in 2005. Chapter 7 is a liquidation of unsecured debt. Currently, to qualify you must live within a certain income bracket. This is the type of bankruptcy that allows to, basically, start over.

Chapter 11 allows businesses to manage debt while still conducting business on a daily basis. Fauver Law Office can help you set up a plan to get approved by a creditor.

Chapter 13, a consolidation, allows you to pay back a percentage of what you owe.

5 Changes that affect you after you file:

  1. You can’t strip liens on secured property anymore. Which means that if you owe money on a “secured” debt (one that can physically be taken like a car or a house); you have to pay them back if you want to keep the item. Before October you could strip a lien and pay someone in a Chapter 13 what the secured property was worth as a secured claim and the balance would be paid as an unsecured claim. After October 2005 you must pay all secured creditors in full or lose your property and pay a secured debt as an unsecured claim.
  2. New Fraud Rules. The old rule was that if you charged over $1,000 on a card within 60 days of filing that it was fraud and not dischargeable. The new rule will be $750 in the 70 days before you file or $500 dollars of luxury goods in 90 before you file.
  3. Homestead Exemptions. We use the Federal exemptions, which are generally higher than the state exemptions.
  4. Reaffirmation is when you keep a debt (like on a house or case) and resign on the debt so that you will still be responsible for the debt even after the bankruptcy is over. Reaffirmations will require the Debtors attorney to state that the Debtor can afford the payments and it is in the Debtor’s best interest to keep paying the debt. The Debtor will have to go through a hearing to get reaffirmations approved by the court. Creditors can then go after the Debtor again after that point if they get behind on the payments.
  5. Automatic Stay Terminations. An automatic stay is what keeps the creditors from going after your property when you file bankruptcy. The Stay automatically terminates in 30 days if:
    • A case was filed within the prior year and dismissed by any cause other than the means test conversion. This includes:
      • Dismissals for failure to file documents
      • Complete a plan
      • Provide adequate security (which means insure secured property) or…
      • If the Debtor fails to file a Schedule of Intent within 30 days after the petition or complete the reaffirmation within 45 days after the 341 meeting
    • If two or more cases have been filed during the prior year the stay does not go into effect at all until the Court orders it after a hearing and demonstration that it was filed in good faith.
    • Child Support becomes a first priority. The stay does not apply to Domestic Support enforcement. Child Support is paid first in any Chapter 13 ahead of secured debts etc. No discharge unless Child Support is up to date at the time of discharge.
    • Super discharges reduced in a Chapter 13 Debts are treated almost equally in a Chapter 7 or 13. No more discharges for Student loans, debts due to fraud, drunk driving or malicious injury in a Chapter 13.
    • Asset Protection Trusts can be avoided back 10 years. Section 548 prevents trusts from protecting assets in any self settled trust.
    • Under the Household exemption, the Personal Property you can keep in a Chapter 7 will be limited to the following you must use the wildcard exemption to exempt additional property:
      • Clothing, Furniture, Appliances, Linens, China, Crockery, Kitchenware
      • Educational materials and equipment for minor dependent children
      • Medical equipment and supplies
      • Furniture exclusively for minor children, elderly or disabled dependents
      • Personal effects (including toys of children) and wedding rings ONE RADIO, ONE TV, ONE VCR AND ONE PERSONAL COMPUTER. No Artwork, electronic equipment antiques or jewelry worth over 500 dollars other items including motor vehicles, lawn tractors, boats ATV motorcycle etc must use some other type of exemption. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO KEEP THE PROPERTY JUST USE ANOTHER EXEMPTION!