The stress of financial uncertainty weighs heavily during disaster, such as our recent tornadoes and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Bankruptcy may be an option to relieve that stress if you or your family are facing lay offs, property damage, or illness. Here are some answers to questions you may be asking during this time:
Q: How can a bankruptcy help me recover from the COVID-19 crisis?
A: A bankruptcy can discharge, or “wipe away,” all or a portion of your debt. This would include medical debt, credit cards, personal loans, repossessions, and more. If you find yourself with substantial medical bills from the health crisis, but without the ability to pay them, a bankruptcy can alleviate that burden amongst many others.
Q: Can I still file a bankruptcy during the quarantine period?
A: Yes, while many courts have closed their doors for safety purposes, they are operating by teleconference for hearings. It is important to keep in mind that limited staff will be available for processing documents and information. This may result in a delay, but does not prevent filing.
Q: Is it recommended to file during the crisis?
A: This is a personal choice. It may be advisable to wait until all potential medical bills can be included in a case. When filing a bankruptcy, only debt incurred prior to the filing date can be included. However, even if waiting to file is best for your circumstances, we can begin the process of to file through consultation right now.
Q: Do I qualify for bankruptcy if I have been laid off?
A: Yes, and we will review your individual financial situation to determine the best time to file a case. An individual or married couple qualify for bankruptcies based on their household size and income. Even if you are very recently unemployed, we would review your household income over the last six months to determine which chapter of bankruptcy you would qualify for.
Q: Can I collect unemployment and still file a bankruptcy?
A: Yes. We will list the unemployment as income in a bankruptcy, but receiving assistance does not prevent anyone from filing a case. Get the help you need for now; we’ll be here to help for the future.
Q: Will I lose my car or home?
A: A Chapter 13 filing is the best filing option to protect property. However, in several instances property can be kept in a Chapter 7 filing as well. We can discuss what the best option may be for you based on your needs and to best secure the things that are most important to you.
Q: Do I have to come into the office to discuss filing?
A: No. We want everyone to stay as healthy as possible and be comfortable. We are more than happy to speak with you over the phone or via teleconference during this time.
Our office is open and offers Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 filing services. If you feel that you may need to seek relief under the bankruptcy code, please give us a call so that we can conduct a free consultation to assess your unique circumstances.
Post authored by Rachel E. Lamey