Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy

Q:  Will bankruptcy stop collection calls, garnishments, and lawsuits?
A:  Yes!  An “automatic stay” will take effect when you file, and creditors must immediately stop all collection actions.

Q:  Will I lose my house or car?
A:  There are exemptions that allow you to keep certain types of property.  In most cases, you will be able to keep your house, car, and other assets, but your specific situation needs to be reviewed by a qualified Bankruptcy Attorney.

Q: Can all debts be discharged?
A:  No.  Most debt, such as credit cards and medical expenses, can be discharged. However, certain debts like student loans, child support, and back taxes cannot be discharged. Be wary of people who advise you otherwise.

Q: Do I have to go to court?
A: You will be required to attend a “meeting of the creditors” (a.k.a., 341 meeting).  The 341 meeting is held in front of the Bankruptcy Trustee, not a judge, and is not hot held in a courtroom.  The typical 341 meeting lasts about 5-10 minutes.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: There is a $306 filing fee paid to the court and Grand Haven Bankruptcy Center's fees are $1,000 for an individual and $1,200 for a couple (other local firms will tell you they "START" at $1,200 or $1,500 and the "Additional Charges" add up fast).  Grand Haven Bankruptcy Center offers a free initial consultation.

Q: How much can I make and still file?
A: It depends.  To file under Chapter 7, you must qualify under the "Means Test," which compares your income to the median income for the State (based on the size of your family).  Click here for to view the income table.  If your income is above the median, don't give up.  There is a complicated formula for the full means test that looks at things like your secured debt payments, health care costs, and other necessary expenses.  So, it is possible to make substantially more than the median and still qualify.

Q: Does my spouse have to file too?
A:  No.  It is possible for a married person to file individually, and if most of the debt is in one spouse's name, it makes sense to protect the other person's credit.

Q: How long does it take?
A: From filing to discharge, it takes approximately 4 months.  The most important date for most people, though, is the filing date because that is when the automatic stay takes effect (see above).

Q: What do I need to get started?
A: You will need to provide information regarding all of your income, expenses, debts, and assets. 

For a complete list of information you will need, please download the Checklist and Questionnaire.

Bankruptcy doesn't have to be a complicated process, but you need a qualified Bankruptcy Lawyer in your corner looking out for your best interests.

Call (616) 432-9590 today for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy information.
Holland Bankruptcy Center
A Division of Taden Legal Services
West Michigan's Premier Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Services Provider
Call (616) 432-9590 to schedule a free intital consultation.