Bankruptcy in Raleigh, NC
Are you contemplating bankruptcy or hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina? Are you tired of creditors calling for payments you can’t make? Maybe looking for a way to get out of debt and have you exhausted all other options? Then bankruptcy might be the solution you seek. It is a legal option that can erase a portion or all of your debts.
Types of Bankruptcy in Raleigh, North Carolina
Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps individuals and businesses get a fresh financial start. It eliminates a portion of or all of their debts or financial liabilities. In Raleigh, NC to be approved, individuals must prove they have a hardship that prevents them from staying current on their financial obligations. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify. Some liabilities, such as child support arrears, delinquent taxes, alimony, and student loans generally do not qualify for discharge. Consumers who find themselves falling behind in debt can file either Chapter 7, 11 or 13. To determine which option is right for you, you’ll need to assess your goals, assets, and income. You should also consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Raleigh bankruptcies are under the jurisdiction of the US Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of North Carolina. There is a court located in downtown Raleigh in the Century Station Federal Building.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Many people find Chapter 7 to be the right solution for their circumstances because it provides them with the opportunity to start over financially. However, before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should thoroughly assess your income and ability to repay what you owe. You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Raleigh who can help you to decide if a liquidation plan is right for you.
Typically, individuals approved for Chapter 7 lack stable income or have experienced a change in circumstances that has resulted in an inability to manage their debts. Though Chapter 7 erases debts, the tradeoff is you may have to give up certain possessions, such as your home, car or some other assets. However, once you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that requires all collection activity against you like foreclosures and garnishments, to stop temporarily. However, the automatic stay does not prevent all collection attempts. For example, if you owe child support or restitution for a criminal case, you are still liable for those payments.
Before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Raleigh, you must pass a Means Test. In short, your family’s income must be lower than the North Carolina median income. When you file for Chapter 7 in Raleigh, an automatic stay prevents your creditors from continuing their attempts to collect your debt. However, a creditor can file a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay. This may allow the creditor to begin collection from the debtor again.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is more complex than other types of bankruptcy. It is often used by businesses and certain types of people. It allows petitioners to restructure their debts with a reorganization plan, so they are easier to manage over a determined length of time, usually four to 18 months. The main benefit of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it does not require petitioners to sell off or liquidate their assets to pay what they owe. It does allow debtors to negotiate with their creditors a reorganization plan that enables them to stay current on their debts moving forward.
According to the Eastern District of North Carolina, a Chapter 11 filing may be dismissed if the Raleigh debtor does not file certain documents with the Petition. Specifically, this may occur if the Master Mailing Matrix and the List of 20 Largest Unsecured Creditors are not filed along with the Petition. This might also occur if the Filing Fee of $1,738 is not paid upon filing the Petition. Keep in mind you can apply to pay the required fee in installments.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt restructuring or wage earners plan. In Raleigh, NC after you file, the courts will assign a trustee to examine your liabilities and assets and ability to pay bills. Unlike other types of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 involves you restructuring your debt with a three to five-year repayment plan. The flexibility of this repayment plan will depend on what property you want to keep and how steady your income is. It may also give you the opportunity to have some or most of your debts discharged.
The Eastern District of North Carolina provides a comprehensive checklist for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Raleigh. Some of the requirements include:
- File petition and pay fee of $313
- List of creditors, both secured and unsecured
- Statement of income and expenses
- Summary of assets and liabilities
- Chapter 13 notice to creditors and proposed plan
The Bankruptcy Process in Raleigh, North Carolina
There is never an ideal time to declare bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to pay off what you owe within five years, filing for bankruptcy can help you to lessen the negative impact on your situation and help you get back on track.
In Raleigh to begin the filing process, gather all of your financial records, including monthly expenses, debts, assets and annual income. This information is crucial to give the courts an accurate picture of your circumstances. Failure to provide all necessary information can result in your petition being denied.
Unlike some states, North Carolina does not give Raleigh debtors a choice between the federal and state exemptions. You must use the exemptions provided by North Carolina law, which include:
- Homestead exemption for up to $35,000 in equity for your residence
- Up to $3,500 for one vehicle
- Up to $5,000 in household goods
- Wildcard exemption for any personal property up to the value of any unused portion of the homestead exemption, plus an additional $500
At least six months before you file for bankruptcy, eliminate unnecessary spending. Do not run up the balances on your credit accounts. You’ll also need to complete an approved credit counseling course, usually online or over the phone. Credit counseling is necessary to help you learn financial literacy and help you learn better financial habits. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to include in your filing. If you don’t have the certificate of completion from the credit counseling course that you took, the courts will reject your bankruptcy petition.
Work With an Experienced Raleigh, North Carolina Lawyer
Hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer in Raleigh during this process can help reduce the costly risks of self-representation in court. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer understands state and federal bankruptcy laws. He or she can help you understand which laws apply to your case, especially which debts that can be discharged or can’t be discharged. An experienced North Carolina attorney can also offer you guidance to improve the outcome of your case.
Keep in mind that there are debt management alternatives and financial resources that may benefit you more than bankruptcy, such as debt consolidation. Though bankruptcy is an attractive solution, it is best as a last resort. Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Raleigh can guide you through the entire bankruptcy process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across North Carolina state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!