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Bankruptcy Process

Understanding the Bankruptcy Process in Madisonville

Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyer Serving Webster County and the Surrounding Areas

If you are in severe financial debt with no apparent way out, filing for bankruptcy may be your best option in securing relief. It is important that you discuss your financial situation with a knowledgeable lawyer that can ascertain what legal solution is best for you.

As a bankruptcy attorney, I have helped nearly 20,000 clients in Madisonville and throughout Hopkins and Webster counties navigate their bankruptcy filings. If you are struggling to stay on top of your debt, I can assist you in understanding the bankruptcy process in Madisonville. I have 40 years of legal experience and can leverage my knowledge and skills to determine what strategy will be most effective in resolving your financial distress.

Schedule a free initial consultation with The Law Offices of Mark Little today by calling (888) 392-0409 or contacting my team online.

When Should I Consider Filing for Bankruptcy?

Many resist filing for bankruptcy for fear that doing so reflects poorly on them, even if the source of their hardship is completely out of their control. The truth is that bankruptcy is a powerful tool designed to extend relief to those suffering from substantial financial distress.

It may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy if:

  • Your debts continue to grow faster than you can pay them
  • You are fairly certain you will not soon have the means to catch up on missed payments
  • You regularly receive phone calls and letters from angry creditors
  • You are threatened with creditor lawsuits, foreclosure, or vehicle repossession
  • You are losing a portion of your paycheck to wage garnishments

Bankruptcy is not necessarily right for everyone. You can only discharge certain types of debt through bankruptcy, so it is important that your complete financial situation is reviewed by a qualified legal representative before filing. I can assess your circumstances and advise whether filing for bankruptcy is likely to provide the relief that you need.

Determining Eligibility for Bankruptcy

If you live in, work in, or have property in the United States, you almost certainly qualify for at least one form of bankruptcy. However, you cannot necessarily apply for whatever type of bankruptcy that you choose.

If you are filing on behalf of a business, such as a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC), you will most likely file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In some limited situations, individual consumers who do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can instead file for Chapter 11.

Most individuals will only qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Kentucky Means Test will determine whether you can file for Chapter 7. The first step of the Means Test involves calculating your average monthly income over the past 6 months. If this average is less than the median average income for your household size in Kentucky, you will automatically qualify to file for Chapter 7.

If your median average income is equal to or greater than the average income for your household size in Kentucky, you will have to complete another step to determine what type of bankruptcy you can file for. This step consists of calculating your monthly disposable income by subtracting qualifying expenses from your gross income.

The extent of your monthly disposable income will determine whether you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you have little to no monthly disposable income, you will most likely be permitted to file for Chapter 7. If you have a substantial amount of monthly disposable income, you will likely need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. My team can assist you in calculating your monthly disposable income, including identifying and tabulating all qualifying expenses.

Preparing to File for Bankruptcy

Once you know what type of bankruptcy you will be filing for, you will need to begin to prepare your petition materials. You will need to create a detailed report of your monthly income, expenses, and all of your debt, both secured and unsecured. All types of debt must be included, including credit card debt, medical debt, unpaid bills, and missed mortgage payments. You will also need to provide an inventory of all of your assets, including your home, vehicle, and personal property.

Prior to filing, you will also need to complete a credit counseling course. This course, which must be facilitated by an approved agency, will assist with budgetary analysis and identifying other counseling opportunities.

Filing the Bankruptcy Petition

After you have assembled your petition materials, it is time to formally file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The filing will need to be made with the appropriate bankruptcy court.

In your formal petition, you will be asking the court for protection from creditors as an insolvent debtor. Should your petition be approved, the court will generally grant the automatic stay, an order that halts all creditor actions. This means that all creditors that you have listed in your petition cannot directly contact you or pursue or proceed with lawsuits, foreclosures, repossessions, or wage garnishments. They can only the debts that you owe them through the bankruptcy court until your filing has concluded.

The automatic stay is one of the most advantageous elements of bankruptcy and can help stop imminent, financially catastrophic collection actions. Because the automatic stay typically remains in effect for the duration of your bankruptcy, you will have a substantial amount of time to raise funds and reorganize finances to repay debts that cannot be discharged.

The 341 Meeting and Next Steps

About a month after you formally file for bankruptcy, you will need to attend a meeting of your creditors in the presence of the Trustee assigned to your case. This is called the 341 meeting and is named after a number in the bankruptcy code. In the 341 meeting, the facts of your financial situation will be reviewed, and your creditors will register any objections that they might have. Your legal representation will be present in this meeting, and I can vigorously work to ensure that your interests are protected.

Chapter 7 filers will usually only have to appear in bankruptcy court once. They will only be required to appear before a judge if there are objections to the bankruptcy raised by one or more creditors. Chapter 13 filers will only generally need to go to court when their repayment plan is confirmed by the judge.

What happens following the 341 meeting depends on whether you filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 filers will go through liquidation, the process by which nonexempt property is sold (“liquidated”) to partially repay creditors. This may sound scary, but you can leverage state or federal exemptions to protect many types of property, including equity in your home and car. Many lose very little in liquidation; others do not lose anything at all.

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will need to prepare and submit a repayment plan that combines all of your outstanding debts into a single monthly installment. The amount of this monthly payment should reflect your current ability to pay based on your monthly disposable income, not the total extent of your debt. You will have to continue to make this monthly payment for a period of 3 to 5 years.

I am extensively familiar with the processes of both Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. My team can assist you in minimizing the impact of liquidation in Chapter 7 filings and creating a fair and reasonable repayment for Chapter 13 filings.

Creditors calling, garnishments, lawsuits. We can help make it all go away. We have helped thousands of people get out of debt and start over new. We can help you too!

Learn more about how you can benefit from bankruptcy by contacting my firm online or calling (888) 392-0409.

I look forward to helping you regain control of your finances as your trusted attorney.

Discharging Debts

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case with no major complications, the liquidation process should conclude roughly 2 months after your initial filing. The court will then allow you to discharge debts. For Chapter 13 cases, you will not be able to discharge debts until you have completed your monthly repayment plan, which can take between 3 and 5 years.

Successfully completing either type of bankruptcy allows you to discharge remaining unsecured debts. Unsecured debts include credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, and unpaid utility bills.

It is important to understand that you cannot discharge secured debts through bankruptcy. Secured debts include missed mortgage payments and missed vehicle payments. In most situations, you will also not be able to discharge student loans, tax debt, missed spousal support payments, or court judgments. However, discharging unsecured debts gives many filers increased means of redirecting funds to address outstanding secured debt.

At The Law Offices of Mark Little, my team is committed to helping clients understand the bankruptcy process in Madisonville and make the most of their filings. I can review the specifics of your financial situation and advise how to best address both secured and unsecured debts. I also offer credit repair services and can advise how to efficiently restore and improve your credit following a bankruptcy.

We Want to Empower You With the Knowledge to Find Bankruptcy Relief

Clients Who Have Found a Fresh Start With Our Help
  • “Mark Little is a great lawyer. He is patient, understanding, helpful and a man of God. I would recommend him to my family and friends. Thank you. God bless”

    - Heather Russett
  • “Mark and his office are the best. They are genuinely concerned and take the time to explain everything to you. Mark takes the time to get to know you and you can tell how much he wants to help. Him ...”

    - Mrs. T.
  • “I am very impressed with Mark and the way he took my financial situation and helped me out of the problems I had. His whole team is first class and so helpful! Thanks to everyone there!”

    - Gary Cunningham
  • “Mark Little is a great attorney with a wonderful staff! Mark is kind and treats you with compassion and understanding!”

    - Carolyn Crick
  • “Thank you so much for all your help!!”

    - Ashley B.

Take Advantage of 40 Years of Bankruptcy Experience

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