Bankruptcy, simply stated, is a federal court process for a consumer or commercial entity to repay debts and eliminate creditors under the protection of bankruptcy laws. When you file for bankruptcy protection you remove the threat of wage garnishment, home foreclosure, automobile repossession, and other collection attempts.
Facing financial problems for a business or individual can have devastating consequences. Having a comfortable relationship with a caring attorney is the first step to recovery and resolution. Our goal is to offer the best possible legal advice and services in your time of need or distress by utilizing our firm’s collective talent and years of expertise to guide you through the legal process and in the end to achieve the best result possible. We strive to ensure and protect the legal rights and remedies available to every client to the very best of our ability. We bring extensive experience and professionalism to every case and offer support for your individual needs and concerns.
At Farinash & Stofan, we serve clients in Cleveland, Fort Oglethorpe, Dayton, and the greater Chattanooga, Tennessee area.
For a brief understanding, here are the three most common types of bankruptcy:
Chapter 13, often referred to as a “wage earner plan”, is designed for an individual debtor who has a regular source of income. Chapter 13 is often preferable to Chapter 7 because it enables the debtor to keep a valuable asset, such as a house or a car that they are behind on, and because it allows the debtor to propose a “plan” to repay creditors over time – usually three to five years. For debtors facing an unwanted repossession or foreclosure, Chapter 13 is an option to keep your house or your car. Chapter 13 is also used by consumer debtors who do not qualify for Chapter 7 relief under the means test. At a confirmation hearing, the court either approves or disapproves the debtor’s repayment plan, depending on whether it meets the Bankruptcy Code’s requirements for confirmation. Chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7 since the Chapter 13 debtor usually remains in possession of the property of the estate and makes payments to creditors, through the trustee, based on the debtor’s anticipated income over the life of the plan. Unlike Chapter 7, the debtor does not receive an immediate discharge of debts. The debtor must complete the payments required under the plan before the discharge is received. The debtor is protected from lawsuits, garnishments, and other creditor actions while the plan is in effect. The discharge is also somewhat broader (i.e., more debts are eliminated) under Chapter 13 than the discharge under Chapter 7.
Chapter 7, entitled Liquidation, is a procedure by which a trustee takes over the assets of the debtor’s estate, reduces them to cash, and makes distributions to creditors, subject to the debtor’s right to retain certain exempt property and the rights of secured creditors. Because there is usually little or no nonexempt property in most Chapter 7 cases, there may not be an actual liquidation of the debtor’s assets. These cases are called “no-asset cases.” A creditor holding an unsecured claim will get a distribution from the bankruptcy estate only if the case is an asset case and the creditor files a proof of claim with the bankruptcy court. In most Chapter 7 cases, if the debtor is an individual, he or she receives a discharge that releases him or her from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. The debtor normally receives a discharge just a few months after the petition is filed. If such a debtor’s income is in excess of certain thresholds, the debtor may not be eligible for Chapter 7 relief.
Chapter 11, entitled Reorganization, ordinarily is used by businesses that desire to continue operating a business and repay creditors concurrently through a court-approved plan of reorganization. The Chapter 11 debtor usually has the exclusive right to file a plan of reorganization for the first 120 days after it files the case and must provide creditors with a disclosure statement containing information adequate to enable creditors to evaluate the plan. The court ultimately approves (confirms) or disapproves the plan of reorganization. Under the confirmed plan, the debtor can reduce its debts by repaying a portion of its obligations and discharging others. The debtor can also terminate burdensome contracts and leases, recover assets, and rescale its operations in order to return to profitability. Under Chapter 11, the debtor normally goes through a period of consolidation and emerges with a reduced debt load and a reorganized business.
We are a Chattanooga debt relief agency.
We assist our clients in filings for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
We are proud to represent clients throughout the Chattanooga area, as well as Dayton, Fort Oglethorpe, and Cleveland, Tennessee.