Lubbock Bankruptcy Lawyers
The bankruptcy attorneys at FBSR&W have the experience and skills to navigate the federal bankruptcy laws on your behalf. There are many details and provisions of bankruptcy law to consider, and our attorneys will make sure that if and when you are ready to file bankruptcy, it will be done correctly and in a timely manner.
Thousands of individuals, families and business entities in the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy in the past decade. Most people and businesses who file bankruptcy do not do so as a way to escape debt incurred by spending unwisely on material goods. The majority of bankruptcies are based on crises or circumstances that are out of the individual’s control, such as:
- loss of job (layoff, termination)
- loss of health insurance
- major illness or accident causing huge medical bills
- foreclosure of the family’s home
- predatory lending practices
- being caught in the adjustable mortgage crunch
- an unforeseen downturn in one’s business or income
- cash flow issues
Gaining Control of Your finances
Although the idea of filing for bankruptcy can be troubling, there’s really no shame in doing so. Bankruptcy can be the most appropriate, logical and beneficial step you can take to get back in control of your finances by providing a “fresh start.” However, it’s not always the answer – our attorneys will give you honest and accurate advice regarding whether a bankruptcy is right for you at this time and non-bankruptcy options will also be explored.
Below is a brief summary of the most common types of bankruptcy. They each have more complex aspects to consider, and our attorneys will thoroughly explain the available bankruptcy options for you so that you will be able to act with complete confidence.
Bankruptcy for Individuals and Couples
Generally, there are two chapters (types) of bankruptcy that an individual or married couple can use to regain control of their finances: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all (or nearly all) of the person’s unsecured debts are “wiped out,” or “discharged.” In exchange, the person must give up all of his or her non-exempt property; however, Texas has very liberal laws which allow most assets to be “exempted” or “protected” from unsecured creditors in a bankruptcy.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the individual’s or couple’s debts are generally “discharged” when the bankruptcy process is complete. The Chapter 7 process usually results in a discharge being granted within about four months from filing and takes six months from start to finish.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In this type of bankruptcy, debtors usually don’t have to give up any of their property, but they are agreeing to pay off a portion and sometimes all of their unsecured debts over a stated period (usually three to five years). The unsecured debts are consolidated (grouped) into one total sum and monthly payments are made toward that sum during the “plan” period.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be the right alternative when an individual or couple simply need help catching up on secured debts such as a mortgage and car payments or when Chapter 7 is not available.
For Businesses: Chapter 11
Generally Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used to reorganize a distressed business. Individuals, corporations, and partnerships are eligible to file for Chapter 11 relief as a way to reorganize the business and keep it operating, while creditors get paid some or all of their debt over time.
For Farmers: Chapter 12
West Texas is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. However, being a farmer brings with it difficult challenges such as unpredictable weather conditions, market price fluctuations, rising costs of production, etc.
A Chapter 12 bankruptcy helps farmers (i.e., individuals, corporations, and partnerships) continue in business under a debt restructuring plan generally over a 3-year period. During the “plan” period, the farmer must commit any disposable income (i.e., income after operating, living, and secured debt payments) to pay unsecured creditors. Generally, after the 3-year plan is completed, any remaining unsecured debt is “discharged” or “wiped out.”
Contact Fargason, Booth, St. Clair, Richards & Wilkins, LLP
If you would like more information on personal or business bankruptcy, contact our office to discuss your circumstances with a knowledgeable, experienced bankruptcy attorney today.