CHAPTER 7

chapter-7

Jeffrey Judge is the Tucson bankruptcy lawyer who can guide you through filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona, the compassionate team at Judge Law Firm will work with you to make sense of a complicated process and ensure a successful filing so you can move forward.

Tucson Bankruptcy Lawyer

filing-for-bankruptcy

We understand that filing for bankruptcy is often your last resort.

Are you overwhelmed with debt because of

  • mounting medical bills?
  • rising interest rates on your mortgage payments?
  • financial struggles due to divorce?
  • unfortunate life circumstances?

The right representation matters. Judge Law Firm can help you find relief from your present situation and give you hope for the future through a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in Arizona.

bankruptcy-protection

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection may make it possible to:

  • End your legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts.
  • Stop wage garnishment.
  • End debt collection harassment and other similar creditor actions to collect a debt.
  • Prevent foreclosure on your home and allow you to catch up on missed payments.
  • Avoid repossession of a car or other property, or force the creditor to return repossessed property.
  • Stop seizure of your bank accounts.
  • Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
  • Allow you to challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Explained

In a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, you file a petition asking the court to discharge your unsecured debts such as medical bills or credit card bills. Also known as a Fresh Start or Straight Bankruptcy, the basic idea is to wipe out (discharge) your debts in exchange for giving up property, except for “exempt” property which the laws allows you to keep. In many cases, all of your property will be protected. But the non-exempt (unprotected) property can be sold, with the money distributed to creditors.

Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection

In order to qualify to file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you must:

  • Reside in the U.S.
  • Have a place of business in the U.S. or own property in the U.S.
  • Have not had a bankruptcy case dismissed within 180 days prior to filing.
  • Pass one of the three Means Tests outlined in the Bankruptcy Code

The Means Tests

In order to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy you must pass an income test. If your income falls below the Arizona average income based on your household size (see chart below), you can file a simpler chapter 7 case.

ARIZONA MEDIAN INCOME BY HOUSEHOLD SIZE
HOUSEHOLD SIZE
YEARLY INCOME
MONTHLY INCOME

1 Person

$46,196

$3,850

2 Persons

$57,953

$4,829

3 Persons

$61,452

$5,121

4 Persons

$71,154

$5,930

5 Persons

$79,554

$6,630

6 Persons

$87,954

$7,330

* For each additional person, you can add: $8,400 per year, $700 per month

If your income exceeds the income guidelines listed above, you must fill out means test forms requiring detailed information about income and expenses. If you are found to have a certain amount left over that could be paid to unsecured creditors, the bankruptcy court may decide that you cannot file a chapter 7 case, unless there are special circumstances.

This is a very complex area of law and calculations, and we highly recommend that you seek the services of an experienced attorney. A Tucson bankruptcy lawyer who cares.

Judge Law Firm is on Your Side

Jeffrey Judge began his law career 25 years ago working for the city public defender’s office. Hundreds of trials later, he went into private practice intending to represent small businesses.

In private practice, I began hearing from hard-working people with debt issues. Their stories were alarming and disheartening— vulnerable people reporting harassing and illegal tactics from creditors. It wasn’t long before I re-focused my practice under a new mission to represent honest debtors who deserve a second chance. Our team is committed to ensuring you understand your rights and have the support you need to secure your future through bankruptcy and beyond.

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to keep property like a home or a car and are behind on the mortgage or car loan payments, a chapter 7 probably will not be the right choice but you might qualify for a chapter 13 bankruptcy in Tucson. A chapter 7 bankruptcy does not eliminate the right of mortgage holders or car lenders to take your property to cover your debt.
If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will not be required to pay back balances through a repayment plan. However, some of your creditors may have a “security interest” in your home, automobile or other personal property. This means that you gave that creditor a mortgage on the home or put your other property up as collateral for the debt. Bankruptcy does not make these security interests go away. If you don’t make your payments on that debt, the creditor may be able to take and sell the home or the property during or after the bankruptcy case. There are several ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property after you file bankruptcy. We can advise you on your options.
Yes! Many people believe they cannot own anything for a period of time after filing for bankruptcy. This is not true. You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits within 180 days after filing for bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt.
Most debts can be discharged but not all. Bankruptcy will not normally wipe out:
  1. Child support or Alimony;
  2. Taxes and government fines;
  3. Student loans;
  4. Debts not listed on your bankruptcy petition;
  5. Fraudulent debts;
  6. Debts resulting from “willful and malicious” harm;
  7. Debts related to driving while intoxicated;
  8. Secured debts (home or car loans) on property you plan to keep
In most bankruptcy cases, you only have to go to a “meeting of creditors” to meet with the bankruptcy trustee and any creditor who chooses to come. In most cases, no creditors show up. Generally, the meeting will be a short and simple procedure where you are asked a few questions about your bankruptcy forms and your financial situation. Your attorney will also attend to assist you if there are any complications.
There is no clear answer to this question. Unfortunately, if you are behind on your bills, your credit may already be bad. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse. The fact that you’ve filed a bankruptcy can appear on your credit record for ten years. But because bankruptcy wipes out your old debts, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and you may be able to get new credit. If you decide to file bankruptcy, remember the debts discharged should be listed on your credit report as having a zero balance, meaning you do not owe anything on that debt.
Utility services--Public utilities, such as the electric company, cannot refuse or cut off service because you have filed for bankruptcy. However, the utility can require a deposit for future service and you do have to pay bills that arise after bankruptcy is filed. Discrimination--An employer or government agency cannot discriminate against you because you have filed for bankruptcy. Driver’s license--If you lost your license solely because you couldn’t pay court-ordered damages caused in an accident, bankruptcy will allow you to get your license back. Co-signers--If someone has co-signed a loan with you and you file for bankruptcy, the co-signer may have to pay your debt. If you file a chapter 13, you may be able to protect co-signers, depending upon the terms of your chapter 13 plan.
Although it may be possible for some people to file a bankruptcy case without an attorney, it is not a step to be taken lightly. The process is difficult and you may lose property or other rights if you do not know the law. It takes patience and careful preparation and Judge Law Firm has the expertise to guide you through the process. Document preparation services also known as “typing services” or “paralegal services” involve non-lawyers who offer to prepare bankruptcy forms for a fee. Problems with these services often arise because non-lawyers cannot offer advice on difficult bankruptcy cases and they offer no services once a bankruptcy case has begun. There are also many shady operators in this field who give bad advice and defraud consumers. In life, cheaper often does not mean better. This is particularly true in a complex and technical area of law like bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Court charges a $335 filing fee for bankruptcy protection under chapter 7, whether single or married. When it comes to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s important to select a Tucson bankruptcy lawyer who takes the time to understand your situation and guide you through a complex process. Judge Law Firm has the proven experience to secure your future through bankruptcy and beyond. Reach out and book your consultation today.

Praise From Our Clients

Judge Law Firm is on your side.

Schedule your meeting today.

Are your debts a temporary setback or a roadblock to your family’s future? To learn more about how we can help, call 520-745-1500 right now, or fill out the form below.

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