When Will I Be Able to Get Credit After I File Bankruptcy?

At the Maryland Bankruptcy Center we help people file Chapter 7 bankruptcy every day.  And everyone has the same concerns and questions.  That is, will I be able to get credit after I file bankruptcy?  Will it really take me 10 years to be able to buy a car or a house? The answer.  NO! The fact that you file bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, that is true.  But, creditors, such as car dealerships and mortgage companies, are usually willing to offer credit to people within about 2 years, sometimes even sooner.  Just yesterday a client came to the office and told me that she went to buy a car and because her credit score was low and she had a lot of debt, the loan officer at the car dealership told her to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and come back as soon as the bankruptcy was discharged and she will be able to buy a car.  It doesn’t seem like it makes sense, but it really does.  After all, after you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eliminate your bills and get a … [Read more...]

Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Help Me?

I saw this article online and thought it was excellent, please read if interested in learning about or filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, I couldn't have said it any better myself. Can Chapter 7 bankruptcy help? When most people think of filing for bankruptcy, they think of chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as “straight bankruptcy,” is a much faster process than its slower cousin chapter 13 bankruptcy. Depending on income, chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts between 3 to 5 years, whereas a typical chapter 7 case is open and shut within 4 months. Within that short time frame, chapter 7 transforms the debtor’s financial life from a cluttered mess, to a clean slate. Here are 5 important ways that chapter 7 bankruptcy can help if you find yourself in financial distress. 1. Eliminate unsecured debt. This is the most obvious way that chapter 7 bankruptcy helps consumers. Filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out high interest credit card debt and medical bills. … [Read more...]

Maryland Bankruptcy and Credit Card Debt

The Basics of Credit Card Debt and Bankruptcy In an economy where housing problems dominate the headlines, high interest credit cards still remain one of the largest issues consumers face in their fight for financial health. It should come as no surprise to learn then, that credit card debt is still one of the primary reasons consumers are forced to file for bankruptcy. When a credit card account has been delinquent for more than 180 days, banks will charge off what is owed as “bad debt” and sell the account to a debt collector who will call, harass and even sue if the past due balances are high enough. Mounting pressure from debt collectors pushes many consumers through the front door of a bankruptcy office because chapter 7 protection is widely perceived as the fastest and best way to get out from under unmanageable credit card debt. While it is true that filing for bankruptcy can help discharge credit card bills, there are some basics that every consumer needs to know before … [Read more...]

Does My Spouse Have To File Bankruptcy With Me?

No, your spouse does not have to file bankruptcy with you. There is no law stating that both people in a marriage must file bankruptcy. A married person can file a single bankruptcy. If a married person does decide to file without their spouse, some information from the non-filing spouse would be needed. The non-filing spouse’s income would have to be listed in order to do the means test and any joint property owned would also need to be listed. If any of the debt is in both your names, then you would want to consider having your spouse file. Once the debtor files bankruptcy, the co-debtor becomes solely liable for the debt. For example, if you and your spouse have both your names on a credit card, your spouse will become responsible for the debt once you file bankruptcy. Depending on the amount of debt and your individual situation, you may consider both filing bankruptcy. It is not mandatory for a married couple to file bankruptcy jointly. Each couples individual … [Read more...]

Utility Bills and Bankruptcy

Two Rules for Utilities and Bankruptcy When people are current with their utility bills, utilities rarely become an issue in bankruptcy.  That is because Section 11 U.S.C. § 366(a), prohibits utility companies from discriminating against people based solely on bankruptcy filing. However, often being current is not the case and people seek to discharge their back utilities debts through bankruptcy. You can do that, but keep in mind there are two issues to consider.  First, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 366(c)(4), a utility company has a right of set-off against your deposit.  Meaning, the utility company can keep your deposit and apply it to your pre-petition debt. Second, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 366(b), the utility company may shut off your service on the 21st day following the filing of your bankruptcy petition if you are discharging a debt to the utility company and have not paid a post-petition deposit.  In other words, if you file a bankruptcy and plan on discharging a debt to a … [Read more...]

I Need To File Bankruptcy and I live in Maryland…..What Do I Do?

Sort of like parenting, money management is one of those things that were never taught in school.  We were taught to read, write and do some math problems that we will never have to use in real life, but we were never taught how to pay our bills and manage our finances, especially in difficult times.   And our parents (at least mine didn't) brought us over to the kitchen table and said "hey son, let's go over my checkbook together and see how we can improve our finances. Unless you are actually in the business of helping people file for bankruptcy, there is no reason for you to have any idea what bankruptcy is all about.  Fortunately, the internet has provided everyone a tool to research and read about bankruptcy, and at least give them a starting point to determine if it is the right thing to do, and if so, how to go about filing bankruptcy. If you are reading this article, you have already taken the first step.   When people call me to discuss bankruptcy, they have alot of … [Read more...]


Bankruptcy is very often a time-sensitive process and pre-bankruptcy planning can be critical in protecting assets. Chapter 7, in particular, the trustee’s responsibility is to “look back” at the actions the debtor has taken to insure that there hasn’t been a fraudulent conveyance of assets, a non-allowed preference payment to creditors or other actions that might leave assets exposed. It’s critical, if you are considering bankruptcy, to consider taking the following steps to insure a successful filing: 1. Consult with an attorney. The bankruptcy laws have become so complex that consumers should not attempt to file by themselves. It’s a very risky process to try to do on your own. Since 2005, there is a complicated “Means Test” required, government-approved credit counseling, as well as other changes which made the filing of Bankruptcy much more complicated. Even if you eventually file pro-se (representing yourself) consult an attorney and ask questions about whether bankruptcy … [Read more...]

Chapter 7 Maryland Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Maryland Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy may provide some relief to a borrower under financial stress and overwhelmed with debt. Typically, there are two types of bankruptcy available to a debtor, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The requirements and benefits offered by the two types of bankruptcy differ greatly. A Maryland bankruptcy attorneycan explain the differences between the two chapters in detail and help ensure a successful bankruptcy filing. It is highly recommended that a debtor consult a bankruptcy lawyer for help determining which bankruptcy chapter is best suited for their situation. An incorrect or incomplete bankruptcy petition can create long-lasting consequences for the debtor. Chapter 13 is considered a restructuring bankruptcy because the debtor continues to make payments to their creditors according to a court approved payment plan. The payment plan outlines how the income the borrower receives will be used to pay off the debts owed. Once the payment plan is confirmed by the … [Read more...]

Third Most Chapter 7’s In Maryland Filed!

Usually I write about or I find important or interesting issues on Bankruptcy and post them on this blog for anyone who happens to drop by the website to see.  Today, however, my post is a little different.  Today it's about my bankruptcy firm, and yes, I am going to do a little bragging.  I have been practicing bankruptcy law in Maryland for almost 20 years.  In 2005, however, when the laws changed, I stopped doing it for a while.  My thought was that everyone and their mother (sometimes literally) had just filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland during that prior year and the amount of people in Maryland to help with bankruptcy's would be very few in the next few years.  So I changed my practice and concentrated more on Family Law.  But in 2009, shortly after the recession hit full swing, I realized that, with so many people out of work and out on disability and without health insurance, the need for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy's in Maryland would soon rise again.  So, in … [Read more...]

How Long Does a Chapter 7 Maryland Bankruptcy Case Take?

Typically, chapter 7 bankruptcy cases last between three and four months from the date the case is filed. The preparation for a chapter 7 bankruptcy case can be anywhere between one day and many months depending on a number of factors, including attorneys fees, document readiness etc. This post will deal with the chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline after filing a case. For questions about what it takes to prepare a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, consult a bankruptcy attorney. Rough Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Timeline: Day 1: Case Filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are filed electronically by a bankruptcy attorney, however, before this occurs, you will need to visit with your attorney to sign your petition and schedules after a thorough review. Soon after filing, your case will be assigned to a trustee and you will learn the date of your meeting of creditors (also called the “341 meeting”). Day 30-40: Meeting of Creditors Approximately thirty to forty days after the case has been … [Read more...]