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 More Bankruptcy Questions and Answers
By: Russ Miller (Guest Blogger)
Mon, Mar 27th, 2006 3:19 pm

(Editor's note: I suspect the 2008 bankruptcy reform that happened after this was written has rendered much of this inaccurate for today.  We are, however, happy to forward any questions you have to the author, Russ Miller who is now a loan officer with Pulaski Bank in St. Louis.)

More Bankruptcy Questions and Answers

Written by Russ Miller, Mortgage Loan Officer

I am a cosigner for a debt, how does bankruptcy affect my obligation?
If the debt is a dischargeable debt then you will not have to pay it. However, the cosigner will become primarily responsible for the debt. Be sure to list the co-signer as a creditor in your schedules as they have a contingent claim against you.

Can I keep my house after bankruptcy?
Depending upon which exemption scheme is selected and your circumstances, you may exempt up to $100,000 in equity. When calculating your equity you should use a value that is based upon a forced liquidation as opposed to the best selling conditions to arrive at a value for your home. Once you know the value, subtract the amount owed plus selling and transfer costs from the value to calculate the equity. In a depressed market, liquidated properties are often valued less than what we like to think the property is worth.

Can I keep my credit cards after bankruptcy?
Under some circumstances you may keep your credit cards. There are many factors which must be considered. Some of those include the credit card balance at the time of the bankruptcy, what the credit card company is willing to do and your ability to pay the present and future credit card debt.

Will I lose my job?
No. Bankruptcy laws prohibits discrimination based upon a debtor filing for protection under the bankruptcy laws.

Can I go to jail if I file bankruptcy?
No. There are no debtor's prisons in the United States.

Will my employer find out about my bankruptcy?
Under normal circumstances, unless your employer is a creditor, your employer will not know.

Will bankruptcy stop a wage attachment?

Will bankruptcy stop a judgment?
Yes. Most civil judgments are stopped by bankruptcy.

Will a bankruptcy remove a lien?
Under some circumstances once the bankruptcy proceedings have started, special motion can be filed to remove certain liens. It will take a bankruptcy court order to remove them. This is a complicated area of the bankruptcy law and an attorney should be consulted.

Will bankruptcy stop an eviction action?
Perhaps. However, this will only delay the inevitable. The owner is entitled to possession of his property and at best you will be able to remain in the property until you have received your discharge from bankruptcy or the landlord obtains an order from the bankruptcy court. I must caution you that if the only reason you filed the bankruptcy is to stop an eviction then this might be considered an abuse of Chapter 7. If the bankruptcy court finds that this is true then the court can immediately dismiss the bankruptcy and impose other legal and monetary sanctions on you.

Will bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?
Yes. However, a home is an asset usually secured by a deed of trust. The mortgage company is entitled apply to the court for relief from the automatic stay, the order preventing creditor action by virtue of the bankruptcy. Depending upon several factors, you may be able to prolong a foreclosure until you have received your discharge from bankruptcy. Usually, to keep a home that is in foreclosure you will have to make a deal with the note holder.

I am divorced, will bankruptcy wipe out my obligation to pay community debts?
In general, you will be discharged from all dischargeable community debts. However, you should discuss this with your family law attorney to understand the other implications of the filing of a bankruptcy during the pendency of a dissolution action (divorce case). Also, remember that if you are discharged from community debts, your spouse is responsible for the entire balance owing on the debt. Put another way, they shift the responsibility on to you.

Are there any debts that I can't wipe out in bankruptcy?
Yes, there are certain debts that are NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy. Generally speaking, the following debts will not be discharged: Taxes; Spousal and Child Support; Debts arising out of willful misconduct and or malicious misconduct by the debtor; liability for injury or death from driving while intoxicated; non-dischargeable debts from a prior bankruptcy; student loans and criminal fines, penalties and forfeitures. Those debts which are secured will be discharged, however, expect the creditor to take the necessary legal steps to take back the property. In most cases if the debtor's equity interest in the property is exempt, the debtor may retain the property by redemption or reaffirmation.

This information deals with Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy. Each state has its own bankruptcy laws, so you need to check with your state for details. Information dealing with Chapter 13 bankruptcy and consumer debt restructuring is not discussed in the above FAQs. The information contained in the following FAQs is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion nor legal advice nor is it intended to be a complete discussion of all the issues related to the area of Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy. Every individual's factual situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice regarding specific information.

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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