Hipp/Kaiser-Hipp, Attorneys at Law

Frequently Asked Questions - Answered

I am in financial trouble but my spouse is not.  Can I file bankruptcy alone?

Yes.  You can file individually but any debt which is joint debt (you both owe) will be discharged only as to you and your spouse will still owe it.  Often, when a couple is newly married one will come into the marriage having substantial debt while the other has little or none.  In this instance it would make good sense for the one having little or no debt to not file.

Will I lose my home in Bankruptcy?

People  seldom lose their homes in bankruptcy.  It all depends on how much equity you have in the property and the type of bankruptcy you file.  In fact filing a bankruptcy can actually help you to not lose your home to foreclosure.  Contact us and we can quickly analyze your financial situation and give you options.  You will need to know the fair market value of the house and the amount you owe on any and all mortgages.

Will I lose my car in bankruptcy?

People seldom lose their cars or trucks in bankruptcy.  Like a house, it all depends on how much equity you have in the vehicle and the type of bankruptcy you file.  In fact, filing a bankruptcy can actually result in preventing a repossession, paying a lesser amount for the car, or in lower monthly payments.  Contact us and we can quickly analyze your financial situation and give you options. You will need to know the fair market value of the vehicle and the amount you owe on it.

Will filing bankruptcy ruin my credit?

If you are considering filing bankruptcy your credit is probably already not the greatest.  Filing bankruptcy can actually improve your credit because you get discharged of your old debt, that detracts from your dispossable monthy income, and frees up more of your future income to take on new debt.  Also, since you cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for 8 years, the lenders consider you "ripe for the picking."  Most of our clients are surprised at how many credit card offers they get in the mail approximately two months after their discharge.  And, if you successfully complete a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you show to potential creditors that you have learned how to live within a budget. 

Do I have to go into court and testify in front of a judge?

Only on very rare occasions do debtors have to go into court.  You will have to attend a Meeting of Creditors where you will be required to answer a limited number of questions under oath from a Bankruptcy trustee.  It is a very relaxed proceeding.  You essentially sit at a cafeteria type table and your answers are recorded.  An attorney from our firm will be at the meeting with you and will go over the questions that you will be asked prior to the meeting.  Although creditors are permitted to be present and ask you relevant questions, they almost never appear.  In the last two years the only "creditor" that appeared at a meeting was an ex-spouse who just wanted one last opportunity to try to trash my client.  The meeting with the Trustee lasts only about 5 minutes.  You generally spend more time waiting to be called than actually answering questions.

How long  does the whole process take?

Generally, a debtor receives a discharge within 130 days from the date their completed petition and schedules are filed.

Will everyone know that I filed Bankruptcy?

​Although the filing of bankruptcy is in the public records, unless you are a movie star, rock star, superstar athlete or politician generally no one knows you filed bankruptcy, unless you tell them.

I see where I can get a kit and file bankruptcy by myself.  Is this a good idea?

You can go to Home Depot, get a pair of pliers and pull your own tooth.  Just like it is advisable to have a dentist pull a bad tooth, it is advisable to retain a competent lawyer to help you file your bankruptcy.  We have helped over 1,000 clients to successfully get through their bankruptcies.  Is this really a Do-it-Yourself project you want to take on?