If you want to have a fresh financial start, then a bankruptcy discharge can release you from personal liability for certain specific types of debts. Simply put, you are no longer legally required to pay any debts that are discharged by the Oklahoma court.
A court-ordered discharge is a permanent order prohibiting all your discharged creditors from taking any form of collection action against you on any of your discharged debt. This includes legal action and all communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts.
There are certain caveats, however, and although you are not personally liable for discharged debts, a valid lien (a filing upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided in the bankruptcy case may remain. So, it is possible that a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien. Your Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyer will advise you of exactly what can be discharged, and what types of debt may be exempt. They will also provide possible legal remedies for these specific debts if they exist.
Although bankruptcy is probably your best answer if you want a fresh start, there are alternatives that your discharge attorney will discuss with you.
Some of these non-bankruptcy alternatives are:
- Negotiating with creditors – Your bankruptcy lawyer may be able to arrange new terms with your creditors.
- Consolidation loans – Often (if you are able) taking one large loan to pay other loans helps a lot. It gives you one payment instead of many, and usually at a lower interest rate.
- Credit counseling – This is a tricky area, as reputable “credit counseling” companies are hard to find. It should be done with the help of your lawyer.
- Defending an action brought on a debt that is disputed – Here again, your lawyer can defend against a single debt that may be illegal.
What legal action you decide upon is solely dependent on your financial situation. If bankruptcy can be avoided, your professional debt discharge lawyer will go over all details of your finances and you can proceed using whatever legal means is in your, and your families, best interests.
What Are Some Factors That Show Me I May Need to File Bankruptcy?
If you, and your family, feel like you’re drowning in debt and having trouble keeping up with your payments while handling your living expenses, you should at least have begun to consider bankruptcy. If you are in serious, and at times undeserved, financial distress then bankruptcy will provide relief and a rightful legal chance to get a clean financial start.
By the time you get to this point, however, you’ve probably already attempted many other methods to manage your debt.
If it’s time to file, some of the “red flags” to look for are:
- You’re in danger of losing your home – You are two or more months behind in your mortgage, and your lender is becoming threatening.
- You’re using loans to pay your bills – You are taking out short-term, high-interest loans to pay bills.
- You’re liquidating your retirement or other assets – You are forced to cash in 401k’s, life insurance, etc. to stay afloat.
- Debt collectors call relentlessly – This can be incredibly stressful and interfere with your life, your relationships, and your family’s well being.
If you are experiencing any of the above factors, you should consult with an Oklahoma City bankruptcy attorney to discuss all your options and professionally determine how you can be helped.
What Debts Can I Discharge in an Oklahoma Bankruptcy?
An Oklahoma bankruptcy is capable of discharging many of your debts, including some you might not have even imagined.
Some examples of these types of debt are:
Almost all credit card debts can be discharged in an Oklahoma bankruptcy. This also means, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will not usually have to repay any of this debt at all.
However, a couple of caveats may apply to this situation.
· If you charged up credit cards knowing that you were going to file bankruptcy, and one of your creditors proves it, you cannot include those debts in your case. The same rule applies if you lied about something like your income to get the credit. Concurrently, you could be prosecuted for bankruptcy fraud depending on the situation.
- Any medical bills can usually be discharged in bankruptcy.
- Most unsecured loans, lines of credit, etc. can be included in the bankruptcy and discharged.
You probably believe you cannot discharge debts such as motor vehicle loans. Indeed, you’ll never walk away with a car and no debt, but part of a secured loan (such as an auto loan) may be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge.
For example, you owe $9,000 on your car, but it is only currently worth $4,000. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may reduce that debt to the actual value of the collateral. This will save you money and let you keep your vehicle.
Your bankruptcy lawyer may work out payment arrangements and “reaffirm” a secured debt. This will help you save what you need to maintain your life but still be left standing on a firm financial footing.
What Type of Debts Cannot Be Discharged?
There are a few types of debt that usually cannot be discharged, they are:
- Child support and alimony.
- Fines, penalties, and restitution you owe for breaking the law.
- Certain types of tax debts.
- All debts arising out of someone’s death or injury because of your intoxicated driving.
So, depending on your situation, bankruptcy can be an invaluable source of financial relief for you but is not a panacea.
I Do Feel That I Should File for Bankruptcy, Where Do I Start?
Your reasons for considering bankruptcy are specific, and all the details need to be discussed with a professional, empathetic, and aggressive bankruptcy, debt discharge law firm that has your best interests in mind. The Oklahoma City firm of Mitchell & Hammond has successfully worked scores of bankruptcies, and debt discharge cases for their clients. Consult with them as soon as possible and get the professional help and advice you need to get back on a bright financial future for you, and your family.