Springfield Bankruptcy Attorneys
Helping Massachusetts Clients Manage Their Debt Through Bankruptcy
Overwhelming, unmanageable debt can be both embarrassing and frightening. No one wants or should have to choose between keeping up with mounting bill payments and feeding their families, but unexpected life circumstances like a divorce, loss of income, or injury can result in unanticipated financial burdens. The COVID-19 pandemic has made both job losses and exorbitant medical costs more common, creating even more scenarios where you are suddenly awash with unplanned debt.
You do not have to shoulder that burden alone. Though the practice of filing for bankruptcy has become unfairly stigmatized as a sign of weakness or failure, it is actually one of the most powerful tools in helping individuals reclaim control of their lives from debt and build toward more stable financial futures.
While you can technically file for bankruptcy on your own, it can be easy to make errors in your filing that could jeopardize the success of your application. You may also be required to negotiate with creditors and a bankruptcy court.
To leverage the maximum benefits bankruptcy can offer, you will need the legal services of our Springfield bankruptcy lawyers at Hare, Stamm, Harris & O’Connor, LLC. Together, our attorneys have more than 100 years of legal experience and can help strategize on how to best preserve your assets as you prepare to enter bankruptcy. Our goal is to help guide you toward a fresh financial slate while keeping your financial estate as intact as possible.
If you are facing overwhelming debt, explore how bankruptcy can help you by scheduling an initial consultation with Hare, Stamm, Harris & O’Connor, LLC. Dial (413) 251-6232 or contact us online today!
Types of Consumer Bankruptcy
There are two types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most individuals will only qualify for one or the other.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy,” as your estate will go through a liquidation process in which a trustee sells your nonexempt property to repay debtors. That might sound scary, but the idea that you will lose most or all of your property is a myth. An experienced attorney can help minimize liquidated assets and strategically manage your estate so you lose as little as possible. In many cases, filers can lose nothing!
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge certain types of debt. They also both grant you an “Automatic Stay” as soon as you file, freezing all collections actions against you. This means creditors will no longer be able to harass you for the duration of your bankruptcy and attempts to foreclose any of your property will be halted. In other words, filing for either type of consumer bankruptcy will end the annoying calls from collections agents and potentially save your home and car.
Which Type of Bankruptcy Do I Qualify for?
In the state of Massachusetts, you are required to complete a credit counseling course up to 6 months before filing for either type of consumer bankruptcy as well as take a financial management module after receiving bankruptcy relief. Then, your income and expenses will need to be evaluated to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7.
In order to be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your household’s income for the previous 6 months must be lower than the Massachusetts median income level. If your household’s income is higher than the median, you will need to pass the Massachusetts Means Test to qualify.
The Means Test involves calculating all qualifying forms of income over the past 6 months and subtracting regular qualifying expenses. The result will establish your household’s disposable income, which will in turn determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Establishing your disposable income on your own can be frustratingly complex, as Massachusetts law has numerous rules and exemptions on what types of incomes and expenses should factor into your calculations. Our experienced bankruptcy lawyers can help you conduct a thorough review of your finances to ensure you arrive at the correct determination for which bankruptcy type you qualify.
You do not have to navigate the often-confusing bankruptcy process on your own. Our Springfield bankruptcy attorneys at Hare, Stamm, Harris & O’Connor, LLC can assist you at each step of the process, including confirming your eligibility, assisting in your preparation of filing documents, representing you in court and in negotiations with creditors, and recommending steps to optimize your estate and finances. We understand how stressful dealing with debt can be, especially amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so we strive to make the bankruptcy process as simple as possible for you.