Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Attorney in Lees Summit, MO

Unforeseen events lead to financial problems

Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. An unexpected illness leads to excessive medical bills. The loss of a job places you in a situation where you can’t pay the regular household expenses. A divorce happens and you find yourself stuck with extra debt but only one source of income. Or maybe, you’ve just encountered financial struggles where the bills are piling up and you don’t see a way out. Contact us for a free consultation about whether bankruptcy might be a viable option for you.

Our Firm Offers Full-Service Consumer Bankruptcy Services

Bankruptcy can seem like an overwhelming decision, but it doesn't have to be. With the right professionals on your side, bankruptcy can be a logical and beneficial process to get you back on track financially. Our firm offers full-service consumer bankruptcy services to individuals. We handle both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. During our initial consultation, we will discuss your overall financial situation and advise you which type of bankruptcy would be best for you.

We Handle Our Cases Efficiently

We understand that bankruptcy is a difficult decision, and you may be overwhelmed at present. We handle our cases efficiently so that your case can move as smoothly as possible and so you can keep the legal fees to a minimum. Every client receives one-on-one attention from a licensed attorney. We understand that your case is unique and that you need a personalized solution.

You May Fear Answering Your Phone Or Opening Your Mail

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you do not have enough money to pay your bills. Creditors will pressure you to pay money you do not have. You may fear answering your phone or opening your mail. Collection agencies may be contacting you multiple times per day demanding payment on debts. You may have endured sleepless nights thinking of how to regain control of your finances. Thankfully, under bankruptcy laws, you can take control of your finances and enjoy a stress-free financial future. Hundreds of thousands of Americans and businesses—at all income levels—have filed for bankruptcy. Hundreds of thousands more will need to file for bankruptcy in order to gain traction on their debt. You are not alone in your financial difficulty.

Regardless of whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

There Are Certain Protections That Are Automatically Triggered As Soon As Your Case Is Filed:

Creditors can no longer contact you in an attempt to collect debts.

Creditors cannot repossess your vehicle if you are behind in payments.

Creditors cannot begin foreclosure proceedings on your property if you are behind on mortgage payments. If the foreclosure process has already started, it must immediately stop while your case is pending.

Creditors cannot file lawsuits against you for money owed. If a lawsuit is currently pending against you, it must immediately stop while your case is pending.

Creditors cannot garnish any wages from your paychecks once your case is filed. If they have already started garnishments when you file, they must immediately file a release of garnishment with the court and provide a copy to your employer, which lets the employer know to stop taking money from your paychecks.

If creditors violate any of these rules they are violating what is called the “Automatic Stay” and they can face serious consequences from the Bankruptcy Court if it can be proven that they knew about the bankruptcy and willfully violated the automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy code.

Click on the links below to learn about the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, as well as some frequently asked questions about the bankruptcy process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I ever be able to get credit again after I file bankruptcy?

Absolutely. A bankruptcy can actually clean up your credit report in the sense that your credit report should show zero balances owed to your unsecured creditors, rather than the tens of thousands of dollars that you may currently owe, and may reflect better than repossessions, foreclosures, or even late payments. Bankruptcy will typically improve your debt-to-income ratio, which is an important factor that many creditors consider when extending new credit. Although a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, most people resume normal credit activities immediately after receiving their discharge. The interest rates may not be prime, and some waiting periods may apply, but you can begin reestablishing your credit immediately, as long as you stay current on your payments. As an example, assuming you take steps to rebuild your credit and stay current on payments after you receive your discharge, you may be able to qualify for an FHA mortgage in as little as two years after your case is complete.

Do I get to keep my personal belongings if I file bankruptcy?

Yes. You will usually be allowed to keep all of your household goods. Other essential items may also be protected if they fall within the exemption guidelines. The only time you may not be able to protect belongings in a Chapter 7 case is if you have high value or luxury items, such as expensive jewelry, fur coats, or expensive designer clothing. However, if this is the case then you still have the ability to keep those items if you file a Chapter 13 case, and if all requirements are met.

What is the difference between secured and unsecured debt?

Secured debt, such as mortgages, car loans, etc., is debt that is secured by property. Creditors can generally claim the property that secures the debt in the event of bankruptcy, unless you are current on the payments. Unsecured debt, such as credit card balances, medical bills, etc., is debt that is not secured by any type of property.

Can I keep my home if I file bankruptcy?

Yes. Depending on which set of exemptions you are required to use (Federal, Missouri, or Kansas), there are ways to protect your home. In Kansas, if the home is your primary residence, you generally have an unlimited amount of equity you can protect. If you are required to use Federal or Missouri exemptions, then there are limits to how much you can protect. However, if you have more equity in your home than you can protect, you can still file under Chapter 13 and keep your home, assuming the repayment plan you propose meets certain requirements. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can explain the specifics of what must be included in a valid Chapter 13 plan.

Additionally, if you are behind in payments on your mortgage, you are able to stop any foreclosure on your home by filing a Chapter 13 case and making up the missed payments over the life of your plan.

If your home is “upside down,” meaning you owe more on the home than it’s worth, we might recommend that you voluntarily surrender the home, which allows you to get out from under that crushing monthly debt and purchase or rent a less expensive home after bankruptcy.

Can I keep my vehicle if I file bankruptcy?

Yes. Under bankruptcy law, you are allowed to protect a certain amount of equity in motor vehicles. Equity is determined by subtracting the amount that you owe on your motor vehicle from the fair market value of your motor vehicle. If you have too much equity in your motor vehicle to protect it in Chapter 7, you always have the option of filing under Chapter 13. Chapter 13 has different rules, and you simply have to propose a plan to keep the vehicle and pay the non-protected amount over a period of time.

The automatic stay goes into effect the moment your bankruptcy petition is filed and protects your motor vehicle(s) from repossession during the pendency of your bankruptcy. If you have a loan on your vehicle, you MUST keep the payments current during and after the bankruptcy to avoid repossession. If you fall behind on your loan payments after filing bankruptcy, the mortgage company may ask for court permission to lift the automatic stay to repossess your motor vehicle.

If your car is “upside down,” meaning you owe more on the vehicle than it’s worth, we might recommend that you surrender the vehicle, which allows you to get out from under that crushing monthly debt, and purchase or finance a less expensive vehicle after bankruptcy.

Will I lose my retirement account if I file for bankruptcy?

Most retirement savings plans are fully protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and are fully protected in bankruptcy. Also, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) accounts are generally fully protected in bankruptcy. We can help you determine whether your specific retirement account will be protected in bankruptcy so you can keep the savings for your retirement.

What debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

The debts that cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy include the following:

  • Debts for taxes owed to local, state, or federal agencies that are less than three (3) years old.
  • Debts for money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or refinancing of credit, which were obtained fraudulently.
  • Domestic Support Obligations, such as child support, spousal support, etc.
  • Debts for most government-sponsored or -guaranteed student loans.
  • Debts arising from a court judgment for death or personal injury caused
    by the debtor’s drunk driving or from driving while under the influence of drugs or other substances.
  • Debts incurred after a bankruptcy was filed.
Can I be fired from my job because I filed for bankruptcy?

Absolutely not. 11 U.S.C. § 525 prohibits any employer from discriminating against you because you filed bankruptcy.

I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy before. When can I file again?

A new Chapter 7 case can be filed 8 years from a previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing or 6 years from a previous Chapter 13 filing.
If you find yourself in a financial situation where you feel you are drowning in debt and don’t see a way out, give us a call for a free initial consultation. We will discuss your situation with you, discuss the different options that are available to you, and help you formulate a plan to get your financial difficulties under control. The purpose of bankruptcy is to give people a fresh start. If you hire our firm to represent you, we will give your case the personal attention that it needs so that you can get the fresh start that you deserve.

Gedbaw Law Firm, LLC is a Debt Relief Agency. We help people file for Bankruptcy Relief under the Bankruptcy Code.