You work each and every day to provide a decent living for your family. Unfortunately, emergencies can happen, plans can change, and unforeseen circumstances can wreak havoc on your financial plans.
So what do you do? Maybe you start by "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul," but sooner or later interest payments alone become more than you can afford. You try to tread water for as long as you can. But once your home or vehicle is in jeopardy or you discover that you might get sued, you need real options. You need powerful options that will allow you to protect your most important assets. You need clear direction on what rights you have and the pros and cons about filing bankruptcy. You need to know what debts bankruptcy will eliminate, what debts it will reduce (and by how much), and how bankruptcy will affect your credit score.
Does all this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Every year, nearly a million people in the U.S. file for consumer bankruptcy (either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13). Most of them, we've discovered, are honest, hard-working folks who have diligently tried to pay their debts. But due to unforeseen circumstances, they find themselves caught in the interest rate trap, without any realistic chance of escape on their own.
Is Personal Bankruptcy Right for Me?
Let's face it. Declaring bankruptcy can be a scary proposition for a lot of people. Even the idea of bankruptcy often causes people to think it involves shirking moral obligations and that one should therefore feel guilt. This is partly because the credit card industry has invested a lot of money trying to persuade the public that a person's value and even moral character is tied to his or her credit score. We know better. Most of the time, when people need to file for bankruptcy there is either a health crisis that made it difficult or impossible to work, or perhaps there's a divorce situation, or maybe an aging parent or disabled child that required constant attention. Most of the time there are unforeseen circumstances that caused an honest, and hard-working family to get behind on their bills, despite their best efforts. The reality is that people often have moral obligations that conflict with the obligation to pay high interest to a credit card company. Both may be important, but something has to give.
For example, many parents feel that their teenagers or even their little ones should not get uprooted from their social circles and moved from school to school as a result of the parents' financial crisis. Young people will be more likely to succeed in life if they feel secure, knowing that they will have a roof over their heads and that their parents will have a way to and from work. Other important obligations may include being at home in the evening hours when the children need particular guidance and attention or taking care of one's health, which can conflict with working two or more jobs.
We have discovered that when conscientious people begin to reflect on the totality of these sometimes conflicting obligations, they often see more clearly as they navigate through these difficult waters. In the end, in some cases, bankruptcy may not be the best option. However, in many cases bankruptcy is a smart option and a good option, because it provides a way for people to take care of their highest priorities, while still paying back as much as they can reasonably afford in a 3- to 5-year bankruptcy plan.
For example, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a powerful way to help you keep the things you need (such as your home and your vehicles) while still paying back as much as you reasonably can. If handled correctly, Chapter 13 can help you…
- Legitimately consolidate payment of debts.
- Prevent home foreclosures and automobile repossessions.
- Stop the IRS garnishment of wages for back taxes.
- Immediately stop lawsuits for unpaid bills and debts.
- Immediately stop calls from harassing creditors.
- Get back the sense of financial control you need.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, allows an individual (or a married couple) to get a "fresh start" by wiping out (discharging) most unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills and signature loans. In most instances there is no actual liquidation of property, because here in Texas most assets are exempt (protected) from the claims of creditors. There are some exceptions to the discharge, wherein certain debts won't go away, such as student loans and child support. There are also exceptions to the ability to keep every asset that one owns. (A second home is not exempt, as a general rule, for example.) The point here is that even in a Chapter 7, which is supposed to be a liquidation, you can usually keep your homestead, your vehicle, and your necessities, while at the same time discharging the crushing credit card bills and other unsecured debts. You should discuss options with a qualified attorney to see if a Chapter 7 is right for you. You may discover that bankruptcy may be the safest lifeline you have against a stormy sea of debt—and we are here to use that lifeline to pull you to shore.
What Happens First in the Bankruptcy Process?
Your initial questions will be about the approach itself. You may be asking:
- Should you seriously consider Bankruptcy?
- What type of case should you pursue: Chapter 7 or 13?
- How do you plan to make decisions?
- Who should you trust and why?
To answer these questions, you need to first try to read up about bankruptcy, and then you'll need to talk to experts you can trust. We have provided material on this website (written and video) that should help you evaluate whether bankruptcy might be a good option for you. At any time, you can also call us and we can help you evaluate options and get your questions answered.
Why Should You Choose the Bankruptcy Attorneys of the Packard Law Firm?
Once you spend time going over your situation with experienced professionals at the Packard Law Firm, your options will start to become a lot clearer. Our board certified consumer bankruptcy attorney, David B. Packard, has been practicing bankruptcy law for over 20 years here in Texas. The following three principles underlie everything we do, and they are the reason we will succeed on your case.
Integrity: We believe that all relationships are built upon trust. For you to have genuine trust, not only must our services be highly skilled and knowledgeable, but also we must be honest and forthright in our dealings. We take professionalism and honesty seriously, and we pledge to help you succeed without compromising anyone's integrity—yours or ours.
Communication: We also know that our clients must feel understood from the outset. We cannot realistically expect to provide advice to clients until we sufficiently listen and seek first to understand. We work dilligently to establish a safe, confidential and stress-free environment so that you can discuss, not just the immediate crisis at hand, but your overall financial goals. Only after we understand the big picture—the totality of your situation—are we able to effectively go over different options and help you select the best one. Sometimes bankruptcy is what you need, and sometimes it's not. But what you always need is someone who will give you sound advice and who will listen to you with a nonjudgmental ear.
Affordability: Precisely because of the reason you contacted us in the first place, being able to afford your attorney is obviously of paramount concern. We do understand this! We have developed payment plans and options that make paying the fees and costs associated with bankruptcy much more realistic. For example, in a Chapter 13, your attorney's fees will usually be about $100 up front, with the balance of the fee being paid as part of the overall bankruptcy plan.
You don’t have to keep drowning in debt! Take a breath, and allow us to help you swim toward a brighter financial future. Fill out our contact page or call us at 210-340-8877 for a free bankruptcy consultation. Our office is located in San Antonio, and we’re proud to represent people throughout the entire region. Come see how our skill and experience can help you and your family regain control and put the crisis behind you.