Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives you a fresh start in your financial life. It's available for people who simply cannot pay off their debts. If you qualify for Chapter 7, your unsecured debts can be completely discharged. You will not have to pay those debts.
But Chapter 7 can do even more for you:
- You will immediately be protected from harassment by creditors. They cannot contact you by phone or by mail, or use any means outside of the bankruptcy court to collect on your past debts.
- Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stop creditors from taking your paychecks (called attachment). Not only that, Rhode Island bankruptcy lawyer Chris Lefebvre may be able to help you recoup some or all of the money that was taken from you in the 90 days before you filed for bankruptcy.
- Another valuable benefit: depending upon your situation, we can often stop a foreclosure proceeding, buying you time to renegotiate or restructure your mortgage.
Contact the Rhode Island Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys at The Family and Consumer Law Center. Our lawyers handle both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy for clients throughout Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. Call 401-728-6060 for a free initial consultation.
Do You Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
That's the first thing our bankruptcy attorneys will determine when we begin working with you. Chapter 7 has a "means test" that looks at your income, assets and debts. Most people considering bankruptcy have tried everything they can think of to pay off their debts so they have few assets left and even fewer options. That means most people who want to qualify for Chapter 7, will fit under the guidelines of the means test. If you don't, we will then look at Chapter 13 debt reorganization.
Will All Your Debts Be Discharged?
It depends on what kind of debts you have. Student loan payments, child support, and some tax liabilities cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Also, you will need to make a decision about secured debts (like a car or home loan). You cannot keep the property and discharge the debt so you will need to reaffirm that you will pay those loans or relinquish that property.
It's also important to know that only those debts declared in the bankruptcy filing can be discharged. If you forget to include a loan or a credit card, that creditor can still come after you so be sure to fill out the bankruptcy documents accurately and completely.
What About Personal Property in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Rhode Island is a debtor-friendly state with a $500,000 exemption for a principal home, a primary vehicle, and retirement account exemptions. Most people who file bankruptcy are able to retain most of their assets.
Massachusetts does not have the same high limits for personal exemptions but you can expect to retain a primary vehicle and retirement accounts.
Don't let fear of losing your property stop you from considering personal bankruptcy. Talk to one of our bankruptcy lawyers and then decide. Contact our Pawtucket office or call us at 401-728-6060 (toll-free at 800-851-1829). We also have a satellite office in Providence.