Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana

Life's curveballs can sideline you from meeting your financial needs. When going through financial hardship, declaring bankruptcy may be a feasible option to remedy your situation. In Louisiana, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While many people fear that bankruptcy carries a negative connotation, it can actually be just the tool needed to offer a fresh start. A one-on-one consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney can put you on the path towards financial freedom.

If you are going through a difficult financial situation and considering filing for bankruptcy, you don't have to go through it alone. Contact the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap, to discuss your situation and receive knowledgeable guidance. I’m proud to serve clients throughout Shreveport, Minden, Bossier City, Mansfield, and Webster Parish, Louisiana, as well as Marshall, Texas.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as "liquidation” bankruptcy, helps individuals and businesses eliminate most of their general unsecured debts. When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee (an independent contractor appointed by the settlor or court to oversee your bankruptcy case) will collect and sell all your nonexempt assets. The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off some or all your creditors.

Nonexempt assets are those items or belongings that can be sold by the court. These include family heirlooms, stocks, bonds, second homes, second cars, vacation homes, cash, bank accounts, and other investments. However, you will be allowed to keep exempt items such as your house, primary vehicle, furniture pieces, household appliances, clothing, and other similar possessions.

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What Does Chapter 7 Do?

Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows individuals and organizations to:

  • Discharge Your Unsecured Debts: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge your general unsecured debts. These include medical bills, credit card debts, and unsecured personal loans.
  • Activate Automatic Stay: Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will place an "automatic stay" on your existing debts. This prevents creditors and collection agencies from collecting payments, harassing you, and garnishing your wages.
  • Stop a Repossession, Foreclosure, or Eviction: Also, the automatic stay will stop debt collectors from repossessing your property, foreclosing on your home, or evicting you from your home.

What Chapter 7 Doesn't Do

Contrary to popular belief, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not leave you destitute. You will still be left with what you need (exempt assets) for a fresh start. However, there are several things Chapter 7 can't do for you:

  • Eliminate Alimony and Child Support Obligations: Chapter 7 won't relieve you of your responsibility to pay child support and/or alimony. Only a family court order can suspend alimony and child support obligations.
  • Eliminate Student Loan Debts: Chapter 7 bankruptcy won't eradicate your student loan debts, except in very limited cases.
  • Eliminate Other Non-dischargeable Debts: If you file for Chapter 7, debts such as fines and penalties, criminal restitution, and most federal, state, and local taxes, will not be eliminated.

Qualifying for Chapter 7

Filing for Chapter 7 requires that you have received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in Louisiana within the past six months. The course can be taken online and generally takes 2 hours to complete. This is to ensure that you understand all your bankruptcy options. Also, you will have to take a debtor education course to get a bankruptcy discharge.

To qualify for Chapter 7 in Louisiana, your income must be less than the state’s median income for your household size:

  • One-person household – $44,822
  • Family of two – $54,424
  • Family of three – $61,917
  • Family of four – $80,818

*Add $9,000 for each household in excess of 4 members.

If your income is above the Louisiana median income for your household size, you will be required to complete the Louisiana bankruptcy means test to qualify for Chapter 7. This will examine all your financial records and determine the possibility of paying your unsecured debts through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

When Is Chapter 7 a Good Debt Relief Option?

Chapter 7 is a good debt relief option if:

  • You own little property
  • You have medical bills, credit card balances, and personal loans
  • Your family income is less than the state's median for your household size

Declaring bankruptcy should never be seen as a sign of defeat. Rather, it should be viewed as an opportunity to get the fresh financial start you deserve. Call the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap, to speak with a knowledgeable Louisiana bankruptcy attorney.

Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana

If you are going through financial hardship and considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you don't have to go through it alone. Call the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap today to schedule a free consultation. I can provide detailed guidance throughout the bankruptcy process. I proudly serve clients throughout Shreveport, Minden, Bossier City, Mansfield, and Webster Parish, Louisiana, as well as Marshall, Texas.