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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Trustworthy Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Serves Joplin, MO

Helping consumers get a fresh start for more than 30 years

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a remedy for individual consumers and couples who have large amounts of unsecured debt they can never hope to repay. By filing Chapter 7, you can shed certain debts within a few short months and get a fresh start. However, before you rush into bankruptcy, you should talk to an experienced and reputable bankruptcy attorney. Since 1984, Charles H. Lonardo, Attorney at Law has helped consumers in Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties get the relief they need. I provide personal counsel through every step of the process. A mishandled bankruptcy can leave you worse off than if you had never filed. When you retain my services, I work diligently to deliver the best results possible in your case.

Who can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri?

To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri, you must pass the means test, by showing that your average income for the six months prior to filing is below the state’s median income for a household your size. For example, if you are an individual with no dependents, and you filed Chapter 7 after November 1, 2016, your annual projected income based on the six months prior to filing would have to have been below $44,433. There are exemptions from the means test, but in most cases if your income is above the limit, you have to file Chapter 13.

What does dissolution bankruptcy mean?

Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as dissolution bankruptcy because a trustee takes charge of your nonexempt assets and sells them to repay your creditors as much as possible. However, bankruptcy law allows you to exempt certain amounts in various categories of assets, so many bankruptcy filers get to keep the majority of their property, including their vehicle, tools of their trade, clothing, jewelry and other items.

How does the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process work?

If you are a candidate for Chapter 7 and you pass the means test, it’s possible to get relief within a few short months. Major steps in the process include:

  • Consultation with a bankruptcy attorney — Bankruptcy is a big step, so you want to speak to a knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney. Gather your financials and make an appointment. When you seek my help, I review your bank statements, tax returns, credit card balances, medical bills, loan documents, mortgage, and other bills to get a complete picture of your circumstances. I can then explain the pros and cons of filing.
  • Filing the petition — The bankruptcy filing requires detailed paperwork. Omissions on your filing can prevent you from getting the full protection you deserve. For example, if you leave off any debt at all, you may forfeit your chance to have that debt discharged.
  • Automatic stay — When you file, the court issues an automatic stay, which is an order to your creditors that they may not contact you to attempt to collect what you owe.
  • Appointment of bankruptcy trustee — The court appoints someone to review your file, manage the dissolution of your assets, and facilitate the payment of your creditors. The trustee reviews the property you’ve listed, reviews your exemptions, and takes possession of nonexempt property to sell to repay your creditors as much as possible.
  • 341 meeting of creditors — About a month after filing, the trustee holds a hearing that gives your creditors the opportunity to object to the discharge of your debt. This is usually a formality, and creditors rarely attend. But if you have run up a great deal of debt immediately before filing or you have repaid large sums to family members, a creditor could allege fraud and ask that your debt not be discharged.
  • Discharge of debt — If there are no problems with your filing, the bankruptcy court discharges your eligible debt within two to three months. Eligible debt includes credit card balances, medical bills, personal loans, utility bills and other unsecured loans. Nondischargeable debt includes most student loans, recent taxes, child support and alimony.

After the court grants your discharge, the debt is gone. However, your credit rating will suffer for a period of time.

Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start but only if it’s handled properly. Mistakes and omissions can leave you in an even worse position after bankruptcy. That’s why you should only trust your case to an experienced attorney who is willing to give your case the personal attention it deserves.

Trust a reputable attorney for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties

If you are urgently seeking debt relief through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can trust Charles H. Lonardo, Attorney at Law to provide compassionate counsel and aggressive representation. My Joplin office is at 430 W 7th Street, the historic Route 66, just one block south of the Jasper County Courthouse. Call today at 417-691-8238 or contact my office online to schedule a consultation.