Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Clients Across Central Wisconsin
Serious financial challenges can happen to anyone, whether they’re brought about due to job loss, medical bills, divorce or a wide range of other issues that are difficult to avoid. While bankruptcy should never be the first method for working your way out of debt, it can provide much-needed relief when you feel as if you have no other options.
At the Stevens Point law firm of Lummis & Barkley, LLC, our skilled bankruptcy lawyers have experience assisting individuals facing a broad range of debt-related challenges. We know Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and other bankruptcy options inside and out, and we offer you personal attention and reliable advice as you make important financial decisions. We want you to know that there is hope—and we’ll find the best solutions for you.
The bankruptcy process often begins with a means test.
What is the means test?
When you believe you need to file for bankruptcy protection, one of the first steps is to go through a “means test.” Through this process, a court will examine your income, assets and property, and determine if you have the resources to pay off the debt you owe. This means test is a key indicator of whether you will need to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Helping you navigate Chapter 7 bankruptcy
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be assigned a trustee, who will cancel most or all of your debt. This process may involve liquidating certain assets and property you hold to help repay your creditors. Anyone who has not received a bankruptcy discharge within the past six years may be eligible for Chapter 7, and the entire process usually takes several months.
One important aspect of this form of bankruptcy is the automatic stay, which temporarily prohibits your creditors from pursuing the debt owed to them. During this time, creditors may not garnish your wages, make collections calls or seize any property you own.
The bankruptcy trustee, assigned by the court, will attempt to make sure your creditors receive as much money owed to them as possible, using any of your property deemed nonexempt. It’s important to note that there are some types of debt that cannot be eliminated through Chapter 7, including child support, tax obligations and student loans.
Dependable guidance on Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Many debtors are not eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which case Chapter 13 may be more appropriate. This form of bankruptcy is for individuals who have the means to eventually pay off their debt, as they have sufficient income to do so. However, they likely require a restructuring of the debt to make payments more manageable.
You may use a number of resources to pay off debt under Chapter 13, such as the following:
- Wages from your job, including self-employment and seasonal work
- Sales commissions or bonuses
- Payments from a pension plan
- Social Security retirement benefits
- Workers’ compensation or disability benefits
- Child support or spousal support
The rules and regulations associated with bankruptcy are complex, which is why it’s important to work with an attorney who understands the process and takes into account your unique needs and circumstances.
Contact a skilled Stevens Point bankruptcy attorney
To receive the sound legal guidance you need when facing bankruptcy issues, consult a dedicated attorney with Lummis & Barkley, LLC. Our office is located in Stevens Point, and we proudly serve clients in Plover, Whiting, Amherst and the rest of central Wisconsin. To get started, please call 715-341-3170 or contact us online.