2005 Bankruptcy Law Changes Explained by a Bankruptcy Lawyer
Though bankruptcy laws do not frequently change, in 2005 Congress enacted many amendments to the Bankruptcy Code that primarily affect consumers who need to file a bankruptcy case. The amendments made very few changes that affect business bankruptcy filings. Erin B. Shank, P.C., has filed thousands of bankruptcy cases since the 2005 Amendments were enacted and is very familiar with the new laws. Many people believe that the Amendments somehow prohibit individuals from filing a bankruptcy case. This is simply not true.
Here are some of the significant changes brought about by the 2005 Amendments:
You can now only receive a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case every eight years. Chapter 13 cases can be filed more frequently. The Amendments did not affect a consumer’s ability to file what is commonly referred to as a “Chapter 20″ bankruptcy case. A “Chapter 20″ is a case in which an individual files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and discharges all debt except non-dischargeable debt (i.e. most taxes). A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed after the Chapter 7 discharge is received and the Chapter 13 allows the debtor to pay only the non-dischargeable debt with a low interest rate over up to five years. Our office files many “Chapter 20″ cases each year to assist people discharge all of their dischargeable debt and then be afforded a court protected repayment plan to pay only their non-dischargeable debt.
All individuals filing any type of bankruptcy must now attend a credit counseling session prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case and a debtor education class during their bankruptcy case. Our clients fulfill the first requirement by participating in a simple internet budgeting session. Individuals filing a bankruptcy case with our office fulfill the second requirement by watching a very educational and humorous DVD created by talk show host and author Dave Ramsey. Mr. Ramsey’s DVD was specifically created to counsel clients who have filed a bankruptcy case and gives our clients excellent information regarding their financial life after bankruptcy. The costs for both of these courses are included in the fees you pay our firm to file the bankruptcy cases for you. Incorporated businesses do not need to attend either of these sessions.
The 2005 Amendments made the documentation now required to file a consumer bankruptcy case much more extensive. We must obtain copies of your past two income tax returns, you and your spouse’s pay stubs for the six months preceding the filing of your case, bank statements for the six months preceding the filing of your case, and a printout of the bank activity on all of your bank accounts for the 60 days preceding the filing of your case. You must also list all of your assets (which we then claim as exempt in the bankruptcy case) and all of your creditors. These documents are signed by you and your spouse under the penalty of perjury. However, don’t worry, our paralegals and legal assistants will help you compile these documents and prepare a first draft of your bankruptcy paperwork. You will then meet with Erin Shank for at least two hours reviewing these documents to make sure that they are perfect before your case is filed. During this session with Ms. Shank, you will review each page of your bankruptcy documentation on dual computer screens in Ms. Shank’s office and she will make all of the appropriate changes to make sure your bankruptcy paperwork is complete and accurate. Ms. Shank has been representing clients file bankruptcy cases for three decades and knows how to prepare these documents so that they comply with all bankruptcy law requirements. Erin teaches other attorneys and paralegals how to correctly prepare these forms at legal seminars over the U.S. and Texas. She makes preparation of these complicated documents appear painless.
If you are considering filing a bankruptcy case in Central Texas, please call us. We will be happy to review your financial situation and explain the process to you and your spouse in a free, initial consultation. Please bring your spouse with you to that consultation, even if your spouse will not be joining you in the bankruptcy filing, so that your spouse can hear our explanation of the bankruptcy process and ask any appropriate questions. Erin will counsel you and your spouse for several hours the day that your case is filed. She will also personally be with you in every court appearance. Our goal is your financial freedom – and with three decades of experience practicing exclusively bankruptcy law, this Waco bankruptcy attorney and Killeen bankruptcy attorney has the knowledge to get you there!