Managing your finances can be difficult. Bills add up quickly and just as you pay one off, another one arrives in the mail. Bankruptcy can provide a solution to those struggling with debt. It is meant to give people a fresh start. It can be a difficult process, however, and having an attorney who understands the law is important.
The team at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne, P.A. understands that many good people go through financial hardships, and we are here to help you get through this difficult time, so you can come out of the process with a new beginning to your financial life. Our team has over 40 years of experience helping those struggling with debt in Baldwin County and surrounding counties. We have extensive knowledge of all of the different types of bankruptcy options, the complexities involved with each, and how to determine which option is best for our clients.
Get Answers to Your Bankruptcy Questions
It is common to have a lot of concerns when considering bankruptcy. You likely have a lot of questions. Will I be able to keep my house? Will I still owe money at the end of the process? How long does this process take?
Our attorneys have the answers and are here to listen. We understand your concerns and the stress that money can put on someone. If you are dealing with personal finances, we can help you with consumer bankruptcy. Perhaps your company is struggling, and you need advice on a commercial bankruptcy. We have experience in both and can help you explore your options during this confusing time.
Our lawyers understand the nuances of the federal bankruptcy code, and we can offer skilled guidance whether you are a consumer, struggling business owner, or a creditor. We have a vast amount of experience representing all sides, which helps us understand the law even more. Bankruptcy can be tricky for everyone involved. So, if you live in Fairhope, Daphne, Bay Minette, Loxley, Foley, Robertsdale, the Gulf Shores, or anywhere in South Alabama, let us help you.
Our office can help you file bankruptcy in the following areas:
- Chapter 7: Commonly referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy” or “straight bankruptcy”, Chapter 7 is the type of bankruptcy consumers use to get rid of most types of unsecured debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to discharge debts such as credit cards, medical bills, and most personal loans. It is important to note that student loans are not dischargeable through Chapter 7, and the same holds true for most types of tax debt.
- Chapter 13: When someone earns a fairly good wage but also has a lot of debts, they may not qualify for Chapter 7. But those who are in this situation can still obtain some relief through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is essentially a court-supervised debt consolidation/reorganization that allows the filer to obtain protection from creditors and protect their assets from liquidation while setting up a workable debt repayment plan that typically runs for three to five years.
- Chapter 11: Chapter 11 is a type of commercial bankruptcy that allows businesses to reorganize and set up a workable plan to pay their debts while they continue operations. Businesses of all sizes have successfully used Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the past to stay afloat during difficult financial times. This is the most complex type of bankruptcy filing and companies who use this benefit greatly from the experience of seasoned bankruptcy attorneys.
- Chapter 12: Chapter 12 is a unique form of bankruptcy that is set up to help family-run farms or fishing businesses that are facing insurmountable debts. Chapter 12 bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 in that it is a debt reorganization plan. This type of bankruptcy has been used by many Alabama farmers and fishing businesses (particularly those on the Gulf Shores) to regain their financial footing during tough times.
What Will Happen to My Credit if I File for Bankruptcy?
One of the most common concerns that people have about filing for bankruptcy is what it will do to their credit score. We rely on our credit scores to qualify for financing to purchase a home, a car, or other items. A good credit score can also help ensure that we receive the best interest rates and that we are able to get credit card accounts with more favorable terms and conditions.
Given the importance of our credit scores, it is understandable that this would be one of the top concerns for those who are considering filing for bankruptcy. It is important to keep in mind, however, that if you are in a circumstance where you are overwhelmed with debt, behind on your payments, and not sure how you will be able to get out of it, then it is likely that your credit score is already severely damaged.
There are a number of different factors that are used to calculate our credit scores, and one of the most crucial is our timeliness in making our payments. If you consistently make your payments on or before their due dates, this has a very positive effect on your credit score. But if you get behind and even a couple of payments – as in more than 30 days late – then your score starts to decrease rapidly.
If you file for bankruptcy, it will stay on your credit report for seven years if it is a Chapter 13, and 10 years if it is a Chapter 7. This will affect your credit score negatively in the short term, but again, your credit score is probably already pretty low if you are in this situation to begin with.
But the main objective of bankruptcy is that, over time, you will be able to rebuild. With most or all of your unsecured debts discharged, you will not have any more late payments to worry about, and hopefully having these debt obligations removed will allow you to make ends meet.
As the years go by, the importance of your bankruptcy on your credit report will gradually diminish. And if you are able to consistently make on-time payments post-bankruptcy, your credit score will start to go back up. If you keep this up for a few years, you will be in a much better financial position, and your credit will be much better as well.
Contact Our Knowledgeable and Compassionate South Alabama Bankruptcy Attorneys
If you are dealing with a large amount of debt and you are not sure what to do next, Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne, P.A. is here to help. For a free consultation to discuss your legal options, message us online or call our offices today at 251-279-0982.