Ellett Law Offices, P.C.

Since 1993, Ellett Law Offices has provided thousands of clients with quality bankruptcy attorney representation. Bankruptcy law is complicated but you will be guided through the process by a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Which Debts are not Dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

October 6, 2014 by  
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debtMost American households have several different kinds of debts and unfortunately, many people struggle to make timely payments on all of them. If you are struggling financially, you should not hesitate to contact the Ellett Law Offices, P.C. in Phoenix to discuss whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you. We offer free consultations, so please call us today at 602-235-9510 for assistance.

Nondischargeable debts

The United States Bankruptcy Courts report that Chapter 7 bankruptcy helped over 700,000 Americans in 2013 alone. While the main goal of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discharge debts in order to relieve liability, filing under Chapter 7 is not necessarily the best option for everyone struggling with debts. One reason for this is because not every type of debt qualifies for discharge.

Under 11 U.S. Code § 523 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the following types of debts are not eligible for discharge under Chapter 7:

  • Student loans (except in rare cases)
  • Child support or alimony arrears
  • Debts arising from judgments related to a divorce
  • Attorney fees for cases involving child support or custody
  • Fines or penalties owed to the government
  • Federal tax liens
  • Certain types of homeowners association fees for condos or coops
  • Criminal fines, penalties, and restitution
  • Personal injury judgments due to accidents you caused while driving under the influence

In other situations, a creditor may come forward and challenge a discharge based on certain grounds. If the court agrees with the challenge, the court may rule the debt nondischargeable. Grounds for such challenges commonly include that you obtained the debt through fraudulent actions or false pretenses, or that the debt arose from willful or malicious actions on your part.

Creditors may also challenge any large cash advances or luxury credit card purchases that you made in the 90 days prior to your bankruptcy filing as they will claim you only made the purchases in anticipation of discharging the debt. An attorney can argue on your behalf in such challenges, offering evidence that you intended to pay the money back in good faith or that the purchases did not constitute “luxury items.” This is only one of many ways an attorney can be extremely beneficial in a bankruptcy case.

Can I Discharge a Judgment in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

August 28, 2014 by  
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If you are party to a lawsuit and lose your case, the court may issue a judgment for money damages against you. Such a judgment is an order for you to pay the money you owe to the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Judgments may arise from many types of lawsuits, including for personal injury, wrongful death, credit card collections, and more.

In many situations, people have judgments so high that they believe they may never pay them off. Further, the other party may be able to obtain a lien on your property or a garnishment of your wages in order to collect on the judgment. Such actions may put a further strain on your finances and may cause you to fall behind on your usual household expenses and bills. Overall, a judgment can have a significantly negative effect on your financial situation. This leads many people to wonder whether bankruptcy can possibly help their position.

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Discharge of Judgments

Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a viable solution for many people facing legal judgments. Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges many types of debt, and a qualifying judgment is considered to be like any other debt. The automatic stay that goes into effect when you file for bankruptcy can also work to halt any pending legal actions or wage garnishments you may be facing.

Unfortunately, not every type of judgment is dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as the law does exclude certain types of judgments. Some examples of judgments that are automatically disqualified from bankruptcy discharge arise out of the following types of cases:

  • Certain types of debts to the government
  • Child or spousal support orders
  • Student loans
  • Personal injury or wrongful death arising from a DUI

Other types of judgments are not automatically disqualified, but may be deemed nondischargeable by a court if a creditor challenges the discharge. These include judgments arising out of acts of fraud, embezzlement, or malicious acts of violence, such as assault.

Contact an Arizona bankruptcy lawyer for a free consultation

In order to determine whether bankruptcy can help with your judgment, you should not hesitate to consult with experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney at the Ellett Law Offices, PC. Call our office today at (602) 235-9510 to schedule a free consultation today.

What Property can I Keep in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

August 19, 2014 by  
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chapter 7 bankruptcyWhen you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (http://www.ellettlaw.com/chapter-7-bankruptcy), a bankruptcy trustee will take some of your property, liquidate it, and use the proceeds to pay off some of your debts. Though losing property may deter you at first from filing for bankruptcy, you should know that Arizona law provides numerous exemptions that allow you to keep certain kinds of assets, income, and property. Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions While some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the exemptions set out in federal law, Arizona requires you to apply the exemptions in state legislation. Under state law, filers may keep the following property:

  • Up to $150,000 of equity in your home
  • Up to $6,000 of motor vehicle equity
  • Up to $6,000 of home appliances and furniture
  • Up to $2,000 of wedding or engagement rings
  • Life insurance benefits up to $20,000
  • Up to $300 in bank account deposits
  • Up to $500 in clothes
  • Up to $400 in musical instruments
  • Up to $1,000 in goods including guns, computers, bibles, bicycles, or sewing machines
  • Up to $800 worth of pets
  • Up to $250 in books
  • Up to $150 in wrist watches
  • All prescribed home health aids
  • All materials used to teach children
  • Up to $5,000 of tools used for a trade or profession
  • Generally, worker’s compensation and unemployment compensation payments
  • 75% of your disposable income or up to 30 times $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage

In addition to these basic exemptions, married couples may be able to double the amount of many of the above, including home goods and motor vehicles. A couple may not, however, double the amount of equity they get to keep in their home.

Contact a Phoenix Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer for a free consultation

An experienced bankruptcy attorney knows how to make the best use of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions in Arizona to make sure you keep the maximum amount of property and assets possible. At the Ellett Law Offices, our attorneys are committed to achieving the best possible results for every individual client. If you are facing financial struggles, do not hesitate to contact our office at (602) 235-9510 for a free consultation. Ellett Law Offices , P.C. 2999 N. 44th Street, Suite 330 Phoenix, AZ 85018 Phone: 602-235-9510 Fax: 602-235-9098

How Does the Automatic Stay work in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

August 6, 2014 by  
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Falling behind on your bills is always stressful and likely weighs constantly on your mind. You likely have frequent reminders of your overdue bills due to regular phone calls, letters, or other communications by your creditors and bill collectors. It is not uncommon for communications by collectors to reach the level of harassment. Additionally, you may be afraid of losing your family home or your car if you do not figure out a solution soon. If you are in this situation, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a good option for you, and can help give you financial relief.

How the Automatic Stay Helps

chapter 7 bankruptcyIn addition to providing long-term relief from debts, Chapter 7 bankruptcy also works to provide immediate peace of mind through something called the automatic stay. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay goes into effect and all of your creditors are notified that you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The automatic stay immediately stops all the following:

  • Collection efforts and communications, including phone calls and letters
  • Repossession efforts
  • Foreclosure proceedings
  • Wage garnishments
  • Eviction efforts
  • Civil Law Suits
  • Collection efforts for public benefit overpayments

As you can see, immediate relief from the above actions can help you situation immensely. You will not have to worry about losing your vehicle or place to live. The stay remains in effect and continues to protect you throughout the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, so that you may work on getting back on your feet. The automatic stay is only one of the many benefits Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide.

Contact an Arizona Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney for a free consultation

If you are overwhelmed by debt and unable to pay all of your bills, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you wipe away the majority of your debts and start over with a clean financial slate. You will no longer have to worry about harassing phone calls or dodging collectors. If you are struggling financially, an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney can advise you whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for you. Do not hesitate to call the Ellett Law Offices today at (602) 235-9510 for help.