Many reasons can lead an individual, married couple or business to face financial crisis. The most common of these are unexpected medical expenses, temporary or permanent loss of employment, divorce, out of control credit card debt or a number of unanticipated expenses. No matter what the reason is, when people face a financial crisis, they become overwhelmed with the volume of bills coming in the mail, debt collectors calling constantly, fear of lawsuits and fear of repossession and foreclosure. The United States Bankruptcy Code is intended to provide relief and protection to individuals, married couples and businesses who are facing financial obstacles.
The United States Bankruptcy Code is divided into sections. The majority of our clients will be looking at either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In all proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court, debtors receive immediate protection from their creditors pursuant to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. All bankruptcy actions are filed in Federal Court. Our offices are located within the Western District of Missouri and the majority of our clients’ cases will be heard in Kansas City, Missouri. However, we also file bankruptcy actions that will be heard in Jefferson City, Joplin, Springfield and St. Joseph, Missouri.
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is generally filed by individuals or married couples and is sometimes referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy. Certain income requirements do apply; however, our clients are generally able to keep certain assets such as their household furnishings, personal possessions, vehicles and homes up to a certain amount of equity. When a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy action is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. This stops creditors from contacting you and trying to collect what is owed. The benefit of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is that it provides you with a fresh start by eliminating your existing debt. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy generally takes about six (6) months to complete and will include at least one court appearance which is known as a “341 Meeting of the Creditors.”
There are many instances in which our clients will have the option to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as a “repayment” bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy action is generally utilized when a client’s income is above the requirements for a Chapter 7, when a certain amount of equity exists in real property, or when a foreclosure action has already been instituted. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may require more than one court appearance as needed during the repayment period as accepted by the Bankruptcy Trustee. Clients who file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can expect a lengthier time frame than those who file under a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
There are also other bankruptcy options available to our clients. For instance, a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is available in order to restructure certain businesses and a Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is available to family farmers and fishermen.
If you find yourself drowning in debt, feeling overwhelmed and in financial crisis, call our Odessa, Missouri office at (816) 230-5059 to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. We may be able to help through the filing of an appropriate bankruptcy action. Initial bankruptcy consultations are always free, confidential and do not obligate you to proceed if you ultimately feel that bankruptcy is not the right option for you.
*We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.