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Will My Employer Know If I File For Bankruptcy?

We understand that many people feel shame and embarrassment in regard to financial problems or bankruptcy. For this reason, we’re committed to treating every person who walks through our doors with dignity and respect.

If you’re struggling with feelings of shame or embarrassment, please read our article Filing for Bankruptcy is Not Shameful. You’re Not Alone.

That being said, we understand that you may be concerned that if you file for bankruptcy people will find out about it. You may be particularly concerned about your employer or boss finding out. The first thing we want to tell you is: if you do not tell people about your bankruptcy, it is unlikely that they will find out about your bankruptcy.

While unlikely it is possible. Bankruptcy petitions are filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and are public record. People who know how are able to access your paperwork; however, few people know how to access bankruptcy records and realistically nobody in your personal life would go searching to see if you file for bankruptcy.

That being said, of course there are a few caveats. There are situation where your employer may find out if you file for bankruptcy. Further, there may be situations where future employment opportunities are affected by a bankruptcy filing. The most likely scenarios involve wage garnishment, security clearance, and background checks.

Wage Garnishment

In general your current employer will not find out about your bankruptcy filing. However, in cases where wages are already being garnished, the employer receives notification of the bankruptcy because they must put an end to the wage garnishment.

If you wages are being garnished, your employer has already been notified of the judgment against you because the payroll department had to set up the wage garnishment. While you may feel embarrassed, consider that filing for bankruptcy demonstrates that you’re taking appropriate measures to deal with your debt problems.

Security Clearance

Jobs that require security clearances may be affected by filing bankruptcy. If your job requires a security clearance, then your boss may find out about your bankruptcy filing or you may have a duty to disclose a bankruptcy filing. Employment opportunities requiring security clearance include those working for the armed forces, or employed by the CIA, FBI, or other government agency, or private companies that contract with the government.

However, it is unlikely that a bankruptcy filing puts your security clearance at risk. In fact, bankruptcy is often viewed as taking appropriate measures to deal with debt problems. This is viewed more favorably than carrying outstanding debt and missing payments.

No employer is allowed to discriminate against you based on filing for bankruptcy, nor are they allowed to fire you based on filing for bankruptcy.

Background Checks

In some cases, future job application may be affected by filing for bankruptcy. In a nutshell: while the government is not allowed to consider a bankruptcy filing when deciding whether or not to hire you, this rule does not apply to private employers. This is of particular concern if you plan to apply for jobs that require you to handle money or finances.

If a potential employer asks you for permission to run a background check, understand that this likely includes running a credit check. In this instance, consider getting in front of a potential issue by being candid about your previous bankruptcy filing. You can explain that you had past financial struggles, but that you took the steps necessary to properly handle it by filing for bankruptcy. Your prospective employer may appreciate your honesty and candor.

You deserve a financial fresh start, and we’re here to help you achieve it. We offer free consultations and affordable payment plans. Contact us today!

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Explained

Filing for bankruptcy can be the solution to your debt problems and help you gain financial freedom. Though, it is never an easy decision to make.

There are two types of bankruptcy available to individuals and families: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To understand the differences between the chapters read our article The Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Explained

Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a re-payment plan that lasts three to five years, depending on your specific situation. Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure on your home and even give you a chance to catch up on mortgage arrears.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans must be approved by the Bankruptcy Trustee and the Bankruptcy Court. It can be complicated. We’ve filed thousands of Chapter 13 cases. When you hire us, you are in experienced and capable hands.

It is our mission to ensure that you understand the power and benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We’re here to answer all of your questions. Call us right now (912) 351-9000 to schedule a free consultation.

Benefits of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

  • Stops wage garnishments, stops lawsuits filed by creditors, stops harassing creditor phone calls, and stops automobile repossession.
  • At the conclusion of the Bankruptcy, remaining credit card debt, medical bills, or other unsecured debts, and some tax debts, are discharged (erased).
  • In some cases, allows a homeowner to “lien strip” or eliminate a second mortgage.
  • Creates an opportunity to catch up on missed car payments.
  • Creates an opportunity to catch up on other missed payments, such as back taxes or child support payments.

 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the solution to your debt problems. However, it requires monthly payments to the Bankruptcy Trustee for three to five years, which can be difficult for some people to manage. Also, depending on your specific case, you may still owe on some debts after bankruptcy, such as student loans.

Filing for bankruptcy will adversely affect your credit score in the short term; however, if you have already fallen behind on paying your debts, your score has likely already decreased.

Qualifying for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To qualify for Chapter 13, you must have a steady source of income, such as from a job, self-employment, a business, retirement income, or social security. This is not a requirement if you file for Chapter 7.

At our free consultation we will help you determine which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you.

Costs of Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Those costs of filing for Chapter 13 include: court filing fees, mandatory credit counseling fees, and attorneys fees. In our district, we have what is called a “no look” fee, meaning that the attorney’s fees are set by the Bankruptcy Court. Since Chapter 13 creates a monthly payment plan, the attorney’s fees can be paid from those payments.

When we meet for a free consultation, we will go over all of the costs together. There will not be any surprise fees or costs down the road.

After Filing for Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can help you save your house, catch up on missed payments, and eliminate unsecured debts like credit card debt.

We are here to help you understand the process and decide if filing for relief under Chapter 13 is the right choice for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

The Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serves Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City, GA.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Filing for Bankruptcy is Not Shameful. You’re Not Alone.

We’ve been practicing bankruptcy law for over 35-years. One of the things we hear most from our clients is that they feel guilty or ashamed about filing for bankruptcy. They want to pay back their debts, and they feel badly that they are not able to do so. In our experience, the majority of debtors truly deserve the benefits of bankruptcy. Few people actually want to file for bankruptcy and fewer still are taking advantage of the system.

If you file for bankruptcy, you are not alone.

Across the nation, nearly 1 million people filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015. The previous year, well over 1 million people filed for bankruptcy protection.

In Georgia, 50,344 people filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2015.

By these numbers, you can see that bankruptcy is not uncommon.

There are many reasons why people file for bankruptcy. Prior to filing many people experience a job loss, divorce, death in the family, a costly medical emergency, or another unavoidable situation. The types of debt that cause the most problems are medical debts and credit card debts.

There is a common misconception that everyone who files for bankruptcy is bad with money. That is simply not true. Often it is an unavoidable and unforeseeable situation that leads to bankruptcy. Consider too that many successful people have file for bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy, you’ll be in the likes of Walt Disney, Billie Joel, and Mark Twain.

Filing for bankruptcy is not shameful.

As we discussed in our article Living With The Stress of Debt vs. Bankruptcy, living with the weight of debt affects more than just your credit score. Financial stress has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, ulcers, diabetes, migraines, and sleep disturbances.

You do not deserve the financial and emotional stress of trying to pay back debts you cannot afford. Filing for bankruptcy is not shameful. It does not make you a bad person, and it does not mean that you’re a failure.

Filing for bankruptcy is your legal right.

You deserve a financial fresh start, and we’re here to help you achieve it. We offer free consultations and affordable payment plans. Contact us today!

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE

Why Debt Consolidation Rarely Works

If you’re living under the weight of financial struggles, debt consolidation may seem like the answer. Unfortunately, debt consolidation is rarely the solution to debt problems. Many of our clients who ultimately file for bankruptcy tried debt consolidation first. The truth is many of these people would have been much better off if they had filed bankruptcy from the start.

Know that we are not in the business of talking people into bankruptcies they don’t need. We are in the business of helping people get out of debt and getting the fresh financial start they deserve.

The Two Main Debt Consolidation Options

1) Hiring a debt consolidation company. They will collect a monthly fee from you and attempt to make settlement deals with your creditors. Generally, these companies are paid by taking a percentage of your monthly payment off the top. They keep the rest of the funds until there is enough in the pot to make a lump sum payment on a settlement deal, one creditor at a time.

2) Taking out a sizable loan. The loan is used to pay off creditors. Then one payment is due on the loan each month.

The Risks of Hiring A Debt Consolidation Company

At first blush, hiring a debt consolidation company may seem like a good idea. However, there are a host of things that can go wrong.

What we typically see is that people make their monthly payment to the debt consolidation company, but ultimately none or only a few of their smaller debts get settled. Leaving them out all of the money paid to the debt consolidation company, and ultimately filing for bankruptcy anyway.

Here are a few other things that can (and do) go wrong:

  • You are sued by your creditor. This can ultimately lead to wage garnishment or bank levies.
  • Even if you settle one debt, your other creditors will still continue collection efforts against you.
  • Your credit score is continuing to drop, and each missed monthly payment is reporting on your credit report.
  • Interest fees and penalties are still accruing – you’re getting deeper into debt.
  • Many creditors refuse to work with debt consolidation companies.
  • It may not provide an overall solution to your debt problems (many debt consolidation companies only deal with credit card debts).

Further, if you end up filing for bankruptcy your case may be made more difficult. Both debt settlements and payments made to a debt consolidation company will be heavily scrutinized by the bankruptcy trustee.

Debt Consolidation Companies Are Not Doing Anything You Can’t Do For Yourself

  • You can settle your debts with you creditors on your own. In fact, once you fall far enough behind on your payments, your creditors will begin to send you settlement offers in the 40-60% range. You can make a counter-offer with a lower amount.
  • Instead of paying them a monthly payment, you can put a lump sum into savings each month until you have enough to settle your own debts.
  • While the debt consolidation company may get your creditors to stop calling you, but they have not done anything to actually help you handle the debt. Know that you have the power to stop creditor phone calls yourself.

If you’re considering debt consolidation, we encourage you to meet with us first for a free consultation to learn about all of your debt relief options.

The Risks of Taking Out A Loan

Taking out a lump sum loan to pay off your creditors may be tempting. However, this option too comes with a host of things that can go wrong.

  • This option often creates a “rob Peter to pay Paul” situation. If you can’t make the monthly payment on your loan, you have not solved your debt problem.
  • Interest rates on debt consolidation loans can be astronomical.
  • Your credit score and credit report are every bit as harmed by this option than by filing for bankruptcy.
  • If you take out a home equity loan and you cannot make the monthly payment, you risk losing your home to foreclosure.
  • If you ultimately need to file for bankruptcy, paying off creditors or taking out new loans prior to bankruptcy can cause serious problems with your case.

If you’re considering taking out a big loan to consolidate your debts, we encourage you to meet with us first for a free consultation to learn about all of your debt relief options.

Follow us on Facebook to learn more about how to stop collection action and get out of debt!

If you have questions about debt consolidation or bankruptcy call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us via the web to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help you get out of debt and gain the financial freedom you deserve.

For over 30-years we have proudly served the people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, Garden City, and Ludowici, Georgia.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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How Will I Know Which Chapter to File? Chapter 7, 11, or 13 Bankruptcy?

With so much misinformation and myths about bankruptcy floating around, it is no wonder people are so confused. Some of our clients come to us feeling overwhelmed by bankruptcy before they’ve even begun the process. Here at the Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel we strive to make the process smooth for you, and easy to understand.

We will explain the different chapters of bankruptcy and how filing will affect you and your family. When we meet for a free consultation we will go over the pros and cons of the various chapters and help you determine which chapter is best for you.

The “chapters” come from the United States Bankruptcy Code, and the numbers represent the code sections. In a nutshell: Chapter 11 is designed for businesses, and Chapters 7 and 13 are designed for individuals and families.

 

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is for businesses, including corporations and partnerships. This chapter allows businesses to create a repayment plan to pay back their debts over time. The goal is to get the business solvent and prevent it from shutting down.

In the aftermath of the great recession a number of huge corporations sought Chapter 11 protection. The list included Chrysler filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 and American Airlines filing in 2012. If you’re interested in learning more about business bankruptcy, Business Insider compiled an interesting review of The 11 Largest Bankruptcies In American History.

 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy erases credit card debts, medical bills, and other unsecured debts. It is the most common form of bankruptcy for an individual or married couple. Chapter 7 is also the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy, with the entire process generally taking only four to six months to complete. Most people get to keep most or all of their belongings through the bankruptcy.

 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 11, but is designed for people instead of businesses. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to create a three to five year repayment plan to pay back some or all of their debts.

Both Chapters 7 and 13 are powerful tools to help people solve debt problems. Chapter 13 offers the added benefits of allowing debtors to catch up on missed mortgage payments, missed car payments, and missed spousal or child support payments.

To better understand Chapters 7 and 13, read our article The Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

If you line in Savannah, GA or the surrounding areas and have more questions about the various chapters of bankruptcy, let’s meet for a free consultation. Please reach out to us at (912) 351-9000 or contact us by filling out this simple web form.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Our Law Office Offers Affordable Payment Plans

We understand that you are coming to us because you are struggling with debt. The last thing you want is another bill to pay.

When we meet for the free consultation, most people are worried about how they are going to pay for bankruptcy. Rest assured that we will work with you to give you the opportunity for a fresh start.

 

The Costs of Filing for Bankruptcy

The costs associated with filing for bankruptcy include: attorneys’ fees, a bankruptcy court filing fee, and the cost of mandatory credit counseling and a debtor education course. Below we will cover each cost in detail.

Many of our clients are making monthly payments on debts that will ultimately be erased in their bankruptcy, so they choose to reallocate those funds toward paying for their bankruptcy. At our free consultation we can explore this option together.

 

Chapter 7 Attorneys’ Fees

We charge a flat fee to file your bankruptcy case. We make sure our clients are never surprised with an unaffordable or outrageous bill.

Before you retain us as your bankruptcy attorney, we will go over the flat-rate attorneys’ fees and what is covered by those fees.

Attorneys’ fees are paid in full before we file your case. We require full payment in advance because as soon as your case is filed, your creditors are not allowed to attempt to collect from you, including us. This means that if we do our job right, we would never be able to collect the attorneys’ fees from you.

 

Chapter 13 Attorneys’ Fees

In the Southern District of Georgia, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy Attorneys’ fees are set by the court. This is called a “no look” fee. However, unlike with a Chapter 7 filing, we do not collect the attorneys’ fees up front.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a repayment plan of debts, so you are able to pay all attorneys’ fees after your case is filed. Our office can be paid from the monthly payments you make in your repayment plan.

 

Court Filing Fee

The court filing fee is set by the Bankruptcy Court. Currently the fees are:

  • $335 for a Chapter 7 filing
  • $310 for a Chapter 13 filing

 

Mandatory Credit Counseling & Personal Financial Management Course

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires that every person who files for bankruptcy complete two courses. The first is credit counseling, that must be completed before filing. The other is a course in personal financial management, that must be completed after filing, but before the Court grants your bankruptcy discharge of debts.

Many of our clients are concerned about these courses. Please know that these courses do not take very much time, and both can be completed online. We will provide you with a list of approved organizations that offer these courses at a reasonable cost.

At our free consultation we will review all of the fees associated with filing for bankruptcy. You will never get a surprise bill from our law office. Call us right now at (912) 351-9000 or use this online form to schedule a free consultation!

The Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel is located centrally in the Savannah, GA area.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Erase Debt with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Living under the weight of debt can feel debilitating. Hearing your phone ring constantly with calls from creditors. Wondering how you’re going to stay current on your monthly bills and pay back your mounting debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be the solution to your debt problems.

Nobody wants to file for bankruptcy, but please know there is no shame in it. Bankruptcy is your legal right. Here at Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel we help hundreds of families, just like yours, file for bankruptcy protection every year.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful tool to erase your debts and give you the fresh financial start you deserve. We’re here to answer all of your questions. Call us right now (912) 351-9000 to schedule a free consultation.

What Debts Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Erase?

Debts that can be erased through bankruptcy are dischargeable debts. Debts that cannot be erased through bankruptcy are known as nondischargeable debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy has the power to completely eliminate a number of dischargeable debts.

The following types of debts are generally dischargeable in Chapter 7:

  • Credit cards
  • Medical bills
  • Collection agency debts
  • Personal loans
  • Past due rent
  • Most civil court judgments (unless based on fraud)
  • Certain tax debts (older tax liabilities may be erased)
  • Other unsecured debts (debts that are not backed by collateral, such as a home or car)

If you successfully file for bankruptcy, these dischargeable debts are erased forever and you are not obligated to pay them back.

The following types of debts are nondischargeable:

  • Student Loans
  • Certain tax debts (newer tax liabilities are not erased)
  • Back child or spousal support
  • Secured debts, such as your house or car (if you want to keep the item, you must pay back the loan)
  • Civil or criminal debts based on fraud

Even if you successfully file for bankruptcy, these nondischargeable debts are not erased and you are still legally obligated to pay them back.

Should I Consider Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you’re struggling to pay back your debts, it is time to take an honest look at your finances. If you cannot reasonably pay off your unsecured debt, including credit cards and medical bills, in two years, then it is time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 may be a good option for you to get out of debt if:

  • You do not make a lot of money. Qualifying for Chapter 7 is simple if you make less than the average median income for your state.
  • You do make a lot of money, but you have a lot of secured debt (loans back by collateral, such as a house or car), or business related debt. It is a myth that people who make a lot of money cannot file for bankruptcy. Even if you earn well-above the media income, you may be able to qualify for Chapter 7 relief.
  • You have not fallen behind on your house or car payments.

 

We Offer Free Consultations

Follow us on Facebook to learn more about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can erase your debts. We are here to give you the fresh start you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

We proudly serve people in Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE