FAQ's. Common Concerns about Personal Injury, Bankruptcy & Real Estate matters.
Going through something as difficult as a major legal event can leave you filled with questions about the past, present, and what to expect in the future. Get answers to some of the top questions I receive about Illinois personal injury, real estate and bankruptcy matters to help put your mind at ease. Check back often for even more answers to your legal questions. Better yet, give us a call to see how we can help.
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Does the IRS have to leave me alone if I file for bankruptcy?
While creditors have to take a "hands off" approach while you are in bankruptcy, remember that the IRS is no ordinary creditor. The automatic stay still applies to the IRS in that they cannot seize your income, your property or issue a tax lien while you are in bankuptcy, but they can issue a deficiency notice, audit you or demand that you file your tax return as these are not attempts at collection but rather other IRS functions.
Bankruptcy law is full of nuances and exceptions. If you are considering bankruptcy and also having problems with the IRS, be sure to talk to a bankruptcy attorney or request a copy of our free debt book.
How long will bankruptcy damage my credit score?
Your credit score will be reduced after bankruptcy and while it is impossible to put an exact time frame on it since it will depend on a variety of unique factors, remember that the ding to your credit by showing a bankruptcy is short term. In the long run, you will have less debt and will show your creditors that you have done something about your financial problems. Then, over time, your credit score can be built up again by building a new, positive financial life.
In Illinois, how much can creditors garnish my wages for?
Your paycheck can be garnished by your creditors, but wage garnishments don't just happen. First, whomever you owe money to has to first get a judgment entered against you. Before that can happen, they will sue you. Once the wage garnishment is allowed, it isn't up to your creditor how much they can take. (Then they'd take 100% of your pay, right?) The amount they can garnish is affected by other garnishments that you might already have on your paycheck. Under Illinois law, your employer cannot deduct per week an amount that exceeds 45 times the minimum wage (state or federal wage- whichever is higher). Before you start worrying about creditor wage garnishments and try to calculate the amount that can be taken out of your pay, talk to a bankruptcy attorney about how this might be prevented. The real answer is that you don't want your creditors getting any amount of your pay! Concerns over wage garnishment is a warning sign that it might be time to figure out a permanent solution to your debt problems. Request our book "Bankruptcy Myths Exposed" which is free for people who live in the Chicago area (Cook, Kane and DuPage Counties). This will answer your questions and hopefully, offer you new hope so that you don't have to worry about wage garnishments!
Can Filing for Bankruptcy get rid of my Lawsuit?
Many people who just got sued or were sued in the past become curious about bankruptcy to see if it can help them. In many cases, it will depend entirely on the nature of the lawsuit. If you go long enough without paying your credit card, there is a pretty decent chance that you will get sued. Even if it already happened, it isn’t too late to save yourself by filing for bankruptcy. For some people, depending on circumstances like how much the debt is and what other debt the individual may have, a bankruptcy might be a good alternative to spending money on a lawyer to defend a lawsuit which you might lose anyway- especially if you really do owe the money. Also bear in mind, that the automatic stay in bankruptcy will stop a lawsuit dead in its tracks!
To learn more about bankruptcy, call to set up a consultation or get started by claiming a copy of my book "Bankruptcy Myths Exposed!"
If my debt was charged off, then I don't owe it and don't need a bankruptcy, right?
Wrong. If you have debt that shows as charged off on your credit report, this means that your debt was removed from your creditor's balance sheet, as a loss. You are still responsible in terms of having to pay it back. The charged off debts are often sold or sent to collection agencies. On the other hand, a bankruptcy discharge means that you are not liable for the debt anymore, at all. That is the power of bankruptcy.
How does child custody get decided in divorce when there was adultery? Will I lose the kids?
Adultery may or may not matter too much in Illinois custody decisions. If a guardian ad litem has to come into the case to help assess custody, he or she will bring in his or her own biases and life experiences; as will the judge. Nonetheless, if custody is an issue and there was adultery in the marriage, how much cheating matters will probably be determined by:
- Is an affair still going on?
- Age of the children
- Was it done discreetly?
- Is the new girlfriend/ boyfriend living with the divorcing spouse?
It is all about "the best interests of the children". Many people wonder if it will mean losing the kids if they cheated. Unless it can be shown that the kids are being negatively impacted by the adultery, it typically doesn't play into custody decisions at all. And "losing the kids" can mean different things to different people. These concerns should not be taken lightly and should be discussed with a divorce lawyer.
Divorce can get very complex and adultery may make it moreso. If you are considering divorce, and infidelity has occured, come in to speak confidentially about what a divorce might look like for you. We are located in Schaumburg and Itasca and look forward to sitting down with you.
What is a "Wage Earner Plan" in Bankruptcy?
"Wage Earner Plans" are another term for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It does not mean that you can't file for Chapter 7 if you earn wages (ie: work). In a Chapter 13, you are repaying debt, in a controlled manner over a prescribed number of years. There are fancy calculations that go into it and your "Chapter 13 Plan" has to be approved by the court, but it is designed so that everyone wins- you are relieved from the bad situation you are in right now while creditors get off your back, and the creditors are paid back something. Chapter 13's are great ways to get back on track if behind on mortgage payments. Since you are repaying some debt, one of the requirements is that you have steady income. This is where the name "wage earner plans" came from. If you do not have income, you cannot file for Chapter 13.
Bankruptcy laws are complicated. The rewards are terrific but should be approached with the help of a skilled bankruptcy lawyer. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact O'Connor Cadiz Law to find out if you are a good candidate. We'll get you set up for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation for bankruptcy. If its not a good option for you, we will tell you.
Can I switch to a different kind of bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy laws allow for people to switch to a different kind of bankruptcy- most often from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13 and vice versa, when and if circumstances allow for it. It can get tricky, its not like switching from one kind of a diet to another that you can just chose to do if you feel like it. Your bankruptcy lawyer proabably recommended one type of bankruptcy over another for a reason. Or maybe you did it yourself and it didn't work out the way you had hoped. Examine your reasons for asking the question to begin with and talk to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer about it. Bankruptcy law is not simple and you will want to make sure that you can do it and that the change will work out for you, before attempting to do it.
What do these bankruptcy guys mean by "Fresh Start"?
"Get a Fresh Start with Bankruptcy". "Its your Fresh Start!" etc etc. Go to just about any bankruptcy site, ad, or commercial and you are sure to be hit with the words "fresh start" within the first 30 seconds! I have been practicing bankruptcy law for more than 15 years and the buzz words stay the same. I have no idea who coined the phrase but it sure sounds nice, especially if you are being sold on bankruptcy. Not that its a bad thing, you really to get your fresh start in Chapter 7. What it means is that once your debt is wiped out (or "discharged"), your financial slate is wiped clean. You don't have to continue to be bogged down by all of your old bills that have been hanging onto you forever, causing you to lose sleep at night. The debt that you incur (responsibly) after your bankruptcy is all fresh debt- shiny and new! Past financial woes are in the past and you get to start over. We deserve second chances.
Sound simple? It is and it isn't. Bankruptcy is not for everyone but for the people it can help, it can represent true freedom and a chance to begin anew. If you live in the Chicago area and are wondering if you can get the famous fresh start, call O'Connor Cadiz Law at 630 250-8813 to find out how we may be able to help you.
Can you Quote me a Fee for Bankruptcy?
Absolutely. Just not over the phone or online. Nor do we have a "fee sheet" for bankruptcy. If you are considering bankruptcy, naturally price will be a concern because you need something affordable. I don't believe in quoting fees over the phone since not one size fits all. It is like calling a dentist about your toothache and being quoted a fee before sitting in his chair with your mouth open. I prefer to give you some free information, to sit down with you, and to listen to exactly what brought you in and what you are looking to accomplish. Financial problems come in all shapes and sizes and so do their solutions. At O'Connor Cadiz law, assuming that bankruptcy is right for you, you will get a quote for bankruptcy in person, after you have had a chance to speak in depth about your problem. You don't want to find that a "phone quote" doesn't match up with what you are being told once you are in someone's office and the whole story comes out. In person quotes, to me, are just more fair.
Located in Itasca and Schaumburg, give us a call to set up a no obligation, no cost consultation for bankruptcy at 630 250-8813.