FAQ's. Common Questions answered here.
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, 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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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.
Can I file for Bankruptcy if I am not a United States Citizen?
Yes. The law allows non-citizens to file for bankrputcy. However, as a non-citizen you need to be extra careful that your bankruptcy is done correctly and also that your social security number is legal, valid, and issued to you.
Attorney Carol O'Connor Cadiz has helped hundreds of non-U.S. citizens file for bankruptcy. She started her career helping people file for bankruptcy and from 2001 to 2003 dealt almost exclusively with immigrants from Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. We can help if you are overwhelmed with debt and wondering if bankruptcy is right for you. Give us a call today at 630 250-8813 to schedule your consultation.
What is Lien Avoidance in Bankruptcy? What does it mean?
You mean you don't know what Lien Avoidance is? Just kidding. Don't be frightened by legal jargon- bankruptcy law is full of it and hopefully your lawyer is explaining this stuff to you. Lien avoidance is a method sometimes used during the course of bankrupty. It "avoids" (wipes out, erases) a lien on a secured debt. This means that the creditor's legal intersest in the collateral goes away. It comes in to play when the item securing the loan is something you already owned before you used it to back up a loan. For instance, if you owned a piece of machinery and then went out and used it as collateral on the loan, a lien avoidance might come into play. Lien avoidance is not applicable when your collateral is the item you are buying.
Lien avoidance is also very important in situations when a lien was put on as the result of a judment after a lawsuit. Personal liability for a judment may be discharged in bankrtupcy, but if there was a lien put onto a house or other property as the result of a judgment, that needs to be dealt with in bankruptcy court. If this is your situation, you'll want to also read my article about lien avoidance in judgment situations.
Bankruptcy is nothing to be scared of, but lien avoidance and other things that come up can be tricky. A good bankruptcy lawyer can be worth their weight in gold, don't go it alone.
Will I still get credit card statements and other bills after I file for Bankruptcy?
Nowadays, many bills are mailed automatically by computer and it can take a while for a creditor to “catch on” to the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. Talk to your attorney about what to do with the bills that you receive as different bills should be handled differently. Threats to sue and nasty letters are a different story and should be brought to your lawyer’s attention immediately so that the creditor responsible can be contacted, which should stop any more letters. The Automatic Stay means that in all efforts at collection on old debts have to stop.
You will still continue to get bills for utilities, etc. and should be paying for ongoing services. The same holds true for things like your car note, if you are in a Chapter 7 and are keeping your car; although, sometimes you will stop getting bills for these routine and ongoing items. This is the creditors' way of protecting themselves and it is possible that you will need to sign giving them permission to resume billing you. This should not be confused with a reaffirmation agreement, where you are essentially re-newing a debt. Do not sign anything without first consulting with your bankruptcy attorney.
You might still be getting bills for debt that will be discharged by your bankruptcy. Do not throw them out. Give them to your lawyer if your case has not been filed yet so that it can be double checked against the information you have already given regarding your bills.
If bills are piling up and driving you mad because they are piling up faster than you can pay them, bankruptcy may be a good option for you as it has helped so many people just like you out of a situation which has spiraled out of control and which has no other good solution. Call O'Connor Cadiz Law at 630 250-8813 to schedule a no obligation no cost bankruptcy consultation. We help people all over Chicago land and are located in Schaumburg and Itasca.