Experienced Guidance Navigating Bankruptcy And Divorce

Experienced Guidance Navigating Bankruptcy And Divorce

Debt Relief Guidance From A Fort Wayne Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Debt can make your life challenging. You probably worry about losing your house and car without enough money to pay your bills. That anxiety only increases if debt collectors keep calling you with threats. But the good news is that you can restore your financial health.

At Adolf Law Office, we have extensive experience crafting debt relief options for people in Fort Wayne and surrounding Indiana communities. Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney Anthony T. Adolf is committed to guiding you to a debt-free life.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Often called “liquidation” bankruptcy, Chapter 7 provides relief to individuals and businesses overwhelmed by unsecured debt, such as credit card bills, medical expenses and personal loans.

A person must take a “means” test to qualify for Chapter 7. Means tests determine whether they meet the income requirements. Those who don’t qualify can usually file under Chapter 13.

Federal law sets the core principles of Chapter 7, but Indiana law also plays a significant role, especially when it comes to exemptions—specific assets individuals can keep.

Indiana’s exemptions include:

  • A portion of a home’s equity
  • A percentage of take-home pay
  • Most pension and retirement accounts
  • Some personal property items
  • Property of a business partnership
  • Wildcard tangible asset exemption up to $12,100

Several other exemptions are available. While Indiana does not provide a specific automobile exemption, many take advantage of the state’s wildcard provision to protect vehicles.

Advantages Of Filing For Chapter 7

At Adolf Law Office, we can offer debt relief solutions based on a person’s specific circumstances. When someone qualifies for Chapter 7, here are some immediate and long-term benefits:

  • Quick discharge of debts: Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically allows for the discharge of eligible debts within a few months, offering a relatively swift resolution.
  • Automatic stay: Filing for Chapter 7 triggers an automatic stay, which immediately stops most collection efforts, lawsuits, wage garnishments and foreclosures.
  • Fresh financial start: No further obligation to pay off discharged debts, providing a clean slate.
  • No repayment plan: Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is no need to establish a repayment plan, which is an advantage for lower-income households or those with less ability to pay.
  • Improved credit over time: While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can initially lower a credit score, it’s typically easier to rebuild credit than if someone remains in a cycle of overwhelming debt.

We work with our clients closely to help find the debt relief solution that best suits their circumstances and overall financial goals.

Indiana Chapter 7 Bankruptcy FAQs

Debt is already overwhelming and hard to see a way out. Here are answers to some common Indiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions we receive from clients:

Who qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and what is the income limit in Indiana?

You will need to pass the “means test” to determine your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Indiana. The test aims to evaluate your income and expenses to make certain you don’t have sufficient disposable income to repay your debts through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

If your household income falls below the state’s median income, approximately $57,000 for a single-person household and $104,000 for a family of four in 2024, you’ll automatically qualify for Chapter 7. Even if your income exceeds the median, you may still be eligible based on your allowable expenses and disposable income calculation.

Can bill collectors still contact me when I file for Chapter 7? What can I do about them?

No, once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay immediately stops creditors from continuing collection efforts. This means they can no longer call, send letters or take most actions to collect debts included in your bankruptcy case.

If a creditor violates this automatic stay, they could face legal consequences. If a debt collector continues to harass you after filing, you can seek legal interventions to take the necessary legal steps to enforce the automatic stay and help protect your rights.

Are there debts in Chapter 7 that cannot be discharged?

As much as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides a fresh start by discharging some of the most unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills and personal loans, certain types of debts cannot be eliminated through this process. These include:

  • Many student loans
  • Child support and alimony obligations
  • Most tax debts
  • Debts resulting from fraud or intentional wrongdoing

There are, however, many nuances to these rules. It is wise to have a complete breakdown of which debts can and cannot be eliminated in your specific situation to make the appropriate legal moves for a successful outcome to your bankruptcy petition.

The Road To Debt Relief Starts Here

To schedule a consultation with an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Wayne, contact our law firm online or by telephone at 260-208-4112. We are with you every step of the way.

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