Bankruptcy FAQs

If you are struggling with debt and need answers, our Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer is here to answer your questions and provide guidance. Read answers to frequent concerns about budgeting, tax laws after bankruptcy, stopping garnishment and debt harassment in Maryland, and other concerns. If you have a question about bankruptcy in Maryland and don’t see your answer here, please feel free to give us a call or drop us a line.

A. The judgment holder will ask you questions about where you work, where you bank and what you own. They want this information so they can collect money from you. You have to tell them the truth about your job and what you own. They will use this information to garnish your paycheck, take your bank accounts and put liens on your property.

A. Many times my Baltimore bankruptcy clients ask me if they should reaffirm the mortgage on their homes. Reaffirmation means that you promise to re-pay the loan after your bankruptcy is over. In almost every case, this is a bad idea.

If you reaffirm and then don’t pay the mortgage, the mortgage company can sue you and try to collect the money. This eliminates the main benefit of bankruptcy.

If you don’t reaffirm the mortgage, you can keep paying the monthly payments and keep your home. If in the future, you decide you can no longer afford the house, you can move out and not have to worry about the debt anymore.

So the short answer is NO!

A. Bankruptcy is a legal way to reorganize your finances, eliminate debt, and most importantly, make a fresh start.

A. If you can’t pay your bills on time, and/or your creditors are threatening to sue you, garnish your pay check, or repossess your car you should consider bankruptcy.

A. Absolutely not. In October 2005, Congress passed a bankruptcy reform law known as BACCPA. The law added many paper work requirements such as providing tax returns and paystubs to the Court, credit counseling, and filing new forms, but has NOT eliminated bankruptcy for most people.

It HAS made bankruptcy filings more complicated and difficult to complete. This means it is more important than ever to have experienced representation in your bankruptcy case.

A. Under the new law, you must complete a new form B22 when you file. If you are below the median income, you only have to fill out part of the form and your filing is presumed “non-abusive”.

If you are above the median income, you must fill out the entire form. This is where it gets complicated. The bankruptcy courts are still deciding how these forms are to be filled out, what expenses are allowed and other issues. You MUST have an experienced attorney to assist you in filling out this form or your case may be dismissed or investigated by the US Trustee’s office.

A. Currently in Maryland for household size:

  1. $53,489
  2. $71,213
  3. $81,811
  4. $99,884
  5. $106,782

A. Filing bankruptcy creates an “automatic stay” which immediately stops foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments, and collection calls. This gives you time to reorganize your finances and get back on track. 

A. There are two kinds of consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7, most debts are immediately discharged or wiped out.In a Chapter 13, a payment plan is set up to consolidate and pay off your debts.

A. First, a bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure sale of your home. You can file bankruptcy up until the day of the sale and still save your home.

Second, a Chapter 13 reorganization allows you to start making your regular mortgage payments again.

Third, the payments you missed, plus fees and costs, and all your other debts can be paid off through a 36-60 month payment plan.

A. If you are current on your car payments, you can keep your car.You must continue to make your regular payments after filing.

A. If you are current on your payments AND there is no equity in your home, you can file a Chapter 7. Equity means your home is worth more than you owe on it.

If you are behind on your payments and you file a Chapter 7, your mortgage company will probably file a motion with the Court to allow them to foreclose.

If you have equity in your home and you file Chapter 7, the court appointed trustee may try to sell your home to pay your other debts. In either case, you will need an experienced bankruptcy attorney to protect your interests.

A. If your car has been re-possessed in the last few days, we may be able to get it back for you. You must have proof of insurance for the car. If it has been longer, the car may have already been sold and you will not be able to get it back. So the sooner you call, the better your chances of getting it back.

A. In Maryland, you can “exempt” or keep up to $12,000.00 worth of household goods, cash or other property. For most people, this means they can keep all their personal belongings.

A. Yes. Filing bankruptcy creates an “automatic stay” which immediately stops garnishments and collection calls. Creditors who violate the stay may be subject to penalties.

A. Yes, your old bill will be wiped out. You will have to give a deposit for your new bill of two months average payments on your old bill within 20 days of filing.

A. No. While the bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for 7-10 years, you have a chance to start over. If you can keep up your payments in a Chapter 13, you can begin to reestablish your credit.

Many creditors now offer credit to people who have filed bankruptcy, so it is more important what you do after filing. If you keep your debt manageable, you can make a “fresh start”.

A. No, you can’t be fired or lose your driver’s license or other type of license which allows you to make a living.

A. Generally, taxes, student loans, alimony, child support and fines are not dischargeable except in special circumstances.

A. You must attend a Meeting of Creditors.A representative of the Bankruptcy Court called a Trustee, will ask you questions about your finances. This meeting generally lasts 5-10 minutes. In a Chapter 13, you may also have to attend a confirmation hearing, but you won’t have to say anything.

A. If you think you could benefit from filing bankruptcy, call (410) 243-1987 or a free consultation and evaluation of your situation.

A. The judgment holder can ask the Judge to issue a “Show Cause” Order. This is an Order for you to go to Court and tell the Judge why you did not come to Court. If you do not show up for the “Show Cause”, the Judge may issue a body attachment. This means you could be arrested.

A. A request for oral examination means the judgment holder is asking the Court to make you to appear at a hearing. When you come to Court, the judgment holder can ask you questions about where you work, what you own and what bank accounts you have.

A. If you are struggling with debt and aren’t sure if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, we really encourage you to come in for a free consultation with an experienced Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer. In a personal meeting, we can talk more in depth about the specifics of your situation and how Chapter 7 would affect you and your family. However, deciding on Chapter 7 bankruptcy really boils down to three main questions that only you can answer:

  • Do I mainly have debts that won’t be discharged through Chapter 7, such as child support, student loans, or spousal support?
  • Do I own any non-exempt property that I really cannot stand to lose?
  • Are my creditors already unable to take the property that I own for another reason?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be the right choice for you. If you’d like to talk to us about alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or if you have more questions about Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland, please don’t hesitate to call us today at 443-860-0088, and schedule a time to meet in a completely FREE initial consultation.

For more information about choosing a Maryland Chapter 7 bankruptcy, don’t miss out on our FREE book, Getting Out of Debt—The Truth About Debt Consolidation Bankruptcy and Debt Relief. You can receive your FREE copy of this important resource by simply giving us a call or filling out our easy online contact form today!

A. When a foreclosure is filed, you will get a package of information from your mortgage company. Included in it will be a form to request mediation. You must fill out and file the request for mediation within 25 days. You will have to pay $50.00 to file the request and send a copy to the foreclosing attorney. The Court will grant your request unless your mortgage company objects. Once the request is granted, a date, time and location will be set for the mediation.

A. If you decide to hire a Baltimore City bankruptcy lawyer, the harassing collection calls and letters could stop before your bankruptcy case is even filed. As soon as you retain us, your bankruptcy lawyer will take action in your case. Each of your creditors will be notified to stop their collection calls to you, and you can immediately get relief from the debt harassment you’ve been enduring every day.

Depending on your situation, your Baltimore bankruptcy attorney may also be able to quickly stop wage garnishment, stop utility turnoffs, and even stop foreclosure on your home in Maryland. If you need relief from constant debt harassment and are ready to make a fresh start, you may find it helpful to read through our FREE book Stopping Foreclosure in Maryland—The Truth About Loan Modification, Mediation, and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This excellent resource explains more about the bankruptcy process, your rights and options, and how to find the right bankruptcy attorney for you. If you’d like to receive your FREE copy of this guide, just give us a call at 443-860-0088 or fill out our easy online contact form today.

At the James R Logan PA., we are focused on providing excellent customer service to our clients, and we understand how difficult and emotional the bankruptcy process can be. Our Baltimore City bankruptcy lawyer has over 14 years of experience dealing specifically with people in financial distress who need a fresh start. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about bankruptcy in Maryland.