Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost to file for bankruptcy?
We offer a free consultation to discuss your specific situation. During the consultation, Mr. Ash will discuss the cost with you. Every client is in a different situation, so we want to treat each client as an individual. We offer payment options, and in some cases, the entire fee does not have to be paid up front.
Does my spouse have to file with me?
No. Mr. Ash will look at your particular circumstances to help you determine if you should file individually or with your spouse.
Will filing for bankruptcy stop creditors from calling me?
Yes. Once your creditors have been notified that you have filed bankruptcy, they are no longer allowed to contact you. Instead, your creditors must work directly with our office.
Will filing for bankruptcy stop a garnishment on my paycheck?
Yes. When you file bankruptcy, we will contact your payroll department to stop all garnishments.
Can filing for bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?
Can I keep my vehicle(s) and my house?
Yes, in most situations. In most bankruptcy cases, we can make arrangements for you to keep your vehicle and your house or mobile home.
What if I'm behind on my vehicle/house payments?
Once you file bankruptcy, we will notify your creditors to stop a repossession of your vehicle and/or a foreclosure on your home.
If I have property pledged as collateral on a loan, will I lose the property if I file bankruptcy?
Not usually. In most situations, we can arrange for you to keep the property.
Will filing bankruptcy hurt my credit for ten years?
Although bankruptcy will stay on your credit for 7 to 10 years, assuming you begin rebuilding your credit immediately and keep your credit clean, you can usually obtain a mortgage within 1 to 2 years after discharge. You can begin building your credit after bankruptcy by getting a credit card and using it, making sure to pay the balance off each month. Beware of credit cards with annual fees and high interest rates. You can also get an installment loan or personal loan and make the payments on time in an effort to rebuild your credit. If you have a student loan that was not paid in full during your bankruptcy, continue making your payments after your bankruptcy case is discharged. This is also a great way to reestablish credit.
Will everyone know that I filed bankruptcy?
No. Although bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record, no one you know will know about it unless you tell them. Your attorney, his staff and court personnel will, of course, know about it.
Am I a bad person for filing bankruptcy?
No. There is a stigma associated with filing bankruptcy, a stigma that the lobbyists latched onto in pressing for passage of the new bankruptcy law in 2005 (BAPCPA). But the truth is that bad things happen to good peaople. There's a reason that over one million people file bankruptcy each year, and it's not because they are bad people. On the contrary, they are good people looking for a solution to their financial problems. Bankruptcy provides hard-working people like you with the fresh start they deserve, but would otherwise be unable to obtain.
Can I pick and choose what to include in my bankruptcy?
No. You must include all of your assets and all of your debts in your bankruptcy petition. You cannot exclude a creditor from your bankruptcy because you plan to continue paying it. It's great that you want to pay, but it is mandatory that you list each and every one of your debts. Once your case is discharged, you can continue paying the debt, but you are under no obligation to do so.
Is it hard to file bankruptcy?
No. Although there is a lot of paperwork involved in filing bankruptcy, having a skilled and experienced attorney will make the process much less stressful and complicated. A few years ago, it became mandatory that all filings be done electronically, so that makes it a lot easier.
Will I ever be able to own property again?
Yes. Immediately after you receive your discharge, many people receive credit card offers and may even receive credit offers from auto finance companies. Within about 2 years of discharge, assuming you rebuild and maintain a good credit rating, you will often be able to obtain a mortgage. In some instances, you may even be able to get certain loans within 6 months.
Will I lose everything I own?
No. Bankruptcy makes it possible for you to keep the majority of your property, and it offers you protection from collection efforts of your creditors, protections you simply don't have outside of bankruptcy. The laws pertaining to property exemptions for debtors vary from state to state. Therefore, you should consult our office to properly advise you of the laws in Mississippi. Bankruptcy does not always wipe out liens. This means that you will have to continue to pay for certain property if you want to keep it.
How often can you file for bankruptcy?
You can file bankruptcy as many times as you want; however, you are limited on how often you can receive a discharge. You can receive a Chapter 7 discharge once every 8 years and you can receive a Chapter 13 discharge every two years. If you receive a Chapter 7 discharge, you have to wait 6 years before you can receive a Chapter 13 discharge. If you receive a Chapter 13 discharge, you cannot receive a Chapter 7 discharge for 4 years. If you do not receive a discharge, you can re-file as many times as you want. Be advised, however, that the bankruptcy court will punish serial filers by preventing them from re-filing again for 6 months or more.
Can I ever get credit again?
Yes. You can start rebuilding your credit immediately. Bankruptcy wipes out debt, which in turn helps improve your credit score. Making timely payments on the property that you choose to keep also helps raise your credit score. You will be able to get certain forms of credit as soon as your case is discharged.
Can creditors still harass me after I file bankruptcy?
No. When you file bankruptcy, the automatic stay protects you from the collection efforts of your creditors. Creditors are not allowed to contact you for any reason, which includes phone calls, letters, and even billing statements. If a creditor persists in contacting you after you file bankruptcy, you should let your bankruptcy attorney know so that he can use the remedies available under the Bankruptcy Code to address it.
I think that I want to file for bankruptcy, but I have a few more questions. What should I do next?
You can contact our office at 601-981-5600 in Jackson, 601-693-9951 in Meridian, or 601-543-0100 in Hattiesburg. We will be glad to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.