Financial problems can make all aspects of your life more difficult. The worry and stress affect your mood and your family every day, and you may wish you could just start over. Go back to the beginning and take the steps that will ensure you, your family, and even your business can be stable and secure. Despite what you may have heard or read, that freedom can often be found through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Rather than the end of your credit and financial life, it can be a fresh start and allow you to relieve your debt almost immediately.

While it can be difficult to take that first step and decide to make a change, you are not alone. The experienced attorneys at Chesterfield Bankruptcy Law have helped many Virginians just like you take control of their lives and use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to protect their assets and relieve their debt. Positive change is possible with the knowledge and guidance of our dedicated bankruptcy legal team. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is one of the many different types of bankruptcy available to both individuals and corporations. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as “liquidation” or “straight” bankruptcy because it eliminates most debt in a straightforward and timely manner. Under Virginia law, each person in a bankruptcy case is entitled to claim certain types and amounts of assets as excluded or exempt from the assets that can be liquidated.   Equity if homes, cars, tools of the trade, household goods, and even pets are often fully protected by an exemption.   That’s why your bankruptcy attorney needs so much detailed information.  Most Chapter 7s are “no asset” cases, meaning you don’t have to give up any property to the trustee.   That money is divided among creditors to pay as much of the debt as possible. At the end of the process, the remaining debt of the filer is discharged or erased. This means you do not have to pay the debt, and creditors cannot continue to pursue payment.

This type of bankruptcy typically takes about four months to complete and can effectively discharge a number of different kinds of unsecured debt, including:

  • Credit card debt
  • Personal loans
  • Payday loans
  • Medical bills
  • Civil court judgments
  • Unpaid rent

Assets Can Be Retained in a Virginia Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Both the state of Virginia and the federal government offer exemptions that can help those who file for bankruptcy retain some of their assets. It is possible to keep possession of your home, car, or other property through the bankruptcy process, while still eliminating other considerable and troublesome debt. These exemptions are based on the value of your possessions and the limits set by the state. Every case is unique, however, and your bankruptcy will take shape depending on the specific factors of your case. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine which assets can be protected and work with you to meet your goals.

The Automatic Stay Can Stop Creditors’ Calls Today

The most important aspect of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the automatic stay. When you file Chapter 7, the court will immediately order a stay. This order stops most creditors from pursuing collection, and it can prevent:

  • Foreclosure
  • Wage garnishment
  • Eviction
  • Utility disconnection

The stay does not permanently end your responsibility to these entities, and in some cases, the stay can be removed by the court. It does, however, give you time to arrange your bankruptcy and begin to take charge of your financial future.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Corporations

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can also be a useful option for businesses. Starting and owning a business carries with it considerable risk, and even when you have worked hard and done everything right, the market may simply not be on your side. If your business is drowning in debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be an option. This type of business bankruptcy will dissolve the company to pay as much of what is owed as possible, with the remainder of the debt being made uncollectable.

How Do I Know If I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Virginia?

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for many people with high debt and little ability to pay. Individuals must meet certain income and asset requirements, however. Additionally, if you have already discharged debt through bankruptcy in the last eight years, you may not be able to use this route. It’s important to understand that every situation is unique, and regardless of what you’ve heard from other people or what you’ve read, every person will have different opportunities available to them.

Jeanne Hovenden and David Ostwinkle have been helping clients just like you examine their options and find ways to relieve their debt for many years. We understand what a trying situation it can be, and we also know what it takes to be successful. Even if you aren’t sure if you are a candidate for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

Contact Our Chesterfield Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys Today

While many people expect bankruptcy to be a total, devastating event, that is most often not the case. It is possible to protect assets while still resolving your debt. Despite the fear and embarrassment you may feel, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a common and effective tool that can help individuals and families start over. You don’t have to exhaust all your resources and live with the constant stress of financial trouble. Contact the bankruptcy lawyers at Chesterfield Bankruptcy Law today to learn more about your options and find out how you can start a new financial chapter for your family or business.