Permanent Protection: The Discharge
Many people in Alabama are saddled with what seems to be an insurmountable level of debt. They may suffer telephone harassment from creditors and collection agencies at all hours. They may have been sued for substantial sums of money that they cannot pay. Bankruptcy is often a good solution for individuals who have significant consumer debt. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, your goal is to obtain a discharge of consumer debts so that you can start fresh. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can help people in South-Central Alabama near to our offices in Montgomery, Prattville and Troy decide whether it makes sense to pursue this process.Permanent Protection Offered By Discharge
When you file for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you obtain an automatic stay against all collection efforts. This means that creditors and collection agencies must stop contacting you as soon as they are made aware that you have filed for bankruptcy. Foreclosure sales and repossessions cannot go forward. Garnishment or levies must be stopped. Certain proceedings, such as a criminal case, the collection of alimony or child support, and specific acts to perfect security interests in property, can move forward. The automatic stay protects you and your property until you receive a discharge, but it only lasts through the bankruptcy. If you do not make your Chapter 13 payments or the court denies your Chapter 7 discharge, for example, you lose the protection of the automatic stay, and creditors can resume their efforts.
To receive permanent protection against consumer debt collection efforts, you will need to successfully complete the bankruptcy process and obtain a discharge. In most cases it takes three or four months to obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In certain complex cases or when creditors object to the discharge, the process can take a little longer. It can take three to five years to receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You will need to commit to making timely monthly payments and complete a debt repayment plan in order to receive the Chapter 13 discharge.
Once you receive your discharge, you have permanent protection against collection efforts or lawsuits by creditors that were owed the debts that have been discharged. The permanent relief from debt is the discharge order, which is a statutory injunction that prevents creditors from taking any further action to collect a debt that has already been discharged. If a creditor tries to violate a discharge injunction, the creditor can be sued and then sanctioned with civil contempt. The attempt to collect the debt may also violate other laws.
There are non-dischargeable debts against which you cannot obtain permanent protection, such as most tax debts, debts incurred by fraudulent or malicious acts, child support, and student loans, except in the rare event that the court orders otherwise. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on a filer's credit report for 10 years, but you can start rebuilding your credit right away. Typically, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is removed from credit reports after seven years.Discuss Your Financial Reorganization with an Alabama Attorney
Handling debt can be stressful, particularly if you lose your job or experience a medical emergency. In some cases, bankruptcy can provide a solid solution to your financial troubles. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can evaluate the debts of Alabama residents and advise them on whether pursuing this option will provide permanent protection against their debts. Grainger Legal Services represents clients in the South-Central Alabama area from our offices located in Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy. Call us at (334) 260-0500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.