FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will I lose my house, car and all of my other stuff if I file for bankruptcy?

In most instances, no. The purpose of bankruptcy is to provide protection. Mainly, protection of your assets. This is done by making use of either federal or state exemptions. Most consumers have either mortgage loans or automobile loans. This means that the equity in their home or car is weighed against the debt on those properties. It is your equity in the property that we seek to protect. Your lenders goal is to have you continue to pay on the property. They don't want it back.

Am I a loser, un-American, or a scam artist if I file for bankruptcy?

No, and it's infuriating that creditors we'll stoop so low as to name call to get a payment. Bankruptcy is not shameful. Many corporations and wealthy individuals have sought bankruptcy protection in the United States. They look at bankruptcy as part of doing business to keep the business operating. You as an individual are looking to keep your family operating and bankruptcy may be the best option to make sure that you And your family do not face undue hardship.

Will my creditors stop harassing me if I file for bankruptcy?

They darn well better. The court takes collection efforts after a bankruptcy very serious. These efforts may be a violation the bankruptcy court"automatic stay." This may have serious consequences for the creditor.

Will I ever be able to get credit again?

Yes. In fact one of our biggest concerns is that the creditors will bombard you with offers as soon as your bankruptcy is concluded. You may receive offers from car dealerships, credit card companies, and personal loan lenders. These lenders often will extend credit at very high interest rates with poor payback terms.  Waiting a period of time after your bankruptcy case has concluded will often get you a better deal in terms of credit.

Do I get to pick and choose which debts are included in the bankruptcy?

No. You must list every single debt you have at the time you file for bankruptcy. That doesn't mean that every debt will be treated the same. If you have a mortgage or car loan, and you intend to keep that property, You will continue to pay on those debts like normal. 

Will people know I filed for bankruptcy?

Unless you are a celebrity or politician there is very little reason to worry your self about others knowing you filed for bankruptcy. Most likely, the only people who will know you filed are your creditors and people and you choose to tell. While bankruptcy is a public proceeding, there are more than 10,000 bankruptcies filed in New Mexico each year.

Will my utilities be turned off if I file for bankruptcy?

No. In fact a number of cases are filed to prevent the shut off of utilities.  However, if you are behind on payments with a utility company, within 20 days of filing your bankruptcy case you will have to provide"adequate assurance" to the utility company to ensure future payments.

Can I get rid of my student loans if I file for bankruptcy?

The short answer is no. There are very few exceptions that will allow for student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy court. It must be more than simple hardship to payback. A bankruptcy filing can alleviate the pressure of other debts allowing you to more easily payback your student loan debt, or allow you to restructure your student loan debt for a period of time.

If I am married, does my spouse have to file bankruptcy with me?

No. You may file bankruptcy either as an individual or as a married couple. If you file as an individual and you are married, your spouse will be considered a non-filing spouse, but your spouse will be notified of the filing.  The bankruptcy filing will not be on his or her credit report.

Will bankruptcy solve all of my financial problems?

While bankruptcy can help relieve the pressure of overwhelming debt, it won't solve every financial problem.  That is why we encourage our clients to take advantage of post-bankruptcy planning. These debts may include budgeting, regular checks of credit reports, financial planning courses and other steps that will help you along the way to a more secure financial future.

What happens to money I may be receiving (i.e. tax refund, lawsuit settlement, inheritance, etc.) when I file for bankruptcy?

You should speak with us about any money you are looking forward to receiving when you file bankruptcy. This will help us give you appropriate advice regarding exemption use that may protect these assets.

Do I have enough debt to file for bankruptcy?

There is no minimum debt amount to file bankruptcy. However, we want to look at your full financial situation to make sure that bankruptcy is the best option for you.  If we believe there is a better alternative, we will recommend that alternative.

What debts are eliminated in bankruptcy?

Common debts that are eliminated in bankruptcy include: credit card debt, collection agency account debts, medical bills, personal loans, and past due utilities. Debts that are typically not dischargeable include: alimony, child support, some taxes, and retirement loans. These lists are not all inclusive. If you have a question about a particular debt, and whether or not it is dischargeable, please contact our office.

Does this mean I get a free house or a free car?

Sorry, you're not that lucky.