Let our attorney lend his knowledge and compassion during your time of financial need
When you’re overwhelmed by debt and thinking of bankruptcy, the advice of a competent attorney who understands the “inner workings” of bankruptcy law, like Attorney Bourguignon, can save you from legal mistakes that could cost you thousands.
With personalized advice based on your financial situation from our attorney, you’ll be better able to make the right decisions for your unique financial situation.
- Learn if bankruptcy is right for your situation
- Obtain advice about the right timing for filings and other legal actions
- Get an advocate who can help you negotiate the bankruptcy process
We understand this is a difficult time for you and our compassionate attorney will make certain you understand every step along the way.
Bankruptcy law is too complex to go it alone
Bankruptcy involves certain concepts unique to its field, that even most attorneys are not familiar with. Get knowledgeable advice from an attorney who focuses on bankruptcy.
There are distinct legal differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and there may be ways you can employ them to maximize the benefit to you. Let our attorney help you decide which of these options is right for your situation.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as “traditional bankruptcy” and is what most people think of when they think of bankruptcy. Generally, it involves the surrender of non-exempt assets and the discharge of most unsecured debts. Although legally it is a liquidation, most individuals who file for bankruptcy under chapter 7 bankruptcy keep all of their assets and are able to eliminate their personal responsibility for most, if not all, of their debts (including credit cards). They attend one meeting conducted by a trustee that is scheduled between 20-40 days after the day they file their petition. Typically, a few months after the meeting, they obtain their discharge, and shortly thereafter, their case is closed. Done properly, and at the right time in a person’s financial life, chapter 7 bankruptcy can be the financial turnaround needed. To learn more about the basics of bankruptcy, check these videos out.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy was historically known as the “wage-earner’s plan” because it is designed for people with regular incomes overburdened with debt to obtain relief. Under this bankruptcy chapter a debtor retains his assets and presents a repayment plan of three to five years for approval. Generally, in approved plans, the debtor pays his disposable income over the life of the plan, and the remaining balance of unsecured debts, if any, are discharged upon completion of the plan.
There are many benefits to and reasons for choosing chapter 13 bankruptcy, one is that it can be used to save the debtor’s primary residence. This is because chapter 13 bankruptcy has the power to “cure” a mortgage default by payment of the arrearages due over the life of the plan. If followed to completion, a debtor can be restored to pre-default status and retain their home, which is a wonderful success story every time it happens. However, if saving the home from foreclosure is a goal, DO NOT DELAY because sometimes it becomes impossible to achieve this under chapter 13 if one waits too long. To read an article about chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Attorney Bourguignon’s published article.
An “adversary proceeding” is essentially a lawsuit filed in a bankruptcy case to determine an issue related to the underlying bankruptcy case. Although an adversary proceeding must stem from an underlying bankruptcy case, they are significant federal law suits that encompass (almost) all of the elements of a civil action filed in a United States District Court. There are pretrial conferences, discovery, and a bench trial with the bankruptcy judge presiding.
In the typical bankruptcy case, an adversary proceeding is unnecessary and does not occur. But if necessary or desired, an adversary proceeding can be filed by the Debtor for many reasons, including to avoid a lien or to determine the status of the Debtor’s interest in property. Most commonly a Debtor files one to “strip off” a second mortgage in a chapter 13.
The bankruptcy trustee or a creditor can also file an adversary proceeding against the Debtor. Common subjects are a trustee or creditor objecting to the Debtor’s discharge of all debts (under code section 727), or a creditor objecting to the discharge of a particular debt (under code section 523).
Why not file bankruptcy myself?
Despite the benefits that can be understood by all, the actual legal “inner workings” of a bankruptcy is quite complicated. Especially after the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”) and its implementation of the “means test,” it is unwise to undertake filing for bankruptcy without competent legal counsel. This is also because bankruptcy involves certain concepts unique to its field, that even most attorney’s are not familiar with. Seemingly innocuous activity can have distinct and serious ramifications in bankruptcy. So, it is best not to take the risk of the unknown. Instead, we suggest to hire a competent lawyer if you are considering bankruptcy to take you through the process of rebuilding your financial life.
Bankruptcy is not for everyone. Sometimes, to avoid the risks that can arise from a person’s prior financial transactions, or to retain assets, or even for personal choice, alternatives to bankruptcy should be considered. In fact, in some circumstances, some people are not eligible to file bankruptcy under the chapter they desire. In these cases, alternatives to bankruptcy such as mortgage loan modifications, forebearance agreements, workouts, repayment plans, and/or debt settlements can be pursued. It is likely less stressful to work with an attorney. Give us a call to evaluate what is the best solution for your situation. Our offices are located in the city of Worcester in central Massachusetts and in the city of Springfield in western Massachusetts. We also represent clients in Greater Boston.