Who Can File Bankruptcy In Milwaukee, Wisconsin?
Understanding Bankruptcy Eligibility
Before filing, you have to learn who can file for bankruptcy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to determine your eligibility. While there are tons of articles you can read online that tell you one thing, and others that tell you something else, it is necessary to get in touch with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to specifically answer your inquiry.
At Miller & Miller Law, LLC, we focus on addressing your unique situation. We offer only effective legal advice that we know will benefit you and your family. With over 20 years of legal experience, you can certainly rely on us! Get a free case evaluation today.
What is Wisconsin Bankruptcy Law?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, operating under the authority of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, are federal courts. Nevertheless, federal legislation permits states to establish laws regarding the protection of property from creditors. Wisconsin has opted to enact its own regulations concerning exempt property, which refers to property individuals can retain to aid in their recovery and moving forward after bankruptcy.
In Wisconsin, individuals have the option to select either the federal exemptions outlined in the Bankruptcy Code or the exemptions provided by state law. You have the freedom to select the system that aligns with your specific financial circumstances. However, it’s important to note that once you make a choice, you must adhere to that particular system, as you cannot selectively pick and choose exemptions from each system on a case-by-case basis.
What Are The Types Of Bankruptcy In Wisconsin?
To understand fully the role of bankruptcy exemptions in the entire process of bankruptcy, you have first to identify the two types of personal bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as “liquidation bankruptcy” since you have to surrender the property you can no longer protect through exemptions to a bankruptcy trustee who will sell it and utilize the proceeds to pay your creditors. Bankruptcy exemptions play a huge role in Chapter 7 cases because you have the possibility of losing all the properties that are not covered by the exemptions. In exchange for surrendering your nonexempt property, you will usually emerge from bankruptcy debt-free. However, you have to meet specific income thresholds in order to be eligible.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows people to settle their debts over a three- to five-year repayment plan as long as they have a regular and steady income. Debts under this chapter can be paid in full or in part. A repayment plan under Chapter 13 bankruptcy must be duly approved by the bankruptcy court. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is useful for homeowners because they can retain their home.
When you file for either chapter, you will receive a significant advantage known as the automatic stay granted by the court. This stay halts nearly all actions taken by creditors to collect debts, such as foreclosures and court proceedings. It serves as a safeguard against harassment by collection agencies, providing you with the necessary space to address your debt issues.
Who Can File Bankruptcy?
Corporations and individuals have the option to declare bankruptcy. It’s not necessary for married couples to file jointly. Sometimes, it’s beneficial for one spouse to file while the other doesn’t. If you and your spouse are having difficulties or are unsure about filing together, it’s advisable to consult an attorney for an initial meeting without your spouse. In this meeting, I can assist you in determining whether it’s appropriate to include your spouse in the bankruptcy filing or not.
I Filed For Bankruptcy In The Past. Can I File Again?
If you have previously filed for bankruptcy, there may be a waiting period before you can file again. The length of this wait will vary depending on the specific chapter under which your prior case was filed and the chapter you intend to file for in your second case.
- If you have previously received a discharge under Chapter 7, there is a minimum waiting period of eight years before you can file for another Chapter 7.
- After receiving a Chapter 7 discharge, you have the option to file for Chapter 13. However, to be eligible for a discharge under Chapter 13, at least four years must have passed since the filing date of your previous Chapter 7 case.
- If you have obtained a discharge under Chapter 13 and paid 70 percent or less to unsecured creditors, you must wait six years from the filing date of the Chapter 13 case before you can file for Chapter 7 again.
- However, if your Chapter 13 case paid more than 70 percent to unsecured creditors, you can immediately re-file under Chapter 7.
- In the case of filing for Chapter 13 and receiving a discharge, a waiting period of two years after the initial Chapter 13 filing is required before you can file for Chapter 13 again.
- If your Chapter 13 case was dismissed, you have the option to re-file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 immediately, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. However, if you re-file within one year of the dismissal of the previous case, the automatic bankruptcy stay will end. To prevent the termination of the stay, you can file a successful motion to continue the stay within 30 days of filing your second bankruptcy case.
- If you voluntarily dismiss a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 case after a motion for relief has been filed, or if your case was dismissed due to willful failure to comply with court orders, a waiting period of 180 days is required before you can re-file for bankruptcy. It’s important to note that committing fraud may also prevent you from re-filing. This requirement is specified in 11 U.S.C. § 109.
Debt Limits For Filing Bankruptcy
You have keep in mind that individuals with substantial levels of debt might not meet the eligibility criteria for filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In such exceptional situations, they may qualify to file under Chapter 11 instead. According to the guidelines outlined in 11 U.S.C. § 109, if your combined unsecured debts amount to at least $360,475.00 or your secured debts amount to at least $1,081,400.00, you do not meet the eligibility requirements for filing Chapter 13.
These thresholds are periodically adjusted over time. However, it’s important to note that these debt amount restrictions do not apply to individuals filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Why Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?
Determining eligibility in bankruptcy requires you to read and understand the bankruptcy law. Hiring a bankruptcy attorney is advantageous in many ways. They can help you navigate through the legal requirements and interpret how they apply to your specific situation. To get the best possible legal advice, keep in mind the following good characteristics of a bankruptcy attorney:
- Holistic Solutions – If you are living in fear due to your financial difficulties, you deserve a bankruptcy attorney who will assist you not only at the beginning but throughout your entire bankruptcy journey. In other words, choose an attorney who provides holistic solutions to your complex difficulties.
- Treats You With Respect – Discussing financial matters is as serious as discussing physical health. It requires a thorough assessment, evaluation, careful attention, and, most importantly, respect. As a debtor, you should not feel uneasy when expressing your financial difficulties. Choose a bankruptcy attorney who respects you and your past decisions.
- Resolve Matters Quickly – Your bankruptcy attorney must be reasonably firm and extensively knowledgeable. A knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney knows what needs to be done and won’t take much time to figure out your next step. Do not prolong your problems.
As a debtor, always take your time evaluating your chosen bankruptcy attorney. You should look for a bankruptcy attorney who is willing to provide holistic solutions, treats you with respect, and can resolve your problems quickly. In other words, choose Miller & Miller Law, LLC. We are experienced, knowledgeable, and competent. We will not let you suffer from insurmountable debts—we offer quick and effective legal solutions. Get a free case evaluation today!
Call our Bankruptcy Attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Now!
On the question of who can file bankruptcy in Wisconsin, the eligibility is fixed by the bankruptcy law. However, understanding and applying them in your situation requires greater effort than just reading. That is why, even if it is not required, consulting with a seasoned bankruptcy attorney is highly recommended.
Miller & Miller Law, LLC is the right bankruptcy attorney that you’ve been looking for. You may have seen many bankruptcy law firms in Wisconsin, but there’s no other like us. We have been practicing bankruptcy for more than 20 years already, allowing us to gain a solid reputation, substantial knowledge, and proven competencies. Our legal team will guide you throughout the entire process providing a holistic approach. Get a free case evaluation today!
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