The Orange County, NC, bankruptcy attorneys of the Sasser Law Firm provide knowledgeable legal counsel for those who need it. We are committed to helping you free yourself from the burdens that debt can create, and help you realize a better, financially stable future.
Our Orange County bankruptcy law firm has three board-certified attorneys who concentrate on these complex cases. In over 20 years, we’ve handled more than 8,500 claims to enable individuals and businesses to resolve their financial challenges.
We have extensive experience handling Chapter 7, 11, and 13 filings for clients in Orange County and throughout North Carolina. Call us today or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer for bankruptcy in Chapel Hill and Orange County.
Understanding the Different Types of Bankruptcy
There are three types of bankruptcy to consider, depending on the circumstances. In general, the main differences are eligibility, length of the process, and filing costs. Your Chapel Hill bankruptcy lawyer will review your situation to determine which chapter best fits your situation.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy and involves eliminating most unsecured debts through a liquidation – selling most assets to pay off creditors. Individuals, partnerships, and corporations may all qualify for Chapter 7.
There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing this option. Generally, it’s best to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if the following apply:
- You own little or no property.
- Your expenses exceed your income.
- Your debts are mostly unsecured (medical bills, credit cards, personal loans, etc.).
- You don’t want a multi-year repayment plan.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes around four to six months. You’re also required to complete credit counseling with an approved agency.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Orange County, the following events occur:
- An automatic stay is placed as soon as you submit your petition to prevent creditors from trying to collect any money you owe them. During this temporary period, collection agencies can’t garnish your wages, seize cash from your bank account, repossess your car or house, or shut off your utilities.
- The bankruptcy court takes control of your assets and decides what property to sell to pay off your debts or a portion thereof.
- The court appoints a bankruptcy trustee to disburse assets to creditors to the extent possible. The trustee also reviews the bankruptcy petition for any nonexempt property to sell, and locates potential financial transactions, if any, to undo for additional assets.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
An individual, LLC, partnership, or joint venture could file under Chapter 11, including those with too much debt or income to qualify for Chapters 7 or 13. Filing for this type of bankruptcy allows for the restructuring of finances to pay off any debts. The debtor also needs to create a payment plan to show creditors how and when they will be paid.
There’s no specific duration for a Chapter 11 filing. However, it generally lasts six months to two years. Choosing this option allows the debtor to continue operating a business. There are, however, some restrictions.
When running your business under Chapter 11, you’ll need approval from the court to do the following:
- Sell assets, such as real property or personal property
- Enter or break a lease of real or personal property
- Apply for a mortgage or any secured financing that allows you to borrow money
- Close down or expand business operations
- Enter or modify licensing, vendor, union, or another type of contract or agreement
- Retention and payment of any fees and expenses to an attorney or other professionals
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Mainly individuals, not businesses, file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Much like Chapter 11, Chapter 13 allows a debt restructuring and a repayment plan, which may take three to five years. Importantly, it puts any property foreclosure or vehicle repossession on hold.
You must meet the following requirements to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Orange County, NC:
- Secured and unsecured debts must not exceed a certain amount, which changes regularly each year.
- You must prove to the court that you’re able to make your monthly household payments as well as payments to the creditors.
- Corporations and other types of businesses aren’t eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, sole proprietors who are personally responsible for any business-related debts, might qualify.
Upon filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must take the following steps:
- Pay a filing fee.
- Produce a certificate that shows you received information on the mandatory credit counseling courses.
- Take credit counseling courses.
There are pros and cons to each bankruptcy type. Your Orange County bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to which chapter best meets your needs and gets you back on your feet.
What You Will Need in Order to File Bankruptcy in Orange County
When you hire an Orange County bankruptcy law firm in Chapel Hill, NC, we will start working on your case immediately. The necessary steps to take when you file for bankruptcy are complex and confusing, which is why it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable Orange County bankruptcy attorney by your side.
We know the information that needs to be compiled, the essential documents to submit, and all legal measures to ensure a court will approve your bankruptcy petition.
Depending on the type of bankruptcy, the following steps are required:
- Gather and review all your financial documents, including monthly expenses and debts.
- In consultation with an Orange County bankruptcy attorney, determine which bankruptcy filing makes the most sense for your situation.
- Undergo a credit counseling course, which must get completed within six months of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
- File a bankruptcy petition that lists your income, expenses, and debts.
- The court will appoint a trustee to handle administrative tasks for your case.
- Attend a meeting that the trustee schedules to enable creditors to question you about your finances and other information in your bankruptcy petition.
- Start making payments to the creditors for the debts you owe, if applicable.
- Attend personal financial management counseling before any of your financial obligations get erased.
Should the court deny your petition, your Chapel Hill, NC bankruptcy lawyer can file an appeal, modify the petition, or perhaps convert to another chapter.
The appeals process is also a complicated road to navigate. There are unique circumstances and strict deadlines to adhere to when appealing a denied bankruptcy filing. As part of our practice, the Sasser Law Firm focuses on handling bankruptcy appeals or modifications on behalf of our clients.
Talk to an Orange County Bankruptcy Lawyer Now
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy and are unsure where to begin, call a bankruptcy attorney in Orange County today. We care about our clients and want to help you eliminate or restructure your debts as efficiently as possible.
When you hire Sasser Law Firm, we will review the details of your financial situation and all documentation you provide to determine which type of bankruptcy is right for you.
We know this is a stressful time in your life. You’re struggling with debt and unsure how to pull yourself out of your predicament. We’ll be by your side from start to finish of your bankruptcy to provide the legal advice you need. Whether you’re trying to pay off massive credit card bills or facing imminent foreclosure on your home or business property, we’re here to help.
Sasser Law Firm believes in the importance of quality customer service. Moreover, your case won’t get handed off to a paralegal. Each of our attorneys work directly with Chapel Hill and Orange County bankruptcy clients to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and that the lines of communication are always open. We make it our mission to create a relaxed environment at our office, so you always feel comfortable when you come to see us.
Because we offer a free, confidential consultation, there’s no risk to speak with an Orange County bankruptcy attorney at the Sasser Law Firm about the different options available to resolve your financial problems. If bankruptcy isn’t right for your situation, we can refer you to other appropriate professionals.
Additionally, if you’re filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we don’t require any upfront fees. We won’t receive any payments for legal services until your repayment plan begins. For any type of bankruptcy representation, our fees are straightforward, and there are no surprises buried in the fine print.