A Fresh Start
With Halverson Law

Is Bankruptcy Right For You?

Are you unable to keep up with your debts and bills?  Are debt collectors annoying you – or worse?  If so, bankruptcy may provide relief and peace of mind. Bankruptcy can stop creditor harassment, collection actions, and even garnishment. Often people who file bankruptcy do not lose any property. In most cases, debt not backed up by collateral is discharged. This means you have no further legal obligation to pay those debts. For debts that are secured by collateral (like a vehicle or house, for instance), you generally get to choose whether to continue making payments or to give up the asset. There are certain types of debts that cannot be discharged – we can sort that out for you.  These often include taxes, student loans, child support and spousal maintenance.

My husband and I have accumulated a lot of credit card debt and medical debt over the past five years. We simply can’t pay it off. We earn more than $100,000 per year. Can we still qualify for a bankruptcy?
Yes, you can still qualify. Depending on the number of people in your household and your reasonable expenses, you might be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in which your medical debt and credit card debts are discharged in short order.  If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you enter into a plan to pay off some or all of your debts over a period of time, usually either three or five years. Contact our office to figure out what route is the best for you.
I am planning to file bankruptcy but I am worried about whether my employer will find out. Will my employer be notified if I file bankruptcy?
Usually, an employer does not have any reason to be notified of a bankruptcy filing. If your employer is also your creditor, however, then your employer will be notified. The fact that your employer is not notified does not mean your employer will not find out. Filing bankruptcy is a public matter.  However, the records are not easily accessible. But if your employer wants to look into whether you filed bankruptcy and is willing to pay somebody to check, your employer will likely find out.  Bankruptcy filings are not part of the state court records.  Newspapers rarely report on bankruptcy filings unless a business or prominent person is involved or a case is otherwise newsworthy.
I heard you can only have one car if you file bankruptcy.  I am thinking of filing bankruptcy but have two cars.  Should I sell one or transfer one to a friend?
If you are considering bankruptcy, you should never transfer your property without first talking to an attorney.  In some cases, the very property you transferred could be taken by the trustee.  It could even result in your bankruptcy discharge being denied..  However, depending on what other property you own and its values, more than one car can be kept.  The title certificate usually is determinative of who actually owns a vehicle.
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You might need to file under the Chapter 13 bankruptcy code because you make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7.  The 2005 Bankruptcy Act now makes it more difficult for people with higher incomes to liquidate their debts in bankruptcy. For example, if you live in a household of four people and earn a net income of $90,900.00 or more, you might not qualify to file the Chapter 7 bankruptcy code. There is a sliding scale depending on household size.
Do I lose everything I own if I file for bankruptcy?
No, the U.S. Government and State of Minnesota have created exemptions that protect many of your assets from creditors. For example, in Minnesota, a very generous homestead exemption is allowed.
What happens to my house if I file for bankruptcy?
If you are current on your mortgage payments, nothing will happen. You keep paying your mortgage payments and you will keep your house. If you are behind on your house payments, then there are different rules and you should consider filing a Chapter 13 to catch up.
Which cities qualify to work with Halverson Law?
Our office is located in downtown Mankato. Most bankruptcy filings are completed with only one administrative hearing called the Meeting of Creditors taking place. Because the Bankruptcy Courts are Federal Courts, you do not go to the hearing at your county courthouse. Because bankruptcy case preparation is largely the collection, distillation and assembly of various data needed in the bankruptcy filing (the petition) we can complete a filing with minimal in persona contact.

Halverson Law office may take a case from anywhere in Minnesota, but the logistics of hearings usually favors cases from Southern Minnesota. Cases from the following counties comprise the core service areas, as necessary hearings are in the same location for each county which allows consolidation of hearings. The following counties have Chapter 7 hearings in Mankato, a block away from our office:

Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Freeborn, Jackson, Lac qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Sibley, Waseca, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.

We also file cases from counties throughout southern Minnesota, including the following counties:

Anoka, Carver, Chippewa, Chisago, Dakota, Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue,  Hennepin, Houston, Isanti, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Mower, Olmsted, Ramsey, Renville, Rice, Sherburne, Swift, Scott, Steele, Wabasha, Washington, Winona and Wright.

Where can I learn more about bankruptcy in general?
The link below is to an official court site called “bankruptcy basics” that has extensive video information.
Watch Bankruptcy Videos
Read More About Bankruptcy