Chattanooga Bankruptcy Lawyers
Wagner & Wagner: Bankruptcy attorneys you trust to help you gain relief from debt in Tennessee
If you have been struggling to keep up with bills and falling behind, bankruptcy could be a relief and a good solution. It would give you a fresh start financially. At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we help people who just want a chance to wipe the slate clean. Our experienced Chattanooga bankruptcy lawyers can offer you creative strategies and options to help you get back up on your feet, and take back control of your life.
Is declaring bankruptcy right for me?
Declaring bankruptcy is not an easy decision to make. In general, though, if you meet any of these criteria, it could be a good option:
- Consistently paying the minimum amount on your bills
- Getting notices about possible mortgage foreclosure
- Cannot see how to get out of debt within about five years
- Have had a setback like job loss, injury or illness, or a divorce
- You have a mortgage and other loans, such as a car loan, and would like to continue paying them to keep your property
- You have debts that even under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you would have to pay anyway
- You feel that morally you would like to pay all your debts regardless of how long it takes
Bankruptcy will erase most debts. You may still be responsible for some debts, such as child support, alimony, back taxes, and most student loans. But depending on your financial situation, you could get relief by filing under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If you are facing creditor harassment, wage garnishment, or the loss of your home, we want to help.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chattanooga
Chapter 7 is also called Straight Bankruptcy or Liquidation, and it wipes out most debts. It is simpler and faster than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You may be able to retain certain of your assets like your car, home professional tools, books, benefit payments, and unmatured life insurance, and lose all of the other debt.
A trustee may be appointed to manage the bankruptcy process. Our Chattanooga bankruptcy attorneys can explain the whole process and which of your possessions you would be able to keep.
How does Chapter 13 bankruptcy work?
This type of bankruptcy involves arrangements for paying your debts in full or in part over a period of time. Usually it is three years to a maximum of five years. There is a means test to determine how much you will be asked to repay and how long you will be given to do it. The court will look at your income compared to Tennessee's median income.
The Chapter 13 process is more complex than the process for Chapter 7 and you must have a reliable income along with some disposable income. Paperwork is more extensive. You must list all your debts along with other information and your court-appointed trustee will review it. Your creditors will also review it and can object if they consider it unreasonable. If it is approved, you then make set monthly payments for the timeframe agreed upon.
Sometimes a person on a Chapter 13 program will want or need to revise the plan. We can help you formulate what changes you would like and can submit them for you to the bankruptcy trustee.
Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help you with all aspects of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy – deadlines, forms, statements, changes, problems that might arise if you were to lose your job or come down with a serious illness.
Frequently asked questions about bankruptcy in Tennessee
Bankruptcy is one of those topics that seem to inspire plenty of myths and misinformation. At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law in Chattanooga, we educate clients and potential clients to make the right decisions as they seek debt relief. If you are considering bankruptcy in Tennessee or Georgia, we invite you to contact our law offices about questions such as:
- Isn't bankruptcy tantamount to fraud or theft? How can I morally decide and agree to just walk away from debts that I signed my name to? Bankruptcy may be the most honest and responsible thing you can do under the circumstances of the crushing debt that you face.
- Will bankruptcy ruin my credit score? Will I ever be able to buy a car, buy a house or co-sign on a student loan for my son or daughter? If you are seriously considering bankruptcy, it is likely that your credit score is already at risk. Bankruptcy can offer you a fresh start.
- Will filing bankruptcy bring shame to me or my family? Will it hurt my standing in the community? Unless you tell people you are filing bankruptcy, it is unlikely that your friends, neighbors or co-workers will even know about it.
- Shouldn't I first consider some less drastic means of repaying large debts such as credit counseling or debt consolidation? In our experience, people who attempt to fix unmanageable debt through these schemes simply postpone bankruptcy rather than avoiding it.
- What can I keep and what must I surrender if I file bankruptcy? Most of our clients who file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy are able to keep most or all of their assets by taking advantage of the allowable exemptions such as tools of the trade.
- Can I keep my house and my car if I file bankruptcy? One of the best reasons to consider filing bankruptcy is precisely to position yourself to stay in your house if that is best for you and to keep your car if that is also a good decision. If your mortgage or your car loan has become unmanageable altogether, bankruptcy may be a way to get out from under these crushing debts.
- What about my retirement accounts? Retirement accounts and pensions are off limits for creditors and bankruptcy trustees when you file bankruptcy — unless you voluntarily take funds out of dedicated retirement funds. Please see an attorney before making this mistake.
- Assuming I do decide to file bankruptcy, how will I know which is right for me: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy? A means test and a frank discussion of the particulars of your financial situation should give the right answer. Talk to an attorney for more information.
Why choose Wagner & Wagner?
We keep in touch with our clients and will always let you know what is happening as things proceed. You can call us with questions and be confident that you will receive an answer from a qualified bankruptcy lawyer – not a staff member, a paralegal or an answering service: a lawyer. That dedication to always helping our clients directly is why we have been Chattanooga’s trusted law firm for the last seven decades. When you feel as if you have nowhere else to turn, you can turn to us for honest, practical and effective guidance.
Competent counsel from honest Chattanooga bankruptcy attorneys
If your financial difficulties are causing you anxiety and you would like some support and legal guidance, Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law wants to help. Please call 4253-756-7923, or fill out our contact form. Your consultation will be free of charge. We serve the residents of Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, resident of North Georgia, and the surrounding areas. You deserve a helpful friend at your side.