Can I apply for a new credit card once I have filed?
You may be able to get a new credit card after you have filed for bankruptcy, although the offers available to you after your discharge will likely be different than those you received before. You may find that you are seeing higher interest rates and fees, and more limited lines of credit.

If you are worried that you will be turned down for a regular credit card, you may want to apply for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require you to put up a set amount of money to the company, and this amount serves as your credit limit on the account. If you make payments on time, you will start to reestablish your credit report.
What happens to my assets during a bankruptcy?
It depends on which kind of bankruptcy you file. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person must list all of his or her property and debts. There are limits on the amount of property one can keep while still eliminating debt, although there are exemptions for certain types of assets(for example, your house or car). Under chapter 13, you may be able to keep most of your property.
Do I have to go to court if I file for bankruptcy?
Unless there are issues that cannot be resolved among you and your creditors, you will probably not need to go to court. You are required to attend one meeting, but it's not held in a courtroom and a judge will not preside (in fact, the judge is prohibited from being there). That meeting usually takes place between 20-40 days after your bankruptcy filing date. If you have filed under chapter 13, you will be required to attend an additional hearing to confirm your payment plan, usually about a month after the meeting of the creditors.
I'm a business owner; how can I avoid personal bankruptcy?
You may want to incorporate your business if you haven't already. A corporation will provide more protection than a sole proprietorship. Business creditors would have to come after your business assets because your corporation would be an entity separate from yourself and your shareholders. You can incorporate your business online at LegalZoom. Disclaimer: The responses and information are intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice, consult an attorney.
What is chapter 7?
Chapter 7 is one type of bankruptcy procedure designed eliminate most debts. These procedures are called "chapter 7 bankruptcies" because they are outlined in chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 bankruptcies are also called "fresh start" or "liquidation" bankruptcies.
Can you keep any of your current or old credit cards once you have filed?
Ultimately, your credit card company will decide whether you can keep your credit card after your bankruptcy. If you have a balance on the card that you are trying to eliminate in bankruptcy, that company will cancel your card. Even if you had a zero balance with the company before bankruptcy, the company may still decide to terminate your account. Moreover, if you file for bankruptcy with a zero balance on one account in an attempt to keep that card, your other creditors may challenge the legitimacy of your filing: if you had enough money to pay down one debt, why couldn't you pay the remaining amounts? This challenge could push you out of bankruptcy, and prevent your eliminating the debt you were trying to erase.
Do I have to file for bankruptcy if I am in debt?
No. If you can pay your bills when they're due, it's a good idea to do so. However, if your debts are significantly more than your assets and income, bankruptcy might be your best option. Contact a LegalZoom network attorney for assistance in making this decision.
How can filing for bankruptcy help with creditors?
After you have prepared and filed your bankruptcy paperwork, the court clerk will notify all of your creditors of your bankruptcy filing and inform them that they may no longer contact you. The clerk's notice will also include information about your meeting of creditors If your creditors continue to pursue you after receiving notice of your bankruptcy, they are subject to sanctions by the bankruptcy court.
How does chapter 13 differ from chapter 7?
Chapter 13 (sometimes called a "wage earner plan") allows an individual to pay his or her debts over an extended period using a court-approved, supervised, and enforced payment plan. Not all creditors need be paid in full and unpaid amounts will be discharged (with some exceptions). Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers help create their own payment plans, which give them three to five years to pay personal debt from their disposable incomes (i.e., whatever is left after necessary expenses, like food and shelter, have been paid). In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, individuals are often allowed to keep their property.
Do I have to list all of my property when I file for bankruptcy?
Yes. Bankruptcy laws require that you fully disclose all of your assets. The FBI fraud division, IRS auditors, and the U.S. Trustee's office examine bankruptcy filings. Even if your assets are not listed in your paperwork, they will be found. It is a federal crime -a felony - to commit bankruptcy fraud. Do not attempt this.
I'm married - does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy too?
No, you and your spouse are not required to file for bankruptcy together. However, you may both want to file for bankruptcy jointly if you and your spouse share responsibility for the debt. If you and your spouse have co-signed a debt together, this may be a debt that the two of you share. For instance, if you have bought a car together, you may both have signed for the loan.

If you live in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin) or have opted in to community property arrangements in Alaska, you and your spouse are jointly responsible for debts either or both of you incurred during your marriage, even if you did not "co-sign" for them. This may impact whether or not you decide to file jointly or whether you want to file on your own.
Who will know about my bankruptcy?
Like most court records, bankruptcy filings are public. However, this does not mean that all of your personal information will be available to everyone who wants it. In most cases, your friends and family will not find out about your bankruptcy unless you tell them.

Direct notice of your bankruptcy will be sent to your creditors and co-debtors (if any). Your bankruptcy will be reported to the major credit bureaus, and will stay on your credit report for ten years, though many credit reporting agencies will remove it after seven. Companies that run credit checks will know about your bankruptcy from these reports. If you have an ex-spouse who receives child support from you, he or she will receive a letter informing them of your bankruptcy, and information about what to do if the child support does not continue.

Finally, although most employers are not told of your bankruptcy, a chapter 13 trustee may request a wage withholding order to your employer if you fall behind on your chapter 13 plan payments.
Why do people choose to file chapter 7 over chapter 13 bankruptcy?
The primary differences between a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing are as follows:

(1) chapter 7 tends to have lower fees. However, you can file for chapter 13 more quickly since the fees can be paid over time. You cannot file for chapter 7 until you have paid all of the fees.

(2) In chapter 7, you can keep only your exempt property, and the trustee may sell much of the rest to pay your creditors. In chapter 13, you may generally keep all of your assets.

(3) You can qualify for chapter 13 filings only if you have regular income and debts below a certain level. If you do not have a regular income, and have significant debts, chapter 7 may be a better choice for you.
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that allows an individual or company to eliminate debt and to stop creditor harassment.