BANKRUPTCY AND DEBT RELIEF
There are a number of factors that can cause someone to investigate options under bankruptcy: loss of a job over a prolonged period of time; divorce or separation; health problems resulting in numerous medical bills; or a host of other reasons. All or any one of these factors can come into play in an individual case. As for companies and businesses, bankruptcy can offer an effective way to reorganize and continue operation, or a means to liquidate assets in an orderly, legally prescribed way to close shop.
We at Dunlow & Wilkinson, P.A. believe that deciding whether to file bankruptcy for an individual or business is a big decision, and that individuals and businesses alike are best served when guided through the process and represented by knowledgeable, responsive and concerned counsel. We have over 12 years of combined legal experience in advising individuals and companies whether seeking relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code is right for their situation, and routinely prepare cases and represent clients effectively before the United States Bankruptcy Court.
A FREE INITIAL INTERVIEW - THE FIRST STEP
Our first step in assisting individuals and businesses seeking possible relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code is to set a free-of-charge initial meeting. Our goal for this initial meeting is to provide you, the client, with an initial, but comprehensive, assessment as to whether you would benefit from seeking relief under Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or other provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code..
It is helpful, but not essential, to bring the following information to the initial interview:
1. Income. Documentation to indicate your current income. Please have a knowledge of your income over the past six (6) months;
2. Bills. Provide copies of bills and / or a list of all creditors you owe with the approximate payoff balances as well as the amount of your monthly payments on your debt;
3. Value of Property and Possessions. Have a knowledge of the value of your property and possessions, for example, the value of your car, home or any other land in which you own an interest; and
4. Budget. Lastly, provide the amount of your current expenses and payments on a monthly basis.
Again, at the end of this interview, it is our goal to be able to provide you with an initial, but comprehensive, assessment as to whether you or your business would benefit from seeking relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. An alternative to filing for individual or business bankruptcy is negotiating settlement of individual debts. Our firm can assist with these matters as well.
TYPES OF BANKRUPTCY
Chapter 7. Chapter 7 is known as a liquidation bankruptcy. In these types of cases, businesses or individuals list all of their assets and all of their debts, providing a complete disclosure to the Bankruptcy Court. For a business, Chapter 7 provides an orderly and lawfully prescribed way to close shop. For individuals, Chapter 7 can provide debt relief without any further ongoing payments to unsecured creditors.
Chapter 13. Chapter 13 is known as a wage-earner bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is only available to individual debtors. Just as in the Chapter 7 case, individuals who are seeking relief under Chapter 13 must list all of their assets and all of their debts, providing a complete disclosure to the Bankruptcy Court. Individuals file for relief under Chapter 13 for several reasons: (1) they have too much income or too many assets to obtain relief under Chapter 7; (2) they need to catch up past due payments to secured creditors, for example creditors who hold a mortgage on a house or a lien on a vehicle; or (3) they need the more expansive debt relief than a Chapter 7 provides.
Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is a business reorganization. These can be massive cases for large businesses or they can be smaller cases for the "mom and pop shop." In either event, the purpose of a Chapter 11 is to provide for the restructuring of business debt in a way that allows the business to continue operation.
Chapter 12. Chapter 12 is for family farmers. Like the Chapter 11, this type of bankruptcy provides for a reorganization and restructuring of a farming business that allows the business or individual to continue operation and once again become profitable.
Though our firm's debtor representation focuses on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, we represent creditors in all types of bankruptcy and meet with individuals, business owners and farmers who seek relief under other chapters of the United States Bankruptcy Code. We routinely file cases int the Eastern District of North Carolina, but represent debtors and creditors in the Middle District of North Carolina as well.
OUR PROCESS TO PREPARE YOUR CASE
Following the free initial interview, if you decide to proceed with filing a Bankruptcy case, we provide you with our Bankruptcy forms. Admittedly, these forms take some time to complete, but they are not complicated. We ask that you review them thoroughly; complete them as best you can, and note any questions you may have.
Following this meeting, our office will prepare your bankruptcy petition. Once the petition is complete, we will call you to come in for a final follow up meeting. At this meeting it is our goal to make certain that the information contained on your petition is accurate and complete. Additionally, at this meeting you will sign your bankruptcy petition. That same day we will submit your petition to the Bankruptcy Court. Thereafter, the Court sends notice to your creditors. Within approximately a week of filing, all creditors should have been notified of your bankruptcy filing and should no longer contact you.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES AND REQUIEMENTS
Along with filing a bankruptcy case, we obtain a copy of your credit report from a service that obtains information from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. The purpose of obtaining this credit report is to ensure that we have all known creditors listed on your bankruptcy petition.
The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 requires that individuals seeking relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code participate in (1) a Credit Counseling course, which must be taken prior to filing your bankruptcy case; and (2) a Financial Management Course, which must be taken after your petition is filed. Our firm partners with Hummingbird Credit Counseling and Education, Inc. to meet these requirements. Through Hummingbird's website these two courses can be taken online, either in our office or on your home computer.
WHY DUNLOW & WILKINSON, P.A.
We know that financial matters can cause a grea deal of stress, with constant calls from creditors and worries for the future. Our bankruptcy attorney has the experience and expertise needed to handle these matters. We take pride in providing the individual time and attention needed to represent and carefully guide our clients through all aspects of their bankruptcy cases. If you are looking for more information, do not hesitate to contact us at our office.
WE ARE A DEBT RELIEF AGENCY ASSISTING INDIVIDUALS AND
BUSINESSES OBTAIN RELIEF UNDER THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY CODE
106 Gilliam Street
Post Office Box 600
Oxford, NC 27565
(919) 725-9161 (phone)
(919) 725-9162 (fax)
Copyright Dunlow & Wilkinson, P.A. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved.