Bankruptcy FAQs

What Is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy law is federal law provided for in the U.S. Constitution and based upon statutes passed by the U.S. Congress. Bankruptcy is our country's answer to the debtor prisons that existed in England when our country was formed. Bankruptcy law allows a person who cannot afford to pay his or her debts to get a fresh financial start without going to jail. Learn more.

Will Bankruptcy Stop Creditor Harassment?

Yes. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, creditors cannot call you, write to you, foreclose upon your property or sue you without first obtaining authority to do so from the Bankruptcy Court. Also, the filing of a bankruptcy case stops any lawsuit or foreclosure action already in progress, but not completed. If creditors continue to contact you after they are notified of your bankruptcy case, the court is authorized to punish them for harassing you. Learn more.

Will I Have To Pay To Meet With An Attorney?

No, the initial consultation with us for a consumer bankruptcy case is free.

What Should I Expect When I Call For An Appointment?

We will set up a time to meet with an attorney. We will also send you an information sheet you will need to fill out completely for the appointment. At the appointment, your attorney will use this sheet to see who you owe, how much you owe and other relevant information. He will then discuss your financial situation with you and advise you of your options. You will decide which one to pursue.

Will I Lose My Property When I File For Bankruptcy?

Hopefully, no. One of our main goals will be to assist you in obtaining a fresh financial start without losing property. If any of your property is in jeopardy, the attorney will so advise you and recommend ways to protect that property. Learn more.

If I Meet With An Attorney, Do I Have To File Bankruptcy?

No, the choice is yours. Also, bankruptcy is not the right step for every person. We will fully explain both the positive and negative aspects of filing a bankruptcy case. Over the years, we have advised many people not to file for various reasons. One thing is certain: ignoring your creditors will not make your financial troubles go away.

Is There More Than One Type Of Bankruptcy?

Yes, there are four. There are Chapters 11 and 12, which are hardly ever filed by individuals in the Gaston County area. Chapter 11 is generally for corporations or individuals who owe large amounts (millions of dollars). Chapter 12 is for family farmers and fishermen. Individuals in this area generally file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is often referred to as "straight bankruptcy" and Chapter 13 is referred to as a "wage earner plan." At your appointment, your attorney will discuss each of these chapters with you and tell you the positive and negative effects of filing either chapter based upon your situation.

Can I File Bankruptcy Without The Assistance Of A Lawyer?

Yes, but that is usually not a wise decision. Bankruptcy law is complicated and full of serious and dangerous traps for anyone who is not experienced. People who file for themselves often lose property they would not have lost with the proper advice. Learn more.

What Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy?

The Bankruptcy Court charges a filing fee of $335 for a Chapter 7 case and $310 for a Chapter 13 case regardless of whether the bankruptcy case is filed by just one person or by spouses jointly. When you meet with us, we will fully explain the attorneys fees involved in filing either a Chapter 7 or 13 case and how those fees are paid. Attorneys fees depend upon how complex your case may be. We always try to keep our fees reasonable. Bankruptcy law is like many other complex services: you get what you pay for. We have devoted our careers to helping people with debt problems. We charge what is necessary to run our office and make a living. The last thing we want to do is add unnecessary financial burdens on people who are already struggling.

Will I Have To Go To Court If I File For Bankruptcy?

Yes. You will have to go at least once for what is called the meeting of creditors. This meeting is usually short and fairly informal. The judge is prohibited by law from attending this meeting. Your attorney will represent you at this meeting. Creditors rarely show up to ask questions about the information filed in these cases. The meeting will serve as an opportunity for the trustee appointed in your case to confirm the information you filed and for you to provide any necessary updates or clarifications and to promise under oath that you have been truthful.

Will Bankruptcy Hurt My Credit?

Yes. If you are already behind on your payments to creditors, however, your credit record may already be hurt so that filing bankruptcy may not make matters any worse. Credit agencies can generally keep bankruptcy filings on record as information for seven years, but you can rebuild your credit much sooner than that. Bankruptcy relief removes the negatives from your credit and gives you the opportunity to add a track record of positives. Our attorneys can discuss with you responsible and safe ways to rebuild credit within your means and without getting back into debt. Though a bankruptcy filing initially hurts your credit record, that does not mean that filing bankruptcy will prohibit you from obtaining loans. Though we strongly recommend avoiding getting into debt, you will be able to borrow money again if necessary. The sooner you attempt to do it before rebuilding your credit, the higher the interest rate will be. Learn more.

Will My Employer Or Friends Find Out That I Have Filed For Bankruptcy?

Generally no, unless you owe them money. Learn more.

Must I List Everyone I Owe In My Bankruptcy Petition?

Definitely, yes. Failing to list a creditor can cause you to lose the benefits of your bankruptcy case and, in extreme cases, can be considered a federal crime.

Must I List All My Property In My Bankruptcy Petition?

Definitely, yes. Failure to do so may cause you to lose the benefits of your bankruptcy case and is a federal crime punishable by fines or even imprisonment.

Why Should I Consider Hiring Sigmon & Henderson, PLLC, As My Bankruptcy Lawyers?

Our firm is among the most experienced and specialized in consumer bankruptcy and protection in western North Carolina. Mr. Sigmon and Mr. Henderson are both certified by the North Carolina State Bar as specialists in consumer bankruptcy, and they both have many years of experience as court-appointed trustees in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. They will serve you with excellence honed from decades of representing consumer debtors as well as the insights gained from serving as Chapter 7 trustees. Just as important to us, everyone at our firm will strive to serve in an understanding and compassionate way that values you and helps you move forward into the next chapter of your story.

Call 704-269-6374 or email us to schedule a free initial consultation with a certified bankruptcy lawyer.