Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney in Wisconsin
Millions of hard-working and responsible people get into financial trouble every year… If you are experiencing financial problems or need debt relief in Wisconsin, consumer bankruptcy may be an option for you to obtain debt consolidation. Our team of bankruptcy attorneys also specializes in business bankruptcy filings in Wisconsin.
Filing for bankruptcy can provide a fresh start and wipe out medical bills, personal loans, personal guaranties, judgments, and some taxes. Additionally, in Wisconsin, you can file a Chapter 128 consumer debt consolidation, a bankruptcy alternative that may help you get back on track.
At Swanson Sweet, we are dedicated to helping people just like you eliminate debt and set themselves up for a brighter future through bankruptcy and Chapter 128 actions. To schedule your consultation with the bankruptcy attorneys of Swanson Sweet, call our office today.
How do I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Wisconsin?
If you’re wrestling with unmanageable debts and wondering if there’s a way out, Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin could provide the financial fresh start you’re seeking.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy,” is a legal process designed to eliminate most of your unsecured debts, offering you a clean slate to rebuild your financial life, and allowing you to retain most of your possessions.
In many cases, most, if not all, of your unsecured medical bills, credit cards, money judgments, and personal loans will be discharged. Debt discharge means you are under no obligation to pay them back. Some examples of debts that are commonly eliminated in Chapter 7 bankruptcy include:
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Past-due rent
- Utility bills
- Certain tax debts
To find out what debts you can discharge through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, call us today to discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney local to Wisconsin.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Wisconsin?
Before pursuing Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in Wisconsin, it’s important to understand the eligibility requirements. To qualify, you must meet specific income criteria under the “means test.” The means test evaluates your income and expenses to determine if you have the financial means to repay all or a portion of your debts. If your income falls below the state’s median income for your household size, you generally meet the requirements. However, if your income exceeds this threshold, you may still be eligible depending on your disposable income and other factors.
What are the Bankruptcy Exemptions in Wisconsin?
The bankruptcy code and Wisconsin laws offer “bankruptcy exemptions” that protect certain assets from being sold or liquidated to pay off your debts during Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These exemptions cover essential items such as your home, vehicle, personal belongings, and retirement accounts. Understanding and properly applying these exemptions is crucial for a successful Chapter 7 case. We are experts in exemption planning.
Wisconsin law allows you to choose between federal and state exemptions. Whether you should choose the Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions or the federal exemptions depends on your financial circumstances, and our experienced attorneys can help you decide.
Chapter 128 for Consumer Debtors in Wisconsin
Chapter 128 in Wisconsin is an alternative to traditional bankruptcy designed to assist individuals burdened by unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills. Unlike bankruptcy, Chapter 128 focuses on consolidating these debts into a manageable repayment plan, typically lasting three years or less. Eligibility is open to all Wisconsin residents facing financial distress, with no income restrictions, making it accessible to many.
To initiate Chapter 128 is simpler than bankruptcy, but having an experienced bankruptcy attorney by your side who knows the bankruptcy code, can still be advantageous. They can help you navigate the process efficiently, ensuring your repayment plan is fair and representing your interests in case of disputes, ultimately helping you achieve debt relief and a more stable financial future.
Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees
Understanding bankruptcy lawyer fees in Wisconsin is crucial when seeking legal assistance to navigate the bankruptcy process. After all, if you are considering bankruptcy, you are already facing financial problems, and you probably want to avoid any extra expenses whenever possible.
Fortunately, the investment in a bankruptcy lawyer is an investment in your future. When your case is over, you will likely be in a much better financial position than before filing. Several factors can influence bankruptcy lawyer fees in Wisconsin. These include the following:
- The complexity of your case,
- The amount of debt you owe,
- The number of creditors involved,
- Legal complexities specific to your situation
- The attorney’s experience and reputation
During your initial consultation, it’s essential to discuss fees with potential attorneys to ensure transparency and alignment with your financial situation. We always put our fees and all the anticipated costs in writing, leaving no room for doubt or uncertainty.
Bankruptcy Forms and Court Proceedings in Wisconsin
Navigating the bankruptcy process in Wisconsin involves a series of essential steps, from completing necessary forms to participating in court proceedings. Understanding these aspects is vital to a successful bankruptcy filing.
What are the Bankruptcy Forms Required in Wisconsin?
Bankruptcy in Wisconsin requires the completion of several important forms. These forms are standardized and must be accurately filled out to provide a comprehensive overview of your financial situation. They include the bankruptcy petition, schedules detailing your assets and liabilities, income and expenditure statements, and a statement of your financial affairs. These documents play a pivotal role in determining your eligibility for bankruptcy and ensuring your case is appropriately processed.
Explanation of the Bankruptcy Court Proceedings in Wisconsin
Bankruptcy court proceedings in Wisconsin are typically straightforward but can vary depending on your specific case. These proceedings may involve a meeting of creditors, where a trustee reviews your paperwork and may ask questions about your financial situation. It’s essential to have legal representation to navigate these proceedings effectively, ensuring that your interests are protected, and your case proceeds smoothly.
Timeline for the Bankruptcy Court Proceedings in Wisconsin
The timeline for a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin is 90 days from start to finish. Delays can occur due to various factors, such as the complexity of your case or any legal challenges that may arise. Having a bankruptcy attorney who is experienced in Wisconsin’s bankruptcy court system can help streamline the process and ensure it proceeds according to schedule, helping you achieve your financial fresh start as soon as possible.
Debt Discharge and Automatic Stay in Wisconsin
Perhaps the most obvious short–term benefit of filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin is the imposition of the automatic stay. The calls, letters, and other communications from your creditors will stop as soon as you file for bankruptcy. In addition, at the end of your case, the bankruptcy court most likely will order the discharge of all your unsecured debts.
What are the Debt Discharge and Automatic Stay?
- Debt Discharge: Debt discharge refers to the legal elimination of certain debts, relieving you from the obligation to repay them. It’s a fundamental benefit of bankruptcy, offering a fresh start by wiping out unsecured debts, such as credit card balances and medical bills.
- Automatic Stay: The automatic stay is a powerful legal tool that takes effect immediately upon filing for bankruptcy. It halts all collection actions by creditors, providing a temporary shield against lawsuits, foreclosure, wage garnishments, and creditor harassment. It allows you to gain breathing room to assess your financial situation and pursue a discharge of your eligible debts.
How Does the Discharge of Debt and the Automatic Stay Work in Wisconsin
When you complete your bankruptcy case, and the time for creditors to object has passed, your eligible unsecured debts are discharged, providing you with significant debt relief.
The automatic stay operates effectively to pause creditor collection efforts upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition. This stay remains in place throughout the pendency of the bankruptcy, or until an order for lifting the stay is entered by the bankruptcy judge.
Exceptions to Debt Discharge in Wisconsin
While debt discharge offers substantial relief, it’s important to note that certain debts may not be discharged. Certain tax debts, most student loans, court-ordered payments (e.g., child support or alimony), debts resulting from fraudulent activities, and bodily injury caused by drunk driving. Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is essential to understanding which of your debts may not be eligible for discharge.
How to Deal with Creditors During Your Automatic Stay in Wisconsin
During the automatic stay, creditors are legally prohibited from contacting you or pursuing collection actions. However, if creditors continue their efforts, inform them of your bankruptcy filing and provide them with your case number and your attorney’s contact information. If necessary, your attorney can take legal action to enforce the automatic stay and hold creditors accountable for violating the law.
In Wisconsin, the discharge of your debts and the automatic stay can be powerful tools to regain control of your financial life. Working with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney is the best way to navigate these processes effectively and ensure you receive the full benefits of these legal protections.
Can You File for Chapter 7 without a Lawyer?
You may be wondering whether you can save money and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without a lawyer. While you are certainly allowed to, it is highly advisable to work with an attorney when filing for bankruptcy. Even the United States Bankruptcy Courts’ website strongly recommends seeking the advice of a qualified attorney, as bankruptcy can have long-term legal and financial implications. Some of the specific ways that a lawyer can help you when considering and filing for bankruptcy include:
- Reviewing your financial situation and determining whether bankruptcy is right for you.
- If it is, determine which type of bankruptcy you should file.
- Evaluating your assets and determining what may or may not be exempt.
- Preparing your bankruptcy paperwork accurately and in compliance with all legal requirements.
- Representing you at the meeting of creditors, ensuring you are prepared for any questions.
- Providing professional representation in court, should any disputes or legal issues arise.
Navigating the complexities of bankruptcy law can be challenging on your own. Working with a skilled attorney, such as those at Swanson Sweet, ensures that you have the expertise and support to make informed decisions and achieve the best possible outcome for your financial future.
Consult An Experienced Wisconsin Bankruptcy Lawyer Today For All Your Options
If you find yourself overwhelmed by debt and seeking a fresh financial start in Wisconsin, Swanson Sweet, LLP is here to help. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys have a deep understanding of bankruptcy laws and can guide you through the process with expertise and compassion.
Don’t wait to take control of your financial future. Contact Swanson Sweet, today to schedule a consultation. Let us work together to explore your options, protect your rights, and pave the way for a brighter, debt-free tomorrow. Your journey to financial relief starts here.