Houston Bankruptcy Lawyer
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made some significant changes to bankruptcy law. A
Houston bankruptcy attorney at Malaise Law can provide you with specific details about how the bankruptcy reform might affect you individually.Some of the important changes are:
Attorney Liability: When you
file for bankruptcy, you are legally bound to be honest about your financial circumstances. Before the reform, officials believed that a significant number of people were lying about their finances, so now your
bankruptcy lawyer is legally responsible for ensuring that the claims you make are accurate. This requires a thorough investigation on the part of the attorney, and has caused attorneys to increase their fees and decrease the amount of clients they can represent.
Means Test for Chapter 7: If you choose to file for
Chapter 7, you have to submit a
means test, which is essentially a breakdown of your income, your debts, and presumed deductions calculated by the government. If you make more than the average income for your state, and your means test shows that you have a certain amount of money left after the deductions are calculated, you will not be allowed to file for Chapter 7.
Longer Chapter 13 Repayment Plans: When you file for
Chapter 13, you are reorganizing your debts and agreeing to pay a percentage of them within a specified amount of time. That amount of time is now 5 years, although you can petition for a 3 year repayment plan if you make less money than is average for your state.
Chapter 13 Payment Priorities:
Credit card debt must be paid before certain non-dischargeable debts, such as child support, alimony, and community property equalization payments. If you are owed these payments, it may be harder for you to collect them.
- Mandatory Credit Counseling: This meeting must occur within 6 months of filing for bankruptcy, and it must be done with an approved non-profit credit counseling agency. A Houston bankruptcy attorney at our firm can give you more information about how to contact one of these agencies.
- Increased Costs: In addition to legal fees, you are required to pay a bankruptcy filing fee. This fee has increased to $299.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or are feeling overwhelmed by debt, contact a Houston Bankruptcy Lawyer at our firm.