Our ServicesAt Cohen & Fila, we first help individuals assess their financial situation to determine if the filing of a bankruptcy is in their best interest. In many cases, the filing of a bankruptcy is NOT the best option and we take pride in the fact that we are not a "bankruptcy mill" and try to give clients a complete overview of both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options.
The two main types of consumer bankruptcies are:
• Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - Often referred to as "straight" bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 eliminates most unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills, etc.. If you have secured debts (i.e. house note, car note, furniture note) you either continue to pay those creditors per the terms of your original agreement and keep possession of the collateral or surrender the collateral back to the creditor and eliminate the debt.
There are certain types of debt not subject to discharge such as most state and federal taxes and student loans. There are state exemptions available that usually result in most debtors keeping all of their real and personal property. The entire process from filing until discharge typically takes 90 days, although you do obtain relief from creditor collection efforts immediately upon filing.
• Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - Often referred to as a "wage earner", a Chapter 13 allows you to pay your creditors through a court-supervised payment plan (usually between 36 and 60 months). A Chapter 13 allows you to pay secured debts (i.e. house note, car note, etc) as part of the plan while retaining possession of the collateral.
You can also include unsecured debts which will typically be discharged at the conclusion of the plan. A Chapter 13 is ideal for those debtors with regular steady income and the ability to repay a portion of their debts but have fallen behind on their obligations and face foreclosure, repossession and garnishments.
Benefits of Filing Chapter 7 / Chapter 13 - Depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, a debtor can expect the following collection efforts to STOP:
• Foreclosures * Lawsuits * Utility Cut-offs
• Repossessions * Collection Calls * Suspension of License
• Garnishments * Payday loan harassment * IRS Liens
We offer free in-office consultations or via telephone to address your specific concerns as to the applicability of either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 to your specific circumstances.