BARO LAW FIRM

1605 N HWY 67

FLORISSANT, MO 63031

TEL: (314) 896-1999

FAX: (314) 942-7195

GENERAL EMAIL: abaro@barolawfirm.com

 

Website and content ©2018 by Baro Law Firm

TRAFFIC & DWI

TRAFFIC

DWI

MISDEMEANORS

MINOR FELONIES

 

OTHER SERVICES

DEEDS

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

WILLS

SIMPLE DIVORCE

CREDITOR'S PROOF

OF CLAIMS 

bbb3.png
facebook.png
nacbalong.jpg

BANKRUPTCY

         We are bankruptcy attorneys first and foremost!  Meaning bankruptcy is our primary area of practice.  We pride ourselves on our knowledge of bankruptcy law and doing our job well.  Bankruptcy is serious step that has serious, real consequences.  Bankruptcy is also a relatively complicated area of law.  It is important that you choose to work with attorneys who have real experience practicing bankruptcy law.  We file hundreds of chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies each year.  Because we are a small, specialized law firm, we are able to offer lower prices than most St. Louis area attorneys without sacrificing quality of service.  When you call you will speak with an attorney, and when you come in you will sit down with an attorney.

ATTORNEY'S JOB

          When you hire an attorney to file a bankruptcy it is our job to: inform you of the law and what your options are under the law, counsel you as to what we believe is in your financial best interest, help you strategically plan prior to filing, prepare all of your paperwork for you (no packets or forms to fill out), and walk you through the entire process from consultation to court to discharge.  Most importantly we represent you as attorneys in the United States Bankruptcy Court.  

 

YOUR JOB

          Your job is to: answer all of our questions honestly, get us any documents we ask you for, and complete a 2-part credit counseling course/questionnaire, either online or by phone.  

 

CAN YOU FILE WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY?

          Bankruptcy is complicated and can be risky, so we would never suggest anyone file without the help of an attorney.  A chapter 7 bankruptcy may potentially be filed without an attorney - known as filing pro se.  So an attorney is not necessarily required to file a chapter 7.  Just like a CPA or tax specialist is not necessarily required to prepare your taxes for you, you can do it yourself.  And just like taxes it can be simple or it can get pretty complicated, depending on your circumstances.  However, for the same reasons you would hire any other professional to do a job that they are trained to do, hiring an attorney to file a bankruptcy ensures everything is done correctly and the process goes smoothlyPutting this job in the hands of an experienced attorney will also relieve stress, avoid headaches, and save you hours of work!  

 

          Chapter 13 bankruptcy should never be filed without an attorney.  According to the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) the success rate of pro se chapter 13 bankruptcy is 0%.

 

REASONS TO FILE BANKRUPTCY

          Bankruptcy should be a last resort when debt becomes overwhelming.  When you have no other option bankruptcy may be your way to start over fresh and rebuild your credit.  For many it is a way to walk away from your current debts and start with a clean slate (CHAPTER 7) For others bankruptcy allows you to 1. pay certain debts over time without penalty at reduced interest rates, through a monthly payment you can afford, and 2. pay back less total over time than your total debt actually is (CHAPTER 13).

          There are several BENEFITS to bankruptcy that debt relief and debt consolidation programs,  negotiations, and other approaches to debt relief do not offer and cannot offer as they do not come with the backing and authority of the United States Court.  Reasons to file bankruptcy include:

  • DISCHARGE OF DEBTS

    • Bankruptcy allows you to "discharge" certain debts (see list of dischargeable debts).  A discharge is a court order that says the debts you had when you filed bankruptcy are no longer collectible.  Discharged debts will no longer affect your credit going forward.  A discharge is the goal of most bankruptcies.

  • STOPPING FORECLOSURE

    • Filing a bankruptcy can stop a foreclosure sale if filed at least 24 hours before the sale is scheduled.

  • STOPPING REPOSSESSION

    • Filing a bankruptcy will stop an impending repossession, or force an already repossessed automobile to be returned to you if filed within 10 days of the repossession or before the vehicle is sold.

  • STOPPING GARNISHMENTS AND LEVIES

    • Garnishments stop when a bankruptcy is filed (all garnishments not related to child support or criminal restitution).  Bank account levies may also be canceled if a bankruptcy is filed before the money is actually seized (your bank usually warns you about the date funds will be taken).   

  • STOPPING LAWSUITS

    • Filing a bankruptcy will stop current lawsuits from proceeding, preventing judgments from being taken, and will prevent further lawsuits from being filed against you.

  • STOPPING COLLECTIONS & HARASSMENT

    • Creditors, including collection agencies, cannot contact you or try to collect debts from you once a bankruptcy is filed.  They must deal with us or the Court from then on, they have no choice.

  • STOPPING DEROGATORY REPORTING TO THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES - TRANSUNION, EXPERIAN, EQUIFAX, & INNOVA

    • Filing a bankruptcy stops creditors from further reporting negatively to the credit bureaus regarding your debts.  This means no more reported missed payments, late payments, or charge-offs.  Open accounts with debts must be marked as closed or included in bankruptcy, and will no longer affect your credit score moving forward, essentially leaving you with a blank slate.  

  • FORCING CREDITORS TO ALLOW YOU TO PAY BACK CERTAIN DEBTS OVER TIME AND AT REDUCED INTEREST RATES (CHAPTER 13)

    • Certain non-dischargeable debts, such as priority tax debts, delinquencies on a mortgage or car loan when you want to keep your house or car, and support arrears, i.e. debts that cannot simply walk away from, which you will have to pay back regardless of filing a bankruptcy, you are be able to pay back over time and lower interest rates, through a set monthly payment to the court that you can afford (chapter 13).

 

THE AUTOMATIC STAY

          The protections of bankruptcy take effect the moment you file.   Bankruptcies are filed online at our office.  When you file a bankruptcy the Court imposes what is called the "automatic stay."   This is the legal term for the Court stopping the current actions of your creditors and preventing them from doing anything further to try to collect debts from you.   The automatic stay is the part of the bankruptcy law that does the stopping and forcing in the above list of reasons to file bankruptcy - it's what stops foreclosure sales, stops garnishments, stops levies, stops lawsuits, stops harassment, forces creditors to accept lower monthly payments, forces creditors to let you pay your delinquencies over time, etc. 

         You can only receive this legal protection by filing bankruptcy, no other debt relief program or debt negotiation program may invoke the protections of the Automatic StayImportantly, such programs have the potential to do more harm than good to your credit score through non-binding negotiations and charge-offs, whereas the Automatic Stay legally prevents your current debts from affecting your credit scoreNo creditor is ever legally bound by any agreement made in any debt relief program, and many creditors will not even agree to participate in such programs!  No matter what any debt relief program represents to you, if you participate in a program that pays less than the minimum payments on your debts each month it will hurt your credit score, period.  

THE 2 TYPES OF BANKRUPTCY

          There are 2 types of bankruptcies that individuals and married couples (i.e. consumers) may file - CHAPTER 7 and CHAPTER 13.   They are simply named after the chapters of the United States Bankruptcy Code book where the laws are written.   It is important to understand the difference between the two types of bankruptcies, because based on each person's unique set of circumstances - the types of debt you have, the amount of debt you have, the assets you own, your income, your household size, past bankruptcy filings, etc. - one type of bankruptcy is always a better option than the other, or  the only option you qualify for.  Chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies are filed for different reasons and have different court costs and attorney's fees.  Which type of bankruptcy to file is legal advice only a lawyer may help you with.  The goal of this website is to provide you with enough general information about both types of bankruptcy so you can at least get a rough idea of what your options might be.

 

IS BANKRUPTCY THE RIGHT CHOICE?

          The decision to file bankruptcy is yours and yours alone.  You should consider the cost of filing compared to the amount of debt you will discharge.  You should consider the impact of filing on your credit score, and how it will impact your ability to get credit and financing in the future.  Is your current debt situation causing you hardship or hurting your credit?  If you have a large amount of debt but it is not affecting your life or your credit, and you are not being sued or garnished (or if you are collection proof - meaning your source of income cannot be garnished, such as Social Security), then filing bankruptcy might not be the right choice for you financially.  Bankruptcy is a serious step, not a decision to be taken lightly or let anyone talk you into, and again, should ultimately be a last resort.

          Questions? Call (314) 896-1999!  Also see our further discussions on chapter 7 & chapter 13!

LAW OFFICES OF KIMBER H. BARO - EXPERIENCED ST. LOUIS BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS - CHAPTER 7 & 13

LOCATED IN FLORISSANT - SERVICING ALL OF ST. LOUIS, ST. CHARLES & JEFFERSON COUNTY