How will the filing of bankruptcy by my ex-spouse affect the settlement of divorce if I am going through a separation?

Maintenance, alimony and child support are all protected from discharge. Separation agreements and divorce decrees are covered by 11 U.S.C. Section 523 (a) (15). These debts cannot be discharged unless a debtor is not able to pay the debt from earnings or dissolution of the property for necessary maintenance. It also states that the debt cannot be discharged unless if it results in a benefit to the debtor which will outweigh the negative consequences to a spouse, ex-spouse or the children.

<br /> Where do I have to file for bankruptcy if I have not resided in the same state for a period of two years?

If you have not lived in the State of Texas for a period of ninety one days, you have to wait till you complete that period and then file and this applies to any other state. If you have stayed in the current state for more than ninety one days but less than two years, you can file in the current state but will have to use exemptions from where you have stayed for majority of the last six months.

Can my student loans be erased after I file for bankruptcy?

Student loans cannot be discharged when you file for bankruptcy. There can be two cases of exemption to this rule under 11 U.S.C. 523 (a) (8) and they are that a student loan can be discharged if it is neither guaranteed by a governmental unit or insured. It can also be discharged if it has not been made under a funded program by a governmental unit or a non-profit institution. The court can also decide if a student loan can be discharged in the case of the loan payment causing undue hardship on the debtor or his or her dependents. In some cases, student loans that were more than seven years old could be considered for discharge under specific circumstances but the provision was removed recently as a result of a bill of appropriations that was passed in 1998.

How long will it take for the creditors to stop calling me when I file for bankruptcy?

Once a creditor is notified about the filing of your bankruptcy petition, they will have to stop all efforts of calling you from that moment onwards. The court will mail a notice to all your creditors that are listed in the schedules of the bankruptcy petition. The process of mailing will be complete, generally, within a fortnight. Your attorney could also inform them directly. If the creditors insist on continuing with their collection tactics on you after they have been notified, they will be liable to face court sanctions and will also have to pay the fees for attorneys as a result of their conduct.

Could I file for bankruptcy by myself when I am married?

You can file individually when you are married but your spouse will be held liable for all joint debts. When you file jointly, you will be in a position to double up the exemptions (see Texas bankruptcy exemptions). In cases where one of the spouses has debts which cannot be discharged, then it is wiser to have one spouse filing the bankruptcy petition. When there is a question of joint debts, one spouse discharging a debt may appear on the credit report of the other spouse.

Will I be able to get my Texas driver’s license back after I file for bankruptcy?

If you have lost the driver’s license for not being able to pay the damages ordered by the court as a result of an accident, you will be able to get your license back after you have filed for bankruptcy.

Will there be any discrimination against me when I file for bankruptcy?

All private employers or governmental units cannot discriminate against you when you file for bankruptcy or when you fail to pay a debt which is dischargeable under No. 11 U.S.C. Sec. 525 which clearly prohibits such discrimination.

Will the utility services be affected?

No public utility company can cut electric supply or refuse power to your home just because you have been declared bankrupt. The utility companies could, however, ask for a deposit to maintain services in the future. You will have to settle the utility bills on time even after the bankruptcy application is filed.

Will it be possible to obtain a credit card after filing for bankruptcy?

It will be possible as there are numerous options available to you. You will also be able to use a debit card or a bank card to carry out various transactions that are possible with the credit card. You will also be able to retain the credit card you have if your creditor gives approval. Another option is to obtain a secured credit card which can be backed up by your bank account.

Do I have to appear in court to file for bankruptcy?

In a majority of cases, you will have to appear for a proceeding that is known as a `meeting of creditors’. You will meet with any creditor who wishes to be part of this meeting. You will also meet with a bankruptcy trustee. This meeting involves a simple procedure and you will be asked short questions about the filing forms and your current financial situation. In complicated cases where you are ring to dispute the debt, you will have to appear in court and attend a hearing in front of a judge.

Will my debts be completely wiped out by filing for bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy will wipe out all your debts except those where money is due for alimony or child support or for payments of certain taxes and fines. Bankruptcy will also not wipe out those debts which are not covered or listed on the petition for bankruptcy. It will not waive those loans which you acquired by furnishing false information to your creditors since they relied on it with trust to offer you the loan amount. It will also not wipe out those debts that result from a malicious or willful harm. Student loans that are due to a government body or a school will not be waived unless the court gives a ruling that payment of such loans would cause undue hardship on you Texas Non-Dischargeable Debts)

What happens to my house and my car when I file for bankruptcy in the State of Texas?

In many cases, you will retain your house and your car during the filing of your bankruptcy cases until the equity value in your property is deemed as fully exempt (see Texas bankruptcy exemptions). Even in he case of your property not being fully exempt, yo0u will still be able to hold on to it if you are able to pay the non-exempt value to your creditors in the case of a Chapter 13 filing. You have to note that some creditors will have `security interest’ as far as your property or your car is concerned. This is because you have given your creditor a collateral support for the debt as mortgage on the house or pledging some other property against default on your payments. Filing for bankruptcy does not nullify these security interests. When you fail to make payments on your debt, your creditors will still be able to seize your property during and after the filing of the bankruptcy case. There are ways by which you can retain the collateral or a mortgaged property when you file for bankruptcy. You have to agree on continuing with the payments on your debt until the loan amount is fully paid. Another way out is to pay your creditor that specified amount of the current value of the property that you may be trying to hold on to. In few cases that involve an improper conduct or fraud on part of your creditors, you can dispute the debt. You can also keep your house without making further debt payments if you place the household goods in the form of collateral towards a loan which is different from one to buy those goods.

What property will I be allowed to keep in Texas?

If you file a case of Chapter 7, you will be able to keep all your property which is deemed `exempt’ by law and the creditors will not have claim to it. Texas exemptions will offer an exemption list that is available for the State of Texas. You have to keep certain things in mind when you want to establish whether a property can be exempted or not. The value of your property will be assessed not by the price that you had paid for it initially but on its current value. In the case of cars and furniture, the current value will be much less than what you had paid for, originally or the amount it would cost to buy replacements. You will also have to note the actual equity value in your property. It means that you will have to evaluate the exemptions against full value less any amount that you have to pay on the liens or the mortgages. For example, when your property is worth $100,000 and you have a $70,000 mortgage, you will have to evaluate your exemptions against $30,000 which will be the actual equity value if you want to sell your property. Even if you are allowed to keep your property in the case of Chapter 7 filing, the exemptions will not make much difference to the rights of mortgage holders or the car loan creditors of seizing your property or your car to cover your debts if you have fallen way behind on your payments. In the case of a Chapter 13 filing, you can retain all your property if your plan of scheduled payments meets the bankruptcy law requirements. In a majority of cases, you will end up paying liens or mortgages much in the same way as you would if you had not filed for bankruptcy (see Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Texas Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? and Texas Non-Dischargeable Debts).

Will Texas Chapter 13 or Wage Earner Plan be the right choice for me?

You will have to file a plan in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and indicate how you are going to schedule the payments of your overdue and current debts over a period of next five years. The important thing in this case is the allowance to retain the rights to your property or your car. This would not be possible in other cases. This becomes possible only when you are able to make the promised payments to your creditors. These scheduled payments will in all probability be almost the same as or a little more than the monthly regular payments that you face on the house mortgage or your car loan to make up for the amounts that you may have fallen behind on. You can take a decision to file a plan for Chapter 13 if you have a house that you do not want to lose possession of or if it is a valuable piece of property that is not considered `exempt’. It is also the right choice for you if you feel that you are going to be able to catch up with your overdue payments when given a reasonable time. However, you will have to prove that you have sufficient monthly income to take care of all the necessities after making all the scheduled payments to your creditors as they fall due (see Texas Chapter 13 bankruptcy).

Will Texas Chapter 7 or Straight Bankruptcy solve my problems?

In Chapter 7 cases, you will have to file a petition appealing to the court for discharging your debts. The main idea is to discharge or eliminate your debts in return for giving up your assets that may include properties except those assets that are considered as `exempt’ property which you may be allowed to keep legally (see bankruptcy – Texas exemptions). In a majority of cases, your entire property may be exempt but if it is not, it can be sold and the money will be distributed to your creditors. If you want to retain your property or your car and have fallen behind on your payments on a car loan or a home mortgage, a case of Chapter 7 may not be the proper choice because it will not waive the right of the mortgage holders or the creditors of car loans to seize your property or your car in order to cover the full debt (see Texas Chapter 7 Bankruptcy).

What types of bankruptcy can be considered by me?

United States Law allows for four kinds of bankruptcy cases –

  1. Chapter 7 – This is known as liquidation or straight bankruptcy. The law states that a debtor is required to give up on his or her property that goes beyond fixed limits that are known as `exemptions’ so that the property can be sold out to settle the amounts owed to the creditors.

  2. Chapter 11 – This is referred to as `reorganization’. It is employed by certain individual debtors and businesses whose debts may be involving large amounts.

  3. Chapter 12 – This is meant for agricultural and rural family farmers.

  4. Chapter 13 – This is known as `debt adjustment’. In this case, you can file a plan for paying debts or portions of a debt from your current earnings.

Generally, people filing for bankruptcy will go for either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. These applications can be filed individually or jointly in case of a married couple (see Texas Bankruptcy Law’s Chapter 7 or 13?).

How many times can I file for bankruptcy?

You have to remember that you cannot receive a Chapter 7 case discharge if you have already received a discharge during the past eight years or have received a Chapter 13 case discharge during the past six years. In a Chapter 13 case, you cannot receive a discharge if you have already received a Chapter 7 case discharge that has been filed during the past four years or a Chapter 13 case discharge filed during the past two years. If you have not received any discharge in previous cases of bankruptcy filing and based on why you have not received any discharge, you will be in a position to file again and receive a bankruptcy discharge without facing any time limits.

What is not covered by `Bankruptcy’?

You cannot expect to solve all your financial problems by getting yourself declared bankrupt legally. It is also not the preferred step for every person. When you get declared bankrupt, you still cannot:

  • Avoid specific rights of the `secured’ creditors. A creditor is termed `secured’ when he or she has taken out a mortgage or any kind of lien on your property as a collateral against the loan offered to you. Prime examples of such secured loans are home mortgages and car loans. You can arrange payments for secured creditors that are spread over a period of time during the process of filing for bankruptcy; this can get rid of the obligation you have of paying additional money when your property is confiscated. However, you will not be able to have a claim on any collateral unless you carry on payment of your debt.

  • Discharge any kinds of debts that may be singled out by the law of bankruptcy for any special treatment as in the case of alimony or child support and specific debts that may be related to a divorce case; criminal fines, student loans, restitution orders by the court and few taxes (see Texas Non-Dischargeable Debts)

  • Protect the cosigners who have stood guarantee for you on the amounts owed by you. When a friend or a relation has co-signed on a loan amount and the loan is discharged in bankruptcy by the consumer, the cosigner will be held responsible for repaying all or a portion of the loan amount.

How do I find a copy of my bankruptcy filing?

You can gain access to all court documents concerning bankruptcy through PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). This is a service for public access made available to you electronically by the federal judiciary. It provides full public access to appellate and district court documents also. []

What will Bankruptcy mean for me?

Bankruptcy makes it possible to:

  • Get rid of the obligation as per law to pay all or most of the debts. This is referred to as a `discharge’ of the debts and it is meant to give you a new financial start (see Bankruptcy – Texas exemptions).

  • Prevent the foreclosure on the place of your residence to allow you another chance of catching up on your missed payments. You will have to remember that bankruptcy will not be able to automatically eliminate all mortgages or liens on your house or any other property until you make all the overdue payments.

  • Stop your property or your car being repossessed. The creditor will have to return your property to you even if he or she has repossessed it, once you have been declared legally bankrupt.

  • Hold back all wage garnishments and all similar actions by the creditor to collect his or her debts. You will not be harassed any further towards debt collection.

  • Prevent any act that suggests the termination of utility services at your house. Utility services can be restored once you are legally declared bankrupt.

  • Enable you to dispute the claims of your creditors who may have committed fraud or who may be attempting to collect more than the amounts you actually owe them.

What is meant by the term `Bankruptcy’?

Bankruptcy, as a legal term, implies that a person who is not in a position to pay his or her outstanding debts could be absolved of that responsibility and given an opportunity to start afresh. Federal law allows an individual the right to go ahead and file a case of bankruptcy. These cases are taken up in a federal court. When bankruptcy is filed, it instantly prevents the creditors from searching for ways to collect their overdue amounts from their debtors till the time those debts are classified as per law.

What is the effect of a bankruptcy on my credit?

Many consumers are surprised to find that they may have better credit after filing bankruptcy than they had before. When most people file bankruptcy they have lots of accounts that are not in good standing or have been charged off. Each one of these tradelines counts against the credit score. Think of bankruptcy like a penalty box for all your negative credit to go into. Instead of each negative item being counted against you, you take one hit for the bankruptcy. Usually the hit you take for the bankruptcy is lower than all the negative items combined.

It is not unusual for a client with with a long credit history but recent blemishes to be discharged from bankruptcy with high credit scores.

Where can I get a free copy of my credit report? provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).

Will creditors continue to harass me once I file for bankruptcy?

NO! Once you file for bankruptcy, your creditors can no longer call you, email you, send you letters or contact you in any way. This includes you, your friends and your family members. All collection attempts will stop immediately. As your bankruptcy attorney, creditors will be required by law to go through The Ramos Law Firm after we represent you. If creditors continue this harassment, you will have legal claim against them. This will give us the opportunity to sue any creditor that does this to you in federal bankruptcy court.

How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

The pricing of a bankruptcy is based on many factors.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing Fees

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Fees

Can I buy a house or a car while I am in bankruptcy?

It is possible to purchase a house or a car while you are in bankruptcy. If you plan on financing the property, you will need to get court permission. Permission can be obtained several ways depending on the type of bankruptcy you are in and where you stand in the bankruptcy process.

In a Chapter 7

In a Chapter 7, you can either wait until your case is discharged or you can make the purchase once the 341 meeting has been held and concluded.

In a Chapter 13

In a Chapter 13, your case must be confirmed before you can consider purchasing a home or refinancing your current home.  If your confirmation hearing has been concluded our office will need to file a motion with the Courts for approval.  You will need to consult with your attorney to determine if there are any additional attorney fees involved. In order to have the motion filed, you must provide all finance documents, along with updated income and expenses.  We will need to show the Courts that you will be able to afford this purchase.  Once all items requested have been received your motion will be filed with the Courts.

If you are a chapter 13 Debtor in the Dallas Division and your case is confirmed, you can request permission from the Trustee. Once we receive the completed packet along with all requested documents, we will forward it to the Trustee. The Trustee will then review your request and provide you with their response in writing.  However, not all Chapter 13 Trustee offices allow this procedure.

(214) 499-9550