Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Wynn at Law, LLC’s attorneys want you to feel comfortable with your decision to file for bankruptcy. If debt due to medical bills, job loss, demotion/pay cuts, or other unexpected expenses has become overwhelming, filing for bankruptcy may be your best option. For many people, bankruptcy allows for a fresh start, reduces the stress of your debt, and helps you reclaim your life on your terms.  

Bankruptcy allows you to eliminate a large portion, if not all, of your debt — credit cards, personal loans, repossession debt, payday loans, medical bills — while retaining most or all of your assets and property. The two most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In this article, we will be highlighting Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which is the most common type of bankruptcy for individuals in Wisconsin. 

While this guide will provide you with foundational knowledge about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, it is important to meet with an attorney to get advice specific to your situation. Bankruptcy laws are complex. Wynn at Law, LLC’s experienced bankruptcy attorneys will make sure to explain your options in plain language and work with you to identify the best option. We take a personalized and compassionate approach to each case. Our clients feel comfortable asking questions throughout the process. When you work with Wynn at Law, LLC you can expect us to work hard for the best outcome and to communicate with you throughout every step of the process.

credit cards and cash for bankruptcy debt

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Most individuals in Wisconsin file under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. This type of bankruptcy is often referred to as a “liquidation” or “straight bankruptcy” because it eliminates unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is debt that does not have any collateral attached to it, such as utility bills, medical bills, credit card bills, past due rent, civil judgments, and repossession balances. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy stops credit lawsuits, medical debt lawsuits, asset repossession, and wage garnishments. The vast majority of filers are able to keep their home, vehicle, retirement accounts and more. 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be the right solution to your insurmountable debt. With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, debt is discharged without a repayment plan. Once the bankruptcy process has been completed and your debt has been discharged, you will be able to focus on building a debt-free future.

Why File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Individuals that file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will have most, if not all, of their debts discharged, or “wiped out”. This means that once you file: 

  • You will be legally free of all qualified debts that are discharged after a successful Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
  • Any collection attempts from the creditor will be prevented and harassment by creditors will cease.
  • You can stop garnishments that have been placed against your wages.
  • Creditor lawsuits may be halted or dismissed.

Which Debts Can Be Discharged?

When you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Wisconsin, most consumer debts can be discharged. Below is a list of the most common debts that are discharged with a successful Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

  • Credit Card Charges and Fees
  • Medical Bills
  • Utility Bills
  • Department Store Cards
  • Personal Liability on Business Debts
  • Past Due Rent or Any Other Money Owed Under a Lease Agreement
  • Payday Loans
  • Civil Court Judgments
  • Auto Accident Claims
  • Attorney Fees
  • Certain Government Benefit Overpayments
  • Personal Loans
  • Amounts Owed to a Bank From “Insufficient Funds” Checks
  • Repossession Balances

Keep in mind that there may be special circumstances in which the items listed above may not qualify for a discharge. It is important to note that only debt incurred prior to the date of filing your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is eligible for discharge. Therefore, meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to identify the best time for you to begin the bankruptcy process can be crucial. To learn which of your debts can be legally discharged with a Wisconsin Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, contact Wynn at Law, LLC.

Who Can File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? 

To qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you must pass a “Means Test” and a “totality of the circumstances test”. A Means Test is a standardized test used to determine if your income is within the qualifying range for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Typically, applicants with a monthly household income less than the Wisconsin average monthly income for households of the same size can qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. 

You are not eligible to receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if you already received a discharge in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy within the last eight years.

To understand if you qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Wisconsin, it is important to meet with an experienced attorney. Wynn at Law’s bankruptcy attorneys will work with you to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing. We will analyze your financial situation to determine if it is the right course of action for you. Wynn at Law, LLC’s bankruptcy attorneys will discuss all the options available to you, including non-bankruptcy alternatives. 

If Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is not the best option, or if you do not qualify, there are other forms of bankruptcy or debt relief available. To determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, please contact the experienced attorneys at Wynn at Law, LLC.

How Do You Declare Bankruptcy?

The different requirements, options, and complex laws of the bankruptcy process can be intimidating. Wynn at Law’s bankruptcy attorneys will explain the necessary steps to begin your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing in a free initial consultation appointment. Our bankruptcy attorneys will also help you maximize your ability to  maintain your assets through a successful bankruptcy filing.

The next steps often include preparing bankruptcy forms, budget analysis, credit counseling, and more. Once you have provided your attorney with all the required information to proceed with the filing, they will prepare the necessary petition and schedules to file with the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy cases from Walworth County and Kenosha County are handled in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, United States Bankruptcy Court.

After your bankruptcy paperwork is filed with the bankruptcy court, notifications of your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing will be sent to your creditors. This activates an automatic stay, which immediately stops most lawsuits, repossessions, foreclosures, evictions, garnishments, attachments, utility shut-offs, and debt collection efforts. As a result of the automatic stay, all collection calls and letters should cease.

As your bankruptcy case progresses your attorney will continue to communicate with you about the next steps. Individuals are required to attend a 341 meeting in front of a bankruptcy trustee. Your Wynn at Law, LLC bankruptcy attorney will appear at any required meetings or hearings with you.

How Does an Attorney Help?

No matter how much research you do into bankruptcy, it is important that you contact an attorney to discuss the best option for your particular circumstances. The inclusion of a bankruptcy attorney is crucial in finding the best solution for your debt problems. Wynn at Law’s attorneys will stand with you throughout the bankruptcy process and alleviate the stress or worries you may have. Learn more about why you should hire a bankruptcy attorney.

petition to file for bankruptcy paperwork

Why Choose Wynn at Law, LLC for Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

There are many reasons to choose our bankruptcy law firm for your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Below are some of the reasons that bankruptcy clients throughout Southeastern Wisconsin have chosen to work with Wynn at Law, LLC:

  • Wynn at Law, LLC has a 100% bankruptcy discharge rate! 
  • Bankruptcy is one of our law firm’s primary practice areas, not just a side-practice.
  • Our attorneys are in bankruptcy meetings, see bankruptcy trustees, and talk with courthouse personnel on a weekly basis.
  • We have an excellent rating from past clients on Google and Facebook, with over 50 reviews!
  • We offer our bankruptcy clients the option of personalized payment plans based on an understanding of their financial difficulties.
  • Wynn at Law, LLC offers a free, in-depth consultation with an attorney for individuals that want to learn about their debt relief options.
  • Our attorney Shannon Wynn was born and raised in Walworth County. She assists Southeastern Wisconsin residents with bankruptcy because she wants to help friends and neighbors in her local communities.
  • Shannon Wynn has been named a Rising Star Lawyer, according to Super Lawyers.

Schedule your free, personalized bankruptcy consultation with our attorneys today. You can reach Wynn at Law, LLC by phone at (262) 725-0175 or by email. Our law offices are located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Delavan, Wisconsin, and Salem Lakes, Wisconsin so that we can conveniently serve all of Southeastern Wisconsin.

Common Concerns and Questions about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When we first discuss bankruptcy with some of our clients they have some concerns, questions, and misconceptions. Below are some of the most common topics that are brought up to Wynn at Law, LLC about filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. 

Comparison to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If an individual does not qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy due to the Means Test, they will likely need to pivot to filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy includes a payment plan that uses future income to repay creditors. This allows the individual to keep their possessions and assets but they must pay a portion of their income to the bankruptcy trustee over a 3-to-5-year span. 

Comparison to Chapter 128 Debt Amortization Plan

A Wisconsin Chapter 128 Debt Amortization Plan is an alternative to filing for bankruptcy. Chapter 128 can stop wage garnishments and the accrual of interest. A Chapter 128 filer will be required to pay off his/her debt in three years or less. The filer must be a Wisconsin resident and must have a steady source of income to qualify for a Chapter 128, but does not need to qualify using a means test. A Chapter 128 Debt Amortization Plan does not require an appearance for the majority of cases. Credit cards, civil judgments, payday loans, medical bills, collection accounts, and most personal loans are eligible to be included in a Chapter 128 Plan.

How Much Does It Cost?

The reality is that a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will generally cost less than the amount you would need to pay to catch up on your outstanding debt.  

The cost of your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy depends on the complexity of your case. If your current bills are going to be eliminated through bankruptcy, there may be no reason to keep paying them. If bankruptcy is the best option for you, discontinuing payment on some of your bills, and using that money to pay your bankruptcy may be a good plan. Once Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is filed, ALL debt collection must stop immediately.

If you are struggling to manage your current bills or need help with your debt, your next step is to discuss your options with a debt relief attorney at Wynn at Law, LLC. During a bankruptcy consultation with Wynn at Law, LLC our lawyers will listen to the details surrounding your case, provide you with your best options, and quote you a flat fee.

Wynn at Law, LLC makes the cost of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy as affordable as possible by offering personalized payment plans. Our law office offers bankruptcy repayment plans as low as $125 a month.

Common Misconceptions About Bankruptcy 

There are many misconceptions about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy that can intimidate and frighten people who may greatly benefit from filing for bankruptcy. It is important to understand the process so that you can make the right decision for your situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Bankruptcy cases are not published in the newspaper. Wynn at Law, LLC handles all cases with discretion.
  • In most cases, the repayment of debt, late fees, and interest is far more expensive than the cost of filing for bankruptcy. In some cases, the cost to file bankruptcy is 1% of what it would cost to repay the debt.
  • In most bankruptcy cases, the filer is able to keep their home, car, retirement account and personal belongings.
  • You can file for bankruptcy alone — your spouse does not have to file with you.

If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to call Wynn at Law, LLC for a free Chapter 7 Bankruptcy consultation.

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