1. You must be completely broke to file for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy protection does not necessarily mean that you are broke; it can mean that you cannot pay your bills as they come due. However, many debtors wait until they are flat broke to file for bankruptcy protection. This delay limits your options of reorganizing your finances and being able to keep part or all of your property. It is better to file before you are “flat broke.”
2. If you file for bankruptcy protection, you will not qualify for credit in the future. Your bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for up to 10 years. Chances are, if you have filed for bankruptcy, your credit score has already suffered. Therefore, filing for bankruptcy may be the best way to raise your credit score, again. Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will receive a discharge on most debts. Once your debts are discharged, you can start working to raise your credit score, again.
3. If you file for bankruptcy, you cannot buy a house. Mortgage lenders may be hesitant to loan you money to buy a house within the first couple of years after filing. However, if you work to raise your credit score and practice good bill paying habits, you are likely to be approved. Your lender may charge you higher interest rates and require personal guarantees. If you can fund a sufficient down payment, you are likely to be approved for a mortgage loan.
4. If you file for bankruptcy, you will lose your house. Whether or not you are able to keep your home will be determined by the amount of equity you have in your home. When you file for bankruptcy, you are allowed to keep some property, called exempt property. Your home will be exempt from liquidation if it does not have any non-exempt equity.
5. Taxes cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Some taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy, such as personal income taxes that are more than three years old.
6. Student loans are nondischargeable. In most bankruptcy cases, student loans cannot be discharged. However, if the debtor can prove certain hardship, student loans can be discharged.
7. If you file for bankruptcy, you can leave out certain creditors. The Bankruptcy Code serves the purpose to treat similarly situated creditors equally. If you do not list a creditor in bankruptcy and decide to pay the creditor, you are technically prejudicing the other creditors. The court considers this fraud and you are at risk of losing the discharge and possibly facing jail time and fines.
8. Family members who loaned the debtor money will lose out. You must list all creditors in the bankruptcy; however, you can repay certain creditors after bankruptcy is filed. This practice is referred to as a reaffirmation agreement. All reaffirmations are subject to court approval. In most cases, debtors agree to pay back a debt they have no legal obligation to pay in order to maintain an existing relationship.
9. Signing an agreement stating that a debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy makes the debt nondischargeable. These bankruptcy clauses are unenforceable and are used as a scare tactic.
10. You may lose your job if you file for bankruptcy. If an employee can prove they were fired solely because he or she filed for bankruptcy, the employee can sue the employer.
Click here to read more about the top ten misconceptions about bankruptcy.
If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.