Bankruptcy Attorney Serving Green Bay, Wisconsin
Life's financial struggles can come out of the blue and make it difficult for you to pay your bills and settle debts. When facing financial distress, filing for bankruptcy is among the promising options to achieve debt relief or remedy your financial condition. A knowledgeable Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your financial situation to help decide the bankruptcy chapter that is right for you.
At Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, we're committed to sharing experienced legal counsel with our clients in debt relief and bankruptcy-related matters. Our attorney, James E. Lewis, is ready to discuss your financial situation and help you understand the benefits, disadvantages, and requirements of each bankruptcy option. Together, we can determine the ideal chapter for you. In addition, we will guide you through the legal steps involved in filing for bankruptcy and help you make intelligent decisions.
Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC proudly serves clients throughout Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the surrounding areas of Kewaunee, Shawano, Oconto, and Sturgeon Bay.
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that may be initiated by an individual or business entity that is unable to pay debts or fulfill its financial obligations. Through bankruptcy, individuals, families, and businesses that have become buried in debt can seek financial protection or relief.
However, filing for bankruptcy is something you should take pride in and not be ashamed about. Through your bankruptcy petition, you can remedy your financial situation and achieve the financial clean slate you deserve.
There are quite a few different options for bankruptcy. However, the most common ones in Wisconsin include Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is most common among individuals and businesses looking for debt relief. In Chapter 7, people can erase most unsecured debts, such as medical bills, credit cards, and personal loans. Upon filing, you’ll be appointed a trustee for your case. The trustee will gather and sell your non-exempt assets, then pay your creditors using the proceeds from the sale.
Examples of non-exempt assets that will be sold in a Chapter 7 case include investments, such as second cars, stocks, second homes, bonds, family heirlooms, vacation homes, cash, and bank accounts. However, you will be left with your exempt assets, including your primary home, primary vehicle, household appliances, furniture pieces, and clothing.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy also goes by wage earner’s bankruptcy and is best for individuals burdened with debt. Essentially, Chapter 13 allows consumers to gradually settle their debts through a structured repayment plan. This plan generally takes between 3 and 5 years to pay off and allows the individual to pay it off with future income or earnings. Fortunately, none of your assets will be liquidated in a Chapter 13 case. Also, some of your unsecured debt will be discharged at the end of the Chapter 13 repayment plan.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as reorganization bankruptcy, and the main purpose is to help businesses reorganize their finances without having to shut down immediately. It helps businesses going through financial distress restructure their operations, assets, affairs, and debts. Through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company will be able to make a gradual plan to reorganize its business affairs and keep the business afloat, while at the same time paying off debts.
What's more, creditors in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case are categorized into different priorities. These include priority debt, unsecured debt, and secured debt creditors. Both the court and the creditor will have to approve the reorganization plan as proposed by the debtor. The major downside is that filing for Chapter 11 is costly and time-consuming.
Which Bankruptcy Option Fits Your Needs?
When considering filing a bankruptcy petition in Wisconsin, your financial situation will affect which bankruptcy option is best for you. For example, an individual may not be as successful in filing for a bankruptcy option best for businesses. Here are some important things to consider:
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for Chapter 7, you must pass the bankruptcy means test, or your income must be less than Wisconsin's median income for your household size. Conversely, Chapter 13 is available for regular income earners with a huge debt burden. Also, large businesses and corporations that need enough time to reorganize their business affairs and debts can file for Chapter 11.
What Happens to Your Assets?
In a Chapter 7 case, your non-exempt assets will be sold. Conversely, you will be allowed to keep most or all of your assets in a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 case.
Who Oversees Your Bankruptcy Case?
In Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a court-appointed trustee will oversee your case. In contrast, a trustee is optional in a Chapter 11 case.
What Happens to Your Debts?
While filing for Chapter 7 can eliminate most general unsecured debts, in a Chapter 13 case, you will have to pay back some or all of your creditors.
Is a Payment Plan Required?
Additionally, no repayment plan is required in a Chapter 7 case. The trustee will pay some or all your creditors using the net proceeds from the sale of your non-exempt assets. In contrast, consumers who are filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 must propose a debt repayment plan or reorganization plan to settle their creditors.
What's the Effect on Your Credit Score?
Filing for bankruptcy protection will have a huge effect on your credit score. Regardless, you can start rebuilding your credit score immediately by cultivating good financial habits.
If you or someone you know is going through financial adversity and considering filing bankruptcy, you need to reach out to a trusted Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney immediately. Your attorney can enlighten you about your legal options and help determine the right choice for your unique financial situation.
Work With an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
Filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin often involves a lot of complex procedures. Understanding the different debt relief options, determining your eligibility, filing your forms, and attending court proceedings can make the whole process daunting and overwhelming. Therefore, when considering bankruptcy, consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is imperative for detailed guidance and to explore your possible options.
At Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, we have the diligence and resources to advise and guide individuals and business owners through bankruptcy, no matter how complex your situation is. As your legal counsel, we can assess your financial situation and help you find the best option to help you achieve financial relief. Also, our team will represent you in the court proceedings and guide you through the process from start to finish.
Serving Green Bay, Wisconsin
If you're considering filing bankruptcy, contact Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, today to schedule a simple consultation. Our trusted team can offer you the personalized legal counsel and dedicated advocacy you need to navigate crucial decisions in your bankruptcy case. We're proud to serve clients across Green Bay, Kewaunee, Shawano, Oconto, and Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.