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Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy

The following questions are most often asked of us by our clients. Get direct answers to the questions that will affect your case by speaking with a Cleveland bankruptcy attorney at Borders and Gerace Attorney today!

How Much Does It Cost To File?

This, by far, is the most commonly asked question. This is understandable because if someone is at the point of considering filing a bankruptcy petition, the cost of doing so is usually an important factor. Before getting into specifics on fees and costs, we will tell you that our fees are extremely competitive. If you “shop around”, you will find that our fees are in line with most attorneys who handle bankruptcy matters regularly. (You should retain only an attorney who practices bankruptcy law day in and day out). Court costs for a Chapter 7 are $306; for a Chapter 13, this amount is $281. This normally must be paid at the time of filing. See the affordable fees page for more details.

Can I Be Fired Or Denied Employment Because Of Bankruptcy?

No, the Bankruptcy Code prohibits a private employer from discriminating against an employee or prospective employee solely because of a bankruptcy.

Can I Be Denied A Student Loan On Account Of Bankruptcy?

No. Again, the Bankruptcy Code strictly prohibits denial of a loan because you or someone with whom you have been associated has filed bankruptcy.

Can A Utility (Electrical, Telephone, Etc.) Cut Off Or Refuse Service Because Of Bankruptcy?

No, however, the utility can require “adequate assurance” for service, such as a deposit. Please note that this deposit must be paid within 20 days of filing.

Does My Spouse Have To File With Me?

No, there is no requirement that both spouses file, either under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. In some situations, it might not be necessary. For example, in Louisiana, which is a community property state, a debt incurred during the existence of a marriage is presumed to be a community debt and therefore owed by both spouses. This presumption can be overcome if the debt was not incurred for the benefit of both spouses or the one who had not incurred the debt. Even if only one spouse files a bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy discharge is effective to the other spouse with regard to the community debts.

Assuming that all debts are a community in nature, one might then ask why it would ever be necessary for both spouses to file. Two reasons come to mind. First, the presumption that a debt is a community is just that-only a presumption. It can possibly be overcome, and a creditor may attempt to do so. Second, creditors, especially those located out of the state of Louisiana, may be ignorant of this rule and assume that the discharge does not cover the non-filing spouse. In either event, needless harassment or even litigation may ensue. Since one of the goals of filing bankruptcy is to obtain protection from creditors, it often is advisable for both spouses to file. If only one spouse has debt and it is clear that this debt is separate, not community (for example, if the debt was incurred prior to the marriage), then it is not necessary for both spouses to file.

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