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What Else Must I Do to Complete My Case?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

After your case is filed, you must complete an approved course in personal finances. This course will take approximately two hours to complete. Many of the course providers give you a choice to take the course in-person at a designated location, over the Internet (usually by watching a video), or over the telephone. Your attorney can give you a list of organizations that provide approved courses, or you can check the website for the United States Trustee Program office at www.usdoj.gov/ust. If you can not afford the fee, you should ask the agency to provide the course free of charge or at a reduced fee. In a chapter 7 case, you should sign up for the course soon after your case is filed. If you file a chapter 13 case, you should ask your attorney when you should take the course.

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Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

There is no clear answer to this question. Unfortunately, if you are behind on your bills, your credit may already be bad. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse. The fact that you’ve filed a bankruptcy can appear on your credit record for ten years from the date your case was filed. But because bankruptcy wipes out your old debts, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and you may be able to get new credit. If you decide to file bankruptcy, remember that debts discharged in your bankruptcy should be listed on your credit report as having a zero balance, meaning you do not own anything on the debt. Debts incorrectly reported as having a balance owed will negatively affect your creditscore and make it more difficult or costly to get credit. You should check your credit report after your bankruptcy discharge and file a dispute with credit reporting agencies if this information is not correct.

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What else should I know?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Utility services — Public utilities, such as the electric company, can not refuse or cut off service because you have filed for bankruptcy. However, the utility can require a deposit forfuture service and you do have to pay bills which arise afterbankruptcy is filed.

Discrimination — An employer or government agency cannot discriminate against you because you have filed for bankruptcy. Government agencies and private entities involved in student loan programs also can not discriminate against you based on a bankruptcy filing.

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How Long Will Bankruptcy Stay on My Credit Report?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The results of your bankruptcy case will be part of your credit record for ten (10) years. The ten years are counted from the date you filed your bankruptcy. This does not mean you can’t get a house, a car, a loan,or a credit card for ten years. In fact, you can probably get credit even before your bankruptcy is over!  The question is,how much interest and fees will you have to pay? And, can you afford your monthly payments, so you don’t begin a new cycle of painful financial problems? Debts discharged in your bankruptcy should be listed on your credit report as having a zero balance, meaning you do not own anything on the debt. Debts incorrectly reported as having a balance owed will negatively affect your credit score and make it more difficult to get credit. You should check your credit report after your bankruptcy discharge and file a dispute with the credit reporting agency if this information is not correct.

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What is an “automatic stay”?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy puts into effect an “Order for Relief” — known informally as the “automatic stay.” The automatic stay immediately stops most creditors from trying to collect what you owe them. So, at least temporarily, creditors cannot legally grab (“garnish”) your wages, empty your bank account, go after your car, house, or other property, or cut off your utility service or welfare benefits.

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