The insolvency of a business can have far-reaching implications. Owners, employees, officers, investors, secured lenders, and unsecured creditors each have different goals and interests when a bankruptcy is filed, or even contemplated. Keech Law Firm has a depth of experience in commercial bankruptcy that is on par with professionals you would find at the largest and most sophisticated firms in the nation. In addition to regularly assisting debtors in their commercial Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 cases, we also represent bankruptcy trustees, creditors, creditors’ committees, financial institutions, bondholders, purchasers of assets or claims, and other interested parties in complex cases. Because we represent parties on all sides of the bankruptcy process, we are able to appreciate and sometimes predict the goals and expectations of the other involved parties, and to be more efficient and effective in reaching a solution.
Consumer Bankruptcy & Consumer Protection
A struggling economy, unemployment, divorce, a health crisis, a bad investment, or any number of financial or personal missteps, can leave a person unable to pay debts as they come due. If you are overwhelmed with debt, bankruptcy may offer you the opportunity to get a fresh start. Consumer (or individual) bankruptcies most commonly file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Proceedings under Chapter 7 are sometimes called “liquidating bankruptcies,” or “straight bankruptcies” and involve the surrender of most of the debtor’s assets. Every Chapter 7 case is administered by a court-appointed trustee, who is responsible for reducing the debtor’s assets to proceeds that can be distributed to creditors with valid claims. Certain assets of a Chapter 7 debtor can be retained as “exempt,” in varying extent and value, depending on whether the determination is made under state or federal law. At the end of a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor is discharged from the debt obligations that he or she incurred before filing bankruptcy, with the ordinary exception of secured liens, student loans, and domestic support obligations, such as spousal or child support.
As a consumer, you may find yourself the target of aggressive collection practices. If you are the victim of collection efforts that violate federal consumer protections laws (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, or Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act), we will file suit to hold the creditors and collection agencies responsible for those violations.
Not all individuals who seek bankruptcy relief are eligible to file a Chapter 7. Based on your income, as determined by a calculation called the “means test,” you may be placed in a Chapter 13, which is sometimes called a “wage-earner bankruptcy.” Under Chapter 13, individuals with regular income and debts within certain prescribed limitations are afforded the opportunity to repay all or a portion of their debts through a repayment plan that is overseen by the court, and a Chapter 13 trustee. The sum of your payments under a Chapter 13 plan will generally represent either a full satisfaction of your debts or all of your disposable income over the life of the plan.