Hill Law Office, P.C.
Lawrence R. Hill, Attorney at Law
Lawrence R. Hill,
|Hill Law Office is dedicated to providing excellent and responsive legal counsel in the area of consumer bankruptcy. As a Colorado attorney in the Denver area for nearly 20 years, Lawrence Hill has successfully represented thousands of clients who are faced with difficult matters. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, call Hill Law Office today to speak with an attorney about filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.|
About filing Bankruptcy in Colorado
Thank you for visiting this website. We invite you to take a look around to obtain basic information about filing bankruptcy in Colorado. We realize that people experience considerable anxiety and stress when faced with difficult financial circumstances. There is a solution. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, most debts can be discharged or wiped away forever. Also, in most cases, collection activity such as garnishment, foreclosure, repossession and lawsuits are immediately stopped upon the filing of a bankruptcy case.
Attorney Larry Hill will respond to general questions about information published on this website. If you have detailed questions about Bankruptcy or would like to discuss your individual legal situation, please contact our office for a free initial telephone consultation: (303) 525-9531.
A decision to file for Bankruptcy should be made only after determining that Bankruptcy is the best way to deal with your financial problems. Below are several Frequently Asked Questions that may help you in making your decision.
This website cannot explain every aspect of the Bankruptcy process and is meant to provide general information. You will probably have questions about your specific situation, so please feel free to contact Hill Law Office for a personal consultation: (303) 525-9531.
What is Bankruptcy?
What can Bankruptcy do for me?
What can Bankruptcy NOT do for me?
What different types of Bankruptcy cases should I consider?
Chapter 7 (Straight Bankruptcy)
Chapter 13 (Debt Adjustment)
What does it cost to file for Bankruptcy?
What property can I keep?
What will happen to my home and car if I file Bankruptcy?
Can I own anything after filing Bankruptcy?
Will filing Bankruptcy wipe out all my debts?
Will I have to go to Court?
Will Bankruptcy affect my credit?
What else should I know?
Can I file Bankruptcy without an attorney?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who cannot pay his or her bills can get a fresh financial start and, in most cases, legally eliminate their "dischargeable" debts. The right to file for Bankruptcy is provided by the Federal law and all Bankruptcy cases are handled in Federal Court. Filing Bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you, at least until your debts are sorted out according to the law.
Bankruptcy may make it possible for you to:
Bankruptcy cannot, however, cure every financial problem. Nor is it the right step for every individual. In Bankruptcy:
There are four types of Bankruptcy cases provided under the law: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13. Most people filing Bankruptcy will want to file under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.
In a Bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, you file a petition asking the Court to eliminate your dischargeable debts. The basic idea in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is to wipe out (discharge) your debts in exchange for your giving up property, except for "exempt" property which the law allows you to keep. In most cases, all of your property will be exempt. But property which is not exempt is sold, with the money distributed to creditors. If you want to keep property like a home or car and are behind on your payments on a mortgage or car loan, a Chapter 7 case probably will not be the right choice for you. That is because Chapter 7 does not eliminate the right of mortgage holders or car loan creditors to take your property to cover your debt if you do not make your payments.
In a Chapter 13 case you file a "plan" showing how you will pay off some of your past-due and current debts over three to five years. The most important thing about a Chapter 13 case is that it will allow you to keep valuable property, especially your home or car, if you can make the payments which Bankruptcy law requires to be made to your creditors. In most cases, these payments will be at least as much as your regular monthly payment on your mortgage or car loan, with some extra payment to get caught up on the amount you have fallen behind. You should consider filing a Chapter 13 plan if you (1) own your home and are in danger of losing it because of money problems; (2) are behind on debt payments, but can catch up if given some time; (3) have valuable property which is not exempt, but you can afford to pay creditors from your income over time. You will need to have enough income in Chapter 13 to pay for your necessities and to keep up with the payments required by the Bankruptcy Court as they come due.
The filing fee for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is $335 and the filing fee for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is $310, whether for one person or a married couple. The Court may allow you to pay this filing fee in installments if you cannot pay all at once.
The attorney's fees are in addition to the Court filing fees and depend on the specific case.
In addition, there are two required courses: the credit counseling course, which is done before the Bankruptcy case is filed, and the financial management course, which is done after the case is filed. The cost for each of these courses is approximately $50.
In a Chapter 7 case, you can keep all property which the law says is "exempt" from the claims of creditors. Generally, Colorado law allows you to exempt some assets, including but not limited to:
Also, in Bankruptcy, you have the right to receive certain benefits such as Social Security, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits, public assistance and pensions, regardless of the amount. The amounts of the exemptions are doubled when a married couple files together. In determining whether property is exempt, you must keep a few things in mind. The value of property is not the amount you paid for it, but what it is worth now. Especially for furniture and cars, this may be a lot less than what you paid or what it would cost to buy a replacement.
You also are allowed to exempt your equity in property. Your equity is the full value of the property minus the amount you owe on any mortgages or liens.
In a Chapter 13 case, you can keep all of your property if your plan meets the requirements of the Bankruptcy law. In most cases you will have to continute to pay creditors who hold mortgages or liens on your property as if you had not filed Bankruptcy.
In most cases you will not lose your home or car during your Bankruptcy case so long as your equity in the property does not exceed the exemption limit. Even if your property is not fully exempt, you will be able to keep (or redeem) it, if you pay its non-exempt value. However, some of your creditors may have a "security interest" in your home, automobile or other personal property. This means that you gave that creditor a mortgage on the home or put your other property up as "collateral" for the debt. Bankruptcy does not make these security interests go away. If you don’t make your payments on that debt, the creditor may be able to take and sell the home or the property, during or after the Bankruptcy case. There are several ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property after you file Bankruptcy. You can agree to keep making your payments on the debt until it is paid in full. Or you can pay the creditor the amount that the property you want to keep is worth. In some cases involving fraud or other improper conduct by the creditor, you may be able to challenge the debt. If you put up your household goods as collateral for a loan (other than a loan to purchase the goods), you can usually keep your property without making any more payments on that debt.
Yes! Many people believe they cannot own anything for a period of time after filing for Bankruptcy. This is not true. You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the Bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance or property settlement within 180 days after filing for Bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt.
Yes, with some exceptions. Bankruptcy will not normally wipe out: (1) money owed for child support or alimony, fines, and some taxes; (2) debts not listed in the Bankruptcy case unless the creditor knew of the Bankruptcy; (3) debts obtained by knowingly giving false information if the creditor reasonably relied on this information and files a complaint in the Bankruptcy case; (4) debts resulting from "willful and malicious" harm if the creditor files a complaint in the Bankruptcy case; and (5) student loans owed to a school or government body, unless the Court decides that payment would be an undue hardship.
In most Bankruptcy cases, you only have to go to a proceeding called the "meeting of creditors" to meet with the Bankruptcy trustee and any creditor who chooses to come. Most of the time, this meeting will be a short and simple procedure where you are asked a few questions about your Bankruptcy forms and your financial situation.
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 have filed a Bankruptcy can appear on your credit record for ten years. But since 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.
Utility servicesPublic utilities, such as the electric company, cannot refuse or cut off service because you have filed for Bankruptcy. However, the utility can require a deposit for future service and you have to pay bills which arise after Bankruptcy is filed.
DiscriminationAn employer or government agency cannot discriminate against you because you have filed for Bankruptcy.
Driver’s license If you lost your license solely because you couldn’t pay Court-ordered damages caused in an accident, Bankruptcy will allow you to get your license back.
Co-signersIf someone has co-signed a loan with you and you file for Bankruptcy, the co-signer may have to pay your debt.
Under the new Bankruptcy law, the process is difficult and you may lose property or other rights if you do not know the law. I strongly recommend that you hire an experienced and qualified Bankruptcy attorney to represent you with all aspects of your case. If you are considering filing Bankruptcy, contact me to schedule an initial consultation.
Remember: The law often changes. Each case is different. This website is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.
My pledge is to provide you with the highest quality, cost-effective and responsive legal service to achieve the most favorable outcome for you. I will personally handle every aspect of your case and keep you informed of all significant developments.
As a Colorado attorney for nearly 20 years, I have successfully represented thousands of clients who are faced with difficult matters. During this time, countless people have commented to me that I have been the only lawyer they have ever dealt with who has taken the time to truly listen to them to understand their unique circumstances. I take tremendous pride knowing that I have helped many people in a meaningful way. I have worked with clients from “all walks of life” and I am known for my congenial nature. I am very aware that people have choices in obtaining legal counsel and it is a privilege when a client selects me.
Hill Law Office is a federally designated debt relief agency that helps people file bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code.
Lawrence R. Hill, Attorney at Law
(303) 525-9531 | e-mail: email@example.com