Consumer Or Personal Bankruptcy

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We are bankruptcy lawyers in Kansas City.  

We represent people who wish to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. We also represent creditors seeking guidance and legal assistance in this area. Filing a bankruptcy case is a very powerful tool, and can be used to solve a wide variety of problems.

This is a complex area of law and it is critical to have an attorney represent you who has extensive litigation experience in this field.  Additionally, we know that people facing this situation are very concerned, upset, and often embarrassed.  Thus, they are looking for an attorney who will do everything he can to make the process as comfortable and as easy as possible.  The most common comment we have after meeting with a bankruptcy client is that it was one of the hardest calls that the client had to make in his or her life.   But after meeting us and exploring options, they feel a huge sense of relief and comfort from learning that they have options.  People also usually tell us that they wish they had called us much earlier.

So we understand that sometimes it can be hard to take the first step, but experience has proven that you will feel much, much better once you do.   If you chose to set an appointment with us, you will meet with an attorney who has a minimum of 22 years experience in bankruptcy and debt issues who has met with thousands of people just like you.  The meeting is very informal and friendly.  We are a sympathetic ear.  We are not here to scold you or comment on things you could have done differently in the past.  We are here only to make your life better going forward, and we take great pride in that.

At the first consultation, we will sit down and talk with you for free for approximately 30 to 60 minutes regarding your situation and your options.   You do not need to bring anything with you to this first consultation, but if you do have something you would like us to look at, you can bring it to the meeting.   At the first consultation, we discuss your situation and present all of your options.  There is absolutely no pressure for you to do anything.  We just lay out your options, and let you decide what you would like to do.

As a consumer or individual, there are several different bankruptcy options to choose from.   The following is a brief summary of the options available to individuals.  Please note that the final decision on what type of bankruptcy is appropriate should only be made after a consultation with an attorney.

Chapter 7

This is a liquidation bankruptcy, which can be filed by individuals or businesses. Many people do not realize that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an effective and powerful tool to solve a whole range of legal problems:

  • eliminating credit card debt
  • wiping out medical debt
  • federal and state tax matters
  • surrendering a home back to a creditor without owing any money
  • breaking out of a lease
  • eliminating the amount owed after a car is repossessed
  • eliminating payday loans
  • stopping garnishments
  • collections or liens
  • student loan problems
  • child support issues
  • many others

When you meet with us to discuss this type of bankruptcy, we will explain in great detail how the process works. There have been changes to the bankruptcy code made in 2005, and it is more important than ever to have someone explain these matters in great detail. The advent of “means testing” has caused much unnecessary stress and confusion for many people.

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Some people incorrectly believe that they are not eligible to do a Chapter 7, by relying on faulty advice or information read on the internet. Some bankruptcy firms approach Chapter 7 and the “means test” with a boilerplate, one-size-fits all mentality, an approach which we believe does a disservice to the client. This is not an area of the law where one can just plug in a series of numbers and get a definitive answer.

Every month, we meet with people who have incorrectly been told that they are not eligible for a Chapter 7 case. After taking the time to thoroughly analyze their income and expenses, we are frequently able to show that the person can, in fact, file a Chapter 7 case. An experienced attorney will know that there are nuances to the law and to people’s situation, which can be used to help achieve the client’s goals.

Chapter 13

This is a type of bankruptcy filed by an individual, in which the individual proposes a “plan” to a Trustee to deal with his or her debts. It is a very powerful tool, and can be used to stop foreclosures, garnishments, collection calls, and other harassing activities. It can also be used to “cram down” an auto loan, or other types of secured loans (boat, trailer, investment property, etc.).

If you have had an auto loan (or other type of secured loan) for a certain amount of time, you will only have to pay what the car is worth, not the full balance of the loan (unless, of course, the loan balance is less than what the car is worth). Also, you can use a Chapter 13 plan to get a better interest (or no interest) rate on certain types of loans. You can use Chapter 13 to deal comprehensively with tax problems. You may also be able to pay student loans back at zero percent interest.

People in a Chapter 13 plan will have a monthly payment to make to a standing trustee. Because people in a Chapter 13 are obligated to make some form of payment (usually for 3 to 5 years), we strongly believe that the people best suited for Chapter 13 are those who have a compelling reason to be in one.

We analyze your case thoroughly, with your goals in mind, to help you arrive at the decision of whether this type of bankruptcy is appropriate for you. Too often, we have seen some bankruptcy firms funneling their clients into a Chapter 13 case without a compelling reason to be in one.

Chapter 11

This is a type of bankruptcy which can be filed by an individual or a business. This is a very powerful reorganization tool, in which the debtor proposes a “plan” to a Trustee or Court to treat his or her debts.

Most Chapter 11 cases are filed by businesses, but many attorneys and clients are not aware that they can be filed by individuals as well. In the right circumstances, they can be extremely powerful tools to solve a wide range of issues.  Phillips & Thomas LLC is one of the few firms that is experienced in dealing with Chapter 11 cases.

Adversary Proceedings

Sometimes, although rarely, litigation can develop between parties in a bankruptcy case. In bankruptcy cases, creditors or a debtor can undertake litigation in bankruptcy court to accomplish certain goals, such as stripping mortgages, seeking to discharge student loans, excepting debts from discharge, and many other things.  When this does happen, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced attorney to represent you, whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant.

Adversary proceedings can involve serious consequences if not handled properly, and many bankruptcy attorneys are not experienced with this type of litigation.  We are.  Please call us if you have questions about adversary proceedings, whether from the perspective of a plaintiff or a defendant.

To schedule a free initial appointment with us, you can schedule an appointment using our online calendar by clicking here:

Or you can call us at 913-385-9900, or email us at