At The Geller Law Group, we understand the decision to file bankruptcy is a difficult one. Our team of experienced lawyers and paralegals provides comprehensive and compassionate bankruptcy support to both debtors and creditors across Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County. As a woman-owned and operated, full-service law firm, we pride ourselves on our responsive service and creative solutions to challenging debt problems.
Our attentive attorneys are experienced with:
• Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
• Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
• And the new (as of February 2020) Subchapter 5 Bankruptcy
We can help determine your eligibility for bankruptcy and which Chapter would most benefit you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Most debtors file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and do not lose any property, but they rid of thousands of dollars in unsecured debts. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are “no asset” cases where the debtor keeps all their property. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case stops creditor harassment and debt collection.
These cases are sometimes referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy and they are the most common and basic form of bankruptcy in the United States.
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet income requirements determined through the means test. The means test is designed to compare a debtor’s income to the average income of households in your area. If your average income is below the average income of a household of your size, you can qualify to file under Chapter 7. If your income exceeds the median income level, there is a second section of the means test that might help you qualify to file under Chapter 7.
If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, after you file your bankruptcy petition a trustee is appointed to manage the liquidation and distribution of any non-exempt assets to creditors. If the trustee identified non-exempt assets, the trustee liquidates the individual’s property and then distributes it to creditors. Individuals can keep “exempt property.” Once a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is completed and approved, the individual’s unsecured debt is wiped out.
Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are completed within four to six months after the date you file your bankruptcy petition.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a reorganization, mainly utilized by businesses. In contrast to Chapter 7, the debtor remains in control of business operations under Chapter 11 and does not sell off all its assets. Chapter 11 allows a business to come out of bankruptcy as a healthy business. Businesses will attempt to change the terms on debts, like interest rates and values of payments as a mechanism to restructure their debt in a way that will ensure their survival.
Chapter 11, Subchapter 5 Bankruptcy
In 2019, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (“SBRA”) added a new subchapter to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, which became effective on February 19, 2020. SBRA is aimed at simplifying the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy process for small businesses by increasing efficiency, lowering costs, and easing the plan confirmation process, making bankruptcy more attractive and beneficial to small businesses by removal of some of the main hindrances that previously prevented the small business from reorganizing.
The SBRA is tailored for the small business debtor—a person or entity engaged in commercial or business activity with aggregate non-contingent liquidated secured and unsecured debts of $2,725,625.00 or less, excluding debt owed to affiliates or insiders.
Under a Subchapter 5 bankruptcy, a small business can reorganize its debt, but in a simplified, more efficient, and less costly manner than was previously available.
To file under a Subchapter 5 Bankruptcy, a small business will need to provide the business’ most recent balance sheet, statement of operations, cash flow statement, a federal income tax return (or a sworn statement that such a document does not exist). Prior to filing, you will work with our bankruptcy team to prepare your plan for reorganization and once the bankruptcy is filed, the plan must be submitted for approval with 90 days.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcies are available to individuals but are more complex and time-consuming than a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. However, if you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you will have to file under Chapter 13.
In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, an individual that has regular income develops a plan to pay back parts, or all, of their debts over a period of up to sixty (60) months. One advantage of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is it allows individuals to avoid foreclosure on their homes, in contrast to what could happen with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. A trustee is appointed and helps oversee the administration of the plan which requires you to pay at least a portion of the amount owed to unsecured creditors to the trustee who then distributes it to the creditors. If you successfully complete the plan, any debt remaining at the conclusion of the plan period is erased.
It typically takes three to five years to complete a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan.
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The Geller Law Group practices Bankruptcy Law and is considered a debt relief agency by federal law. We help individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. The Geller Law Group can assist individuals located in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, including bankruptcy matters in Alexandria, Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County.