Oklahoma Bankruptcy Process
Spiraling into insurmountable debt can be a terrifying situation, and an unavoidable hurdle like a divorce or a medical emergency can blindside the most responsible of Americans. Oklahoma Bankruptcy can often be the only option for victims of such circumstances. The bankruptcy process itself can be frightening and overwhelming if you do not know what to expect.
After petitioning the court for bankruptcy protection, the court will stop all creditors from pursing any more action against your finances or property in a process called a “stay.” Creditors cannot foreclose, repossess, or file any legal action as long as the bankruptcy case is proceeding. The two most common types of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, differ in their procedures and outcomes, but both are intended to allow individuals to restart their financial lives without the burden of overwhelming debt.
For cases handled by Chapter 7, an individual must petition the court for Oklahoma bankruptcy protection. After you begin your bankruptcy case, your assets and income will be placed in the hands of a "bankruptcy trustee." The court then assumes responsibility for most of your property and debts, allowing the bankruptcy trustee to work out the details of your case and pursue the best course of action. During this time, the trustee will assess the value of all non-exempt property, liquidate it, and negotiate compensation for as many creditors as possible. After these creditors are paid off, all other non-secured debts are absolved. Unfortunately, debts such as student loans, mortgages and taxes remain the obligation for the debtor. The blemish of bankruptcy stays on your credit report for ten years, but allows you to start over fresh without looming financial burdens.
Under Chapter 13 protection, the courts will provide a stay of collection as well, but the bankruptcy trustee will oversee the reorganization for the debtor’s debts instead of directly liquidating the debtor’s assets. This reorganization provides a certain amount of time, generally 3-5 years, to allow the debtor to pay off the outstanding credits and retain a certain degree of financial control. During this time, the debtor usually devotes all disposable income to the resolution of the debt, but creditors cannot take any further action against the debtor. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, like Chapter 7, stays in one’s credit history for ten years.
A serious hurdle to anyone seeking bankruptcy protection is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 which supposedly seeks to prevent abuse of bankruptcy laws, but possibly restricts the amount of people who qualify for protection. If you think you should consider bankruptcy, it is critical to speak to a lawyer before the bill becomes law, for you may not qualify unless you meet certain criteria. Contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Atkins & Markoff today, before it is too late.