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Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that occurs when someone cannot pay their bills and wants a fresh start. Under federal law, you have the right to file for bankruptcy and, in fact, all bankruptcy cases are handled in a federal court. Filing bankruptcy in Wisconsin immediately stops creditors from seeking to collect debts from you. Bankruptcy can also eliminate the legal obligation to pay debts, stop foreclosure on a home, prevent car repossession, stop wage garnishment, restore utility service (or prevent termination), and allow you to challenge creditors who may be fraudulently saying you owe them money.

A Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney from the Will Green Law Office can determine whether or not you’re eligible to file for bankruptcy during a free debt evaluation.

How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?

Most Milwaukee bankruptcy lawyers charge a flat fee between $1,000 and $3,000 to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our professional bankruptcy lawyer can advise you of the costs during a free debt evaluation.

Can I File a Bankruptcy in Wisconsin Without a Lawyer?

While you can, it is advisable that you use the help of our bankruptcy attorney Will Green. He understands all bankruptcy laws in Wisconsin and can uphold them in all legal proceedings for you as his client.

Can I File a Bankruptcy By Myself Without My Spouse?

The law does allow a married person to file bankruptcy separately from their spouse. However, one spouse filing bankruptcy can be risky. This is because of Wisconsin marital property laws. If the spouse who files for bankruptcy doesn’t have enough exemptions, the couple may end up losing their joint assets.

Should We File a Joint Bankruptcy Before We Divorce?

A joint bankruptcy does help simplify a divorce in Wisconsin. Filing together also saves you money. However, if your spouse ran up debt, then you may not need to file at all if you can claim it’s their debt and not joint debt. Our bankruptcy attorney can provide more detailed information to you regarding family law matters.

What’s the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7, known as straight of liquidation bankruptcy, requires that a debtor give up property which exceeds certain limits, known as exemptions. With this bankruptcy type, you are filing a petition to have debts discharged. In most cases, all property is exempt. Meanwhile, Chapter 13 bankruptcy works well for those who own a home and are in danger of losing it because of temporary financial problems, or for those that are behind on debt payments but can pay up if they had more time. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you also need to have enough income to pay for your necessities.

What Debts CAN and CANNOT Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

The most common types of debt that are not dischargeable are student loan debts, alimony, debts associated with fraud, debts for wrongful death suits, and tax liens, to name a few. Debts such as credit card debt and car payments are easily eliminated with a discharge.

How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay On Your Credit Report?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing, while Chapter 13 only stays for 7 years. The effect of bankruptcy on your credit will change over time before it drops off your report. Any discharged debts will also be probably listed as discharged or included in bankruptcy on your report itself. Any debts you were delinquent on will also impact your credit score.

What Is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test?

To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wisconsin, you must pass the Wisconsin means test. This is for those with a higher income. Typically, those with incomes below the median for their household size are exempt from this test. You may also be exempt if your debts are not primarily consumer debt. Your average household income is determined by averaging your monthly income over six calendar months. This uses all sources of income, including rental income, business income, interest and dividends, pensions and retirement plans, and unemployment income.

What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

In the Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions chart, there is a detailed list of the property that can be exempt when filing for bankruptcy. There is also a limit that applies to any equity you have on the property. The equity is the difference between the value of said property and what is owed. Some bankruptcy exemptions can include property that you occupy that is valued at $40,000 or less, alimony or child support, unemployment, workers compensation, and disability and military pensions. Our professional bankruptcy attorney can provide more details on all of the exemptions you may be eligible for.

How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, you cannot refile a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have filed in the last eight years, or the last six years for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You also cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if you received one in a Chapter 7 one in the last four years, or vice versa in the last two years.

What Is a Discharge?

A discharge is a court order that states that you, the debtor, do not have to pay all or most of your debt. However, some debts cannot be discharged. A bankruptcy attorney from the Will Green Law Office can help you determine what those exemptions are.

I Filed for Bankruptcy. What are the Next Steps?

The court will communicate your filing to your creditors. Next, you, the debtor, will go to court and answer the creditors’ questions under oath. From there, you must go through the actions promised during that hearing before you receive a discharge. A financial management course must also be completed before this discharge occurs.

Why Should I Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney in Milwaukee?

Most bankruptcy cases are complex. Our bankruptcy attorney in Milwaukee, Will Green, has years of experience representing different individuals and businesses with these law proceedings. He also offers free debt evaluations, where he can determine your eligibility and advise you on which bankruptcy type works well for your situation. To learn more about our legal services and to schedule a free debt evaluation at the Will Green, call (414) 376-1777. We serve clients in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Greenfield, Brookfield, Glendale, and other surrounding Wisconsin communities.