Kansas City Chapter 7

Bankruptcy Lawyer

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is meant to be a simple process whereby you discharge your debts (meaning you will no longer owe the creditor) and keep the secured property (such as a house or car) that you want to keep.  It is very important to seek the advice of an attorney who practices in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  The difference between succeeding in your case, being eligible to file, or putting yourself into a Chapter 13 because of a change in income,  can depend working with an attorney in planning on when to file your case.  Even if you think you might not be ready to file, seek advice of counsel sooner rather than later. 

Can I Keep my Car and my House?
The answer is yes if (1) you are current on the CONTRACTUAL obligation (meaning that you can’t have something worked out to make payments at the end of the loan or be in the process of a loan modification; and (2) you can afford the payment.  Remember, you cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for 8 years.  If you choose to keep your house and then you cannot make the payments later which leads to a foreclosure, you will be stuck with the deficiency on the property.  You can file a Chapter 13 case four years after your Chapter 7 case; however, that is still a long time that the creditor can garnish your wages or bankr accounts.

Why File a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
*** Can you jazz this up with some pictures….foreclosure, repossession, etc.  check out the bankruptcylaw.org website.  I like the structure there.  You have done some of this with the website now. 

  • Stop Garnishments
  • Stop Lawsuits
  • Stop Harassing Phone Calls
  • Your budget does not allow you to pay for all your current bills.
  • To turn in secured property such as a car or house because you cannot afford them
  • Discharge all your debts

What does bankruptcy cost?
Bankruptcy fees for a Chapter 7 case are normally $2,000.00.; however, there are circumstances where the fee is lower and higher.  Your attorney can discuss the fees with you at your free consultation.  It is just $200.00 to get started.  Once you pay the initial fee you can tell your creditors you have hired an attorney to file bankruptcy and this will help stop harassing phone calls.  Remember, it does not cost you anything to come in and talk to us.  We have a payment plan to help you budget in your attorney fees and file your case in six weeks. 

Does my Spouse have to file?
No.  However, if you are still living together, you will likely have to include their income in your budget and the means test.

What is the Means Test?
In bankruptcy, we are required to, month by month, enter your income and that of your spouse into a test to determine whether there are fund left over for the unsecured creditors.  Your income is matched to the income the IRS says is the average income for the following three categories:  (1)  Your state; (2) Your County; and (3) the number of people living in your household.  The means test is a complicated animal and you really need an experienced attorney to assist you in the preparation of the form.  If you are above the magic number, then it does not mean that you do not quality—it simply means we must fill out the rest of the test and include your secured debts, some of your personal expenses other than the normal living expenses.  The bottom line is that if, when the test is completed, you have some funds to pay unsecured creditors, you will be asked to file a Chapter 13 case.

Do I have to go to Court?

You will have to go to a meeting of the creditors called a 341 meeting.  Honestly, the creditors rarely show up.  The Trustee holds the meeting.  The Trustee will start the meeting by speaking to the group of debtors and then will call the Debtors and their attorneys up individually.  In the meeting, the Trustee will verify your name and address, check your picture ID and your social security number.  The Trustee will ask you some basic questions like if you met your attorney before today, have you included all your assets and debts on your petition, is all the information contained therein true and correct, etc.  They will also ask you about certain assets like whether you have a 401K and if there are any debts on the account. 
Rarely does a Debtor have to attend a Court hearing.  If you do want to keep a house or car and the attorney does not think you can afford it, you will have to go in front of the Judge and explain why you want to keep the property.  This happens most often with a car, furniture or jewelry.

What shouldn’t I do?

  • Transfer property unless you are required to do so under a Divorce Judgment.
  • Take money out of your 401K without speaking to an attorney first
  • Hide Assets.  This is a bankruptcy crime and could result in heavy fines and  jail time.
  • Not be honest with your attorney. 
  • Pay back relatives money you owe them.


The main purposed of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discharge all your unsecured debts. Some people worry that they cannot keep their home or their vehicles. If you want to keep your secured property, you must be contractually current. If you are not current, then you risk a repossession or foreclosure. Further, i fyou are considering a loan modification, you should do so prior to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do not wish to keep the secured property, the deficiency will be discharged as well.

Can I file a Chapter 7 case?

You are not elgible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you are behind on your child support or you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last 8 years.

Is there anything that is not dischargeable?


Student Loans

Domestic Support Obligations

There are other exceptions such as fraud, charges on credit cards in the 90 days prior to filing your case, some debts ordered to tyou in a divorce, etc. All these issues should be discussed with your attorney.


Loan Modifications:

When you are requestinga loan modification, the mortgage lender does not want you to make payments while the request is pending. The only problem is that this opens you up to a foreclosure. The loan modification department and the foreclosure department are two separate hands of the lender and they are not really in communication with each other. Loan Modification requires up to date information in the hand of the lender. The problem is that there are so many requests that by the time the lender gets to your request, the inforamtion you provided is outdated. If you are now 3 or 4 months delinquent, you may be turned over to the foreclosure department. Now the note is accelarated and you must pay the full amount to avoid foreclosure. This is not to say that all loan modifications are not granted. You need to know the process so you can evaluate whether it is a risk you want to take. Sometimes a lower payment is the only way you will be able to stay in the house. So you really have nothing to lose.


Should I still make payments to my credit cards?

If you are going to file a Chapter 7 case, there is no point to pay unsecured creditors. You should pay your attorney fees with any funds you have available.


What happens if I get sued?

If a creditor sues you, you have to worry about a garnishment. What will you do if the creditor takes 25% of your income? How will you pay your house payment or your rent? How will you make your car payment? The credit card company must have a judgment prior to receiving a garnishment. If you have a family, you can go to the County Court Clerk and file for a head of household exemption which will lower a garnishment to 10%. However, if you file bankruptcy, it will stop a garnishemnt.

Law In Kansas City
721 NE 76th
Kansas City, MO 64118