By Christopher C. Carr, Esq. Chester County bankruptcy attorney.
Why do so many of us come this way? Well, virtually all of us who seek a bankruptcy do so in order to get a “fresh start”. That is precisely what the law says it is there for. Elsewhere, I argue that without such a safety net there to catch us if we fail, WE COULD NOT AND WOULD NOT HAVE A ROBUST FREE MARKET ECONOMY. So many of us are maxxed out on our credit cards and have no more purchasing power. We seek fresh sources of credit for autos, schooling, even our everyday purchases. So for better or for worse, it becomes critical for us to find our way back to the credit wellspring as soon as possible after, nay even during, our bankruptcy.
A Chapter 7 “liquidation type” bankruptcy filing remains on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing. A Chapter 13 “debtor in possession” bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date of filing. It will be automatically removed after the expiration of the applicable period.
Does this mean that your credit will be impaired for 7 to 10 years? Does it mean you will not be able to purchase critical items on credit? Absolutely not.
Note that the period starts from the date of filing not discharge so, for example, if you are in a Chapter 13 and complete a 3 year plan 3.5 years later, you will only have three and a half to go. And during this time and even before, you will, with persistence, be able to get credit for the things you really need (see below.) But, you can begin to rebuild your credit rating immediately upon the date of your discharge order. (In a Chapter 7 this will be granted 3-4 months after your petition is filed, typically.) Actually, it will often prove easier to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy filing because you will no longer have debts that are in excess of your credit limits.
Don’t even think about hiring a “Credit repair” agency. The money you pay to them could actually be used directly to repair your credit. As any bankruptcy practitioner will tell you, it’s really no secret, the crucial thing you need to do to rebuild your credit quickly and at no added cost is to pay all of your future bills on time. After a bankruptcy filing, your payment history will be crucial. If you are in a Chapter 13 your plan payments will be reported. It is common to see former clients who have rebuilt their ratings within 2 to 3 years after a bankruptcy. Their secret? They paid their mortgage and car loans ON TIME and didn’t miss a payment. Some ideas: Send the checks EARLY in case the mail is delayed. Set up an emergency fund, perhaps in a short term CD, to give yourself the “float” needed to make the payments in case you are short one month and then replenish it in flush months or with your tax refund. Have the mental discipline not to use it for anything else!
As an example, a recent Chapter 7 client finished his case; obtained his discharge order and exactly 30 months later (2 years and 6 months), purchased a new home and obtained a competitive mortgage rate for a 30 year fixed.
You will be able to get a new credit card after your bankruptcy case has been completed. It is true that you are likely to be rejected once or twice, but you should be able to obtain approval for a small credit card as long as you are persistent. Your best bet may be to talk to that friendly bank manager you have known for years. And you may need to ask more than once.
There are also ways to surrender that car you are driving now and its high rate loan and purchase a new car even while in bankruptcy, believe it or not. You will pay a somewhat higher interest rate but rates are at historically low levels now anyway.
You will also be able to apply for student loans, for yourself or for a child. Specifically, the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. Section 525) prevents the government from discriminating against individuals on the grounds that they have filed for bankruptcy relief. I have yet to hear of anyone being denied a student loan on bankruptcy grounds.
Law Offices of Christopher C. Carr, MBA, P.C., is a quality bankruptcy and debt relief practice, located in Valley Township, west of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where Attorney Christopher Carr, a Chester County bankruptcy attorney, who has over 30 years if diversified ;egal experience, concentrates on serving the residents of and businesses located within Western Chester County and Eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including the communities in and around Atglen, Bird in Hand, Caln, Christiana, Coatesville, Downingtown, Eagle, Exton, Fallowfield Gap, Honeybrook, Lancaster, Lincoln University, Modena, New Holland, Parkesburg, Paradise, Ronks, Sadsbury, Thorndale, Valley Township, Wagontown & West Chester, Pennsylvania. If you reside or do business in the area and need assistance with a legal issue, please call Mr. Carr at (610)380-7969 or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
I also provide Mortgage Modification Services.
©Christopher C. Carr, Attorney at Law 2009, 2012, All Rights Reserved
“V” Photo by Janet McKnight