Protect What Matters Most CONTACT US NOW

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Serving Houston, Texas

Filing for bankruptcy is the first step of a journey that ends in financial freedom and peace of mind. At Webb & Associates, we understand that this journey is a hard one and can be overwhelming at times. We're here to help you make informed decisions and feel confident about your future. 

Understanding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Also known as "liquidation bankruptcy," Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers a fresh start by discharging most of your unsecured debts. It can potentially absolve credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans. However, certain kinds of debt, such as student loans, child support, and some taxes, are not dischargeable under Chapter 7.  

A significant benefit of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the automatic stay that immediately stops creditors from harassing you, garnishing your wages, or foreclosing on your home. 

To qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass a means test, which assesses your income and expenses to determine eligibility. If your income is below the median for your state, you automatically qualify. If your income is above the median, additional calculations will be made to see if you meet the criteria.  

During the process, a court-appointed trustee liquidates non-exempt assets to pay off your creditors. Many essential assets, like your primary home, car, and personal belongings, may be exempt from liquidation depending on state laws. Completing a credit counseling course from an approved agency is also a prerequisite before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?


Is Chapter 7 Right for You? 

To determine if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right choice, we need to consider your financial situation. Typically, Chapter 7 is suitable for individuals with: 

  • Limited income and a high amount of unsecured debt. 

  • No significant assets that could be liquidated to pay creditors. 

  • A desire for a quick solution to overwhelming debt. 

  • An inability to successfully complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

  • The threat of legal actions from creditors, such as wage garnishment or lawsuits. 

  • Financial hardship due to unemployment, medical issues, or other unforeseen circumstances. 

The Chapter 7 Process 

The Chapter 7 process provides a structured path to financial recovery and independence: 

  1. Credit counseling: Before filing, you must complete a credit counseling course from an approved provider. This course helps you understand your financial options and ensure that bankruptcy is the right choice. 

  1. Filing the petition: Once you complete credit counseling, you must prepare and file your bankruptcy petition with the court. The petition contains detailed information about your finances, assets, debts, and recent financial transactions. 

  1. Automatic stay: Upon filing, the automatic stay goes into effect, providing immediate relief from creditor actions. 

  1. Meeting of creditors: About 20-40 days after filing, you will attend a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting. Here, you will answer questions from the bankruptcy trustee and any creditors who choose to attend. 

  1. Liquidation of assets: The trustee may sell any non-exempt assets to pay your creditors. However, Texas offers generous exemptions that allow you to keep essential property like your home, car, and personal belongings. 

  1. Discharge: If the above steps go smoothly, you will receive a discharge of your qualifying debts within 3-6 months. This means you're no longer legally obligated to pay these debts. 

  1. Financial management course: After the petition is filed, you must complete a financial management course from an approved provider. This course is designed to help you learn better financial habits moving forward. 

  1. Trustee's report: The bankruptcy trustee will submit a final report to the court, detailing the liquidation of any non-exempt assets and the payments made to creditors. 

  1. Case closure: Once the discharge is granted and the trustee's report is approved, your bankruptcy case will be closed, marking the end of the process and affirming a fresh financial start. 

  1. Post-bankruptcy planning: A post-bankruptcy financial plan prevents you from getting back into debt. The plan includes things like budgeting, building an emergency fund, and repairing your credit score. Many agencies offer post-bankruptcy counseling and resources to ensure long-term financial health.  

Bankruptcy Laws in Texas 

Texas laws and exemptions can significantly impact your bankruptcy case. For example, Texas allows residents to choose between federal and state exemptions.

The Texas Homestead Exemption is particularly generous, allowing you to protect an unlimited amount of equity in your home, provided it sits on a plot of land not exceeding ten acres in an urban area or 100 acres in a rural one (200 acres for families). Other notable Texas exemptions include: 

  • Personal property: Up to $100,000 worth of personal property for a family or $50,000 for a single adult. 

  • Motor vehicle: One vehicle per licensed household member. 

  • Retirement accounts: Most tax-exempt retirement accounts are fully protected.  

  • Tools of the Trade: Up to $30,000 worth of tools and other items used for your profession. 

Life After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a significant step toward financial freedom, but you must understand what comes next.  

  • Rebuilding credit: Bankruptcy may impact your credit score at first, but you can rebuild it after discharge. Get a secured credit card, pay bills on time, and monitor your credit report to improve your credit over time. 

  • Financial management: After bankruptcy, it's important to develop strong financial habits, such as budgeting, saving, and making informed financial decisions. 

  • Peace of mind: Knowing that your debts are behind you and that you have a fresh start to build a brighter financial future can provide a sense of relief.

Houston Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer  

With over 25 years of experience, our Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney at Webb & Associates is dedicated to helping people find relief from financial troubles.  If you're struggling with debt, you can count on us.

We offer compassionate and knowledgeable support to help you through this challenging time.  Call today for a free consultation and take the first step towards financial recovery.