10 Common Bankruptcy Questions

Lots More Information


7 Creative Strategies for Paying Off Student Loans

7 Creative Strategies for Paying Off Student Loans

HowStuffWorks presents seven ways to pay off student loans you may never have thought of, like seeing if your company will help you or using a special app.

Author's Note: 10 Common Bankruptcy Questions

Something that became abundantly clear as I researched answers to these 10 common bankruptcy questions is the necessity of bankruptcy lawyers. After reading a summary of rules regarding exemptions or waiting periods, I would often go to the text of the federal law where the bankruptcy rules are codified. I have never read anything more bizarrely written in my life! Legal documents aren't composed of full sentences. Instead, they are a series of semi-related clauses strung together by incomprehensible legalese and baffling caveats.

If I tried to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, I have no doubt that my case would be dismissed on some technicality buried deep in the gibberish of Article V, section XVI, subsection ix. I'm glad to see that there are free legal aid services catering to folks who can't afford a private bankruptcy lawyer. Which brings up the question: What person filing for Chapter 7 can afford a lawyer?

Related Articles


  • Atlas, Janel C. "Bankruptcy Basics: When Should You Throw in the Towel?" LegalZoom. Dec. 2009 (Oct. 3, 2014) https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/bankruptcy-basics-when-should-you-throw-in-the-towel
  • Bulkat, Baran. "The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions." Nolo (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/federal-bankruptcy-exemptions-property.html
  • Bulkat, Baran. "The Role of the Bankruptcy Trustee in Chapter 13." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-trustee-chapter-13.html
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Bankruptcy." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/52019/bankruptcy#toc21736
  • Fannie Mae. "Significant Derogatory Credit Events -- Waiting Periods and Reestablishing Credit." July 29, 2014 (Oct. 4, 2014) https://www.fanniemae.com/content/guide/sel072914.pdf#page=516
  • FICO. "Chapter 7 & 13: How long will negative information remain on my credit report?" (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/negative-items-on-credit-report-chapter-7-13.aspx
  • FindLaw. "Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Rules Overview." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://bankruptcy.findlaw.com/chapter-7/chapter-7-bankruptcy-rules-overview.html
  • HUD. "How does a bankruptcy affect a borrower's eligibility for an FHA mortgage?" (Oct. 3, 2014) http://portalapps.hud.gov/FHAFAQ/controllerServlet?method=showPopup&faqId=1-6KT-188
  • Illinois Legal Aid. "How long do I have to wait before I can file for bankruptcy?" (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentid=6986
  • LaMontagne, Christina. "NerdWallet Health finds Medical Bankruptcy accounts for majority of personal bankruptcies." NerdWallet Health. March 26, 2014 (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/2014/03/26/medical-bankruptcy/
  • Legal Information Institute. "11 U.S. Code 522 – Exemptions." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/522
  • Michon, Kathleen. "Can I still get loans or a credit card after I complete my bankruptcy?" Nolo (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-credit-faq-6.html
  • Michon, Kathleen. "Eliminating Tax Debts in Bankruptcy." Nolo (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-tax-debts-eliminating-29550.html
  • Michon, Kathleen. "Objections to the Bankruptcy Discharge." Nolo (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/objections-the-bankruptcy-discharge.html
  • Michon, Kathleen. "Will bankruptcy ruin my good credit score?" Nolo (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-credit-faq-2.html
  • New York Fed. "New York Fed Report Shows Rise in Auto Loan Originations and Balances." Aug. 14, 2014 (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/news/research/2014/an140814.html
  • Nolo. "How Bankruptcy Stops Your Creditors: The Automatic Stay." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-bankruptcy-stops-creditors-automatic-29723.html
  • U.S. Courts. "Bankruptcy Basics: Process." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Process.aspx
  • U.S. Courts. "Bankruptcy Filing Fees – effective June 1, 2014." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/BankruptcyFilingFees.aspx
  • U.S. Courts. "Discharge in Bankruptcy." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/DischargeInBankruptcy.aspx
  • U.S. Courts. "Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney." (Oct. 3, 2014) http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx