The Legal Side of Bankruptcy in Indiana

July 15, 2012 11:41 am Published by

The way I see it, the process of filing bankruptcy in Indiana is a mixture of three elements:  legal, financial, and emotional.  And, as a debt consolidation lawyer offering Indiana bankruptcy help, I know that, for each and every person filing either personal bankruptcy in Indiana or Indiana small business bankruptcy, my help must address all three of those areas.

This week, my Bankruptcy in Indiana articles will be devoted to the three elements, beginning with the legal side. 

The bankruptcy system, going all the way back to the birth of our country, begins with a set of federal laws.  The new bankruptcy laws of Indiana are based on those federal laws.  And, as all the good bankruptcy attorneys who work in the five Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices know, there are certain choices each state is allowed to make within that federal law.  For example, I helped write the exemptions portion of Indiana bankruptcy law.

  • There’s more than one kind of individual bankruptcy and several kinds of small business bankruptcy in Indiana.  The differences among the various types of bankruptcy filings relate to who the debtor is, who qualifies to file each type and who doesn’t, and then with which property must be sold to pay off debt, and which is exempt.
     
  • Of the two types of personal bankruptcy in Indiana, Chapter 13 bankruptcy law consists of a debt repayment plan that lasts from three to five years. Bankruptcy Chapter 7, by contrast, is a “liquidation bankruptcy”, which typically concludes within a few short months.
     
  • Since bankruptcy is a legal process, it runs through a court system.  I and my colleagues the Anderson, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Richmond, and Columbus bankruptcy lawyers do our work within Indiana’s Southern Bankruptcy District court system.
     
  • We are not alone, because many, many attorneys in Indiana handle bankruptcy.  But only a dozen or so of us are Consumer Bankruptcy Specialists, with more advanced education and experience in the field.
     
  • .The process always begins with the filing of an official petition with the Indiana bankruptcy court.  One of the most important and most time-consuming aspects of my work as an Indiana lawyer for bankruptcy, in fact, is preparing the complete statement of financial affairs and other forms that go along with the petition.  This disclosure must be done correctly, because if mistakes are made, not only can the petition be turned down, debtors could be exposed to criminal charges.
     
  • The court appoints a trustee to supervise the entire legal process from start to finish.  The trustee will supervise the sale of assets, and collect the monthly debt repayments in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  If creditors feel they’re being treated unfairly, it’s the trustee and a court to whom they’d turn with their concerns.
     
  • Since, under the law, creditors must cease all collection efforts once a bankruptcy is filed, consumers have legal recourse if the creditors break that law.  Debtors may contact the Indiana Attorney General’s office or even the Federal Trade Commission. And I, as their attorney for bankruptcy in Indiana, can help clients sue creditors who are in violation of the conditions for collectiion.

Sometimes, I’ve found, the very word “legal” seems to strike fear.  But, after offering legal help in Indiana for more than 25 years, I know there are two reasons that the fact bankruptcy is a legal process should be very reassuring:

  1.  The law brings order.  Debtors must deal with credit card companies, car companies, mortgage companies, license branches, hospitals, and banks. Filing bankruptcy in Indiana puts a stop to all that “noise”.  Suddenly there’s the chance to think and plan for the future, to sort everything out. 
     
  2. The law imposes a system.  Chapter 13 debtors make one payment a month to the trustee to cover all the bills under their plan.  Chapter 7 debtors are relieved o many of their bills.  There’s a path to follow.

Five years ago, when I first began publishing these online Bankruptcy in Indiana articles, I wrote “There are folks out there who need to know more about what bankruptcy is and isn’t.” There are folks out there saying “There oughta be a law” against all this pain and worry.  There is.  It’s the bankruptcy law in Indiana.

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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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