Our Fort Wayne Bankruptcy Law Firm Specializes in the practice of:
- Helping individuals and small businesses reorganize their debts.
- Representing individuals and small businesses as Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13 , and Chapter 12 for farmers in Fort Wayne, South Bend, and surrounding counties in order to retain property and money and eliminate burdensome debts.
- We even represent those who have been involved in a recent bankruptcy proceeding and still need assistance and protection that the bankruptcy court is both willing and able to offer. Call us now!
Lawsuits against our client's bankruptcy will stop nearly all lawsuits against our clients. However, the bankruptcy must be filed in order to gain the bankruptcy court’s protection. As Fort Wayne attorneys, we ask our clients to provide information to our office, including copies of any court lawsuit documents received by mail or otherwise. During the pendency of the bankruptcy proceeding, it is possible that creditors may bring actions against our clients. These actions can be stopped as long as the debt was created or incurred prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. In most instances our clients do not have to attend the lawsuit in the State court proceedings. They are handled by our office with pleadings filed in each individual lawsuit.
In a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, the Court holds what is called the “First Meeting of Creditors.” The First Meeting of Creditors is possibly misnamed for the simple fact that most creditors do not appear at this meeting. Present at the meeting will be the Trustee, appointed by the Department of Justice and assigned to the case that guides the bankruptcy proceeding through the Court and conducts this first meeting. In all likelihood in a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding in Fort Wayne or South Bend, Indiana, you will never have the pleasure of meeting our presiding Bankruptcy Court judge. Although the bankruptcy case is filed in the Federal Building in Fort Wayne, Indiana, this division covers the counties of Adams, Allen, Blackford, Dekalb, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Lagrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley. We also file cases in the South Bend division to include the counties of Cass, Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Miami, Marshall, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke and Wabash.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding involves the elimination of unwanted debt. Very often, our clients will be able to retain their home and vehicles by continuing to make payments to the lien holders. In a Chapter 7 proceeding, property that is not encumbered or have a lien may be retained having is up to $15,000.00 in equity for a single filer and up to $30,000 in equity for a joint filing in the residential real estate to be protected, that is, un-attachable by creditors. Also in a Chapter 7 proceeding, the State of Indiana’s exemptions allow a married couple to retain up to $16,000.00 in property not comprising the residential real estate and $8,000.00 in exemptions for an individual. A Chapter 7 proceeding allows all pre-tax dollars placed in retirement accounts to be exempt, that is, un-attachable by creditors. Likewise, in most instances, there are provisions for the protection of life insurance policies even if they have a loan value or a cash surrender value. Creditors have a period of ninety (90) days in order to file any objection to the granting of a discharge for all debts or for their particular debt. This means that a Chapter 7 proceeding is open for ninety (90) days. Upon the expiration of the ninety (90) days, the Court may grant a discharge of debts provided that there are no objections filed. Generally, the most common form of objection arises when credit cards are used within ninety (90) days prior to the filing of the bankruptcy. Generally, reaffirmation agreements are entered into with a mortgage holder or the lien holders on vehicles. However, if payments are current, oftentimes the mortgage holder or the lien holder on a vehicle will not require a reaffirmation agreement to be filed with the Court. A reaffirmation agreement takes the debt out of the realm of bankruptcy and makes the debt legally enforceable against the debtors (our clients). There are exceptions to discharge; however, generally speaking the granting of a discharge renders the scheduled debts unenforceable against the debtors (our clients).
The law office of Fred Wehrwein, P.C. has been debt relief for individuals and businesses. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy of business reorganization may be the best choice you can make when your company cannot meet its obligations. Designed specifically for businesses, Chapter 11 bankruptcy provides your business a reorganization plan to restructure the debts and get out from under certain troublesome contracts or leases. Generally using a Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows your business to operate while under the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. However, this must be determined by the Bankruptcy Court. Intended for almost all businesses, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy can provide your business with immediate debt relief. Chapter 11 business bankruptcy typically offers flexibility in dealing with creditors. The business filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is given an exclusive time period to file a written plan and a disclosure of how the plan will materialize and be completed. While this is taking place, the protection of the Bankruptcy Court exists and collection efforts against the business are ceased.
A Chapter 13 filing may be used to pay your creditors. Often unsecured creditors are paid without interest. If your household income is above the median for the size of you family or if you previously filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy within the last eight (8) years, a Chapter 13 filing is likely to be a solution for you. Even if not required to do so, you may choose to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to cure defaults on your home mortgage and avoid foreclosure. If you are in a foreclosure dilemma, a Chapter 13 filing may be your answer. If you owe back taxes, child support or if you have a substantial equity in your residential real estate that you would like to protect, a Chapter 13 proceeding should be considered. All of these goals can be accomplished with the assistance of a skilled Fort Wayne or South Bend bankruptcy attorney.
Chapter 12 for Farmers
Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code was enacted in 1986, specifically to meet the needs of financially distressed family farmers. The primary purpose of this legislation was to give family farmers facing bankruptcy a chance to reorganize their debts and keep their farms.
In tailoring chapter 12 to meet the economic realities of family farming, this law has eliminated many of the barriers that family farmers had faced when seeking to reorganize successfully under either chapter 11 or 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. For example, 12 is more streamlined, less complicated, and less expensive than chapter 11, which is better suited to the large corporate reorganization. In addition, few family farmers find chapter 13 to be advantageous, because it was designed for wage earners who have smaller debts than those facing family farmers. In chapter 12, Congress sought combine the features of the Bankruptcy Code, which can provide a framework for successful family reorganization. At the time of the enactment of chapter 12, Congress could not be sure whether chapter 12 relief for the family farmers would be required indefinitely.
The Act was to originally expire on October 1, 1993, but it was extended a number of times without expiring until it was made permanent by the 2005 BAPCPA.
The Bankruptcy Code provides that only a family farmer with "regular annual income" may file a petition for relief under chapter 12. 11 U.S.C. §§101(18), 109(f). The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the debtor's annual income is sufficiently stable and regular to permit the debtor to make payments under a chapter 12 plan. Allowance is under chapter 12, however, for situations in which family farmers may have income that is seasonal in nature. Relief under this chapter is voluntary; thus, only the debtor may file a petition under chapter 12.