Bankruptcy Law: Debtor Rights

Are you an individual or business that is considering filing for bankruptcy? Are you being hounded by debt collectors? If you don’t see a clear path to financial solvency, due to medical bills, the economic downturn, or if you’ve simply fallen on hard times, WE CAN HELP.

Maine Bankruptcy Lawyers

At Douglas McDaniel & Campo, our team of bankruptcy attorneys has nearly 15 years of experience in Bankruptcy Law. We understand the emotional turmoil our clients experience when facing economic shortfalls.

The decision to file for bankruptcy, and under which chapter, is extremely important and should be made only with competent legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Our goal is to work with you to find the best resolution for your financial situation. During your free consultation, we can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

As your Bankruptcy attorneys, we will:

  • Determine if you have received the credit counseling required of any debtor seeking bankruptcy
  • Administer a means test for those making over the Maine state median income (currently $47,069 a year)
  • Discuss the proper bankruptcy filing, and whether your needs are best served with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 11 bankruptcy or Chapter 12 bankruptcy

Our attorneys serve clients from many different sectors, including private and public corporations, and individuals who need help dealing with creditors.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In 2013, nearly 2,500 Maine individuals and businesses filed for bankruptcy protection in Maine federal courts. A vast majority of these people sought the protection of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a fast liquidation bankruptcy that provides the debtor with a fresh start.

Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

  • Debt collectors must cease and desist collection of debts as soon as bankruptcy papers are filed
  • Individual or business assets are liquidated to pay off creditors
  • Debtors may keep exempt property, including automobiles and homes
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy can dissolve debt as soon as 90 days after the first papers are filed in federal court

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, also called a “Wage Earner’s Plan,” was designed to preserve the debtor’s assets and provide time to cure debts with secured creditors and tax authorities. Chapter 13 is increasingly used as an alternative to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, especially for people with incomes above $50,000 a year.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • Home foreclosure can be stopped, and debtors have the opportunity to catch up on past due payments and keep their home
  • Debt can be consolidated and reorganized into realistic and reasonable payment plans over three to five years
  • Debtors are able to maintain their assets

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy allows businesses to reorganize debt and restructure their business, with the help of a court-appointed trustee or as a debtor in possession.

Under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy:

  • You stay in business
  • Your business is protected from litigation and debt collection during court proceedings
  • Contracts and leases can be nullified and restructured under more favorable terms
  • Debts can be reorganized under favorable terms

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is available only to Commercial Fishermen and Farmers. Chapter 12 Bankruptcy might be the right choice for you if you are your spouse are actively engaged in fishing or farming, if most of your debts are related to fishing or farming, and if half of your income comes from fishing or farming.

Under Chapter 12 Bankruptcy:

  • Debt is reorganized into three to five year payment plans using all of the debtor’s disposable income
  • Home and equipment loans can be rearranged for longer payment plans and lower actual debt amounts
  • A “hardship discharge” may apply to debts if a debt cannot be repaid, through no fault of the debtor

Filing for bankruptcy can provide a path to financial solvency, but has potential roadblocks that our experienced Maine Bankruptcy attorney team can help you navigate.

The Bankruptcy Court can decide to deny the discharge of your debt for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to seek adequate credit counseling
  • Failure to keep adequate financial records
  • Failure to explain the loss of assets
  • Failure to obey the orders of bankruptcy court
  • Concealing or destroying property or assets related to your claim

Filing for bankruptcy is a technical court proceeding. The United States Federal Court system recommends that all debtors considering filing for bankruptcy seek competent legal advice.

Contact us today for a free Bankruptcy Law consultation.

We are located in Westbrook, ME, and proudly help clients in Augusta, Portland, Lewiston, South Portland, Bath, Brunswick, Bangor, Biddeford, Saco, Sanford, Belfast, Waterville, and beyond.