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When you have more debt than you can handle, it can take over your whole life and rob you of your peace of mind. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one way to discharge eligible debts, give yourself a fresh start, and work toward a more secure financial future. Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is no 'payment plan' in Chapter 7. Instead, your debts are simply 'wiped out' upon receiving a discharge. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process in North Carolina is relatively straightforward for individuals with modest income and assets, and we explain it in this blog.

Are You Eligible?

The court system uses a means test to determine whether or not an individual qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The means test analyzes your income and compares it to the state median income. If your income is above the median, you may still file Chapter 7 if you are unable to pay at least $6,000 over the next five years to your creditors. If you can afford more than $6,000 but less than $10,000, you may qualify if you are unable to pay at least 25% of your unsecured debt. A bankruptcy attorney can help you sort this out.

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We've all heard horror stories about debt collectors going to extremes. Many agencies call debtors multiple times a day, pretend to be family members to get the person to answer their phone at work, and leave obscene and harassing voice messages. Some collectors even tell their victims that failure to pay a debt is a criminal offense when in reality the collection agency is the one breaking the law.

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a consumer protection law that was passed on September 20, 1977, after aggressive debt collector actions were connected to a steady rise in consumer bankruptcies. It imposes guidelines on how third-party debt collectors may communicate with consumers and prohibits the use of deceptive and abusive business practices.

What is a Third-Party Debt Collector?

A third-party debt collector is not an original creditor, such as a bank, hospital, or car dealership. Instead, it collects debts on behalf of others. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that the FDCPA also applies to debt buyers who purchase portfolios of old or non-performing accounts and attempt to collect them.

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If you are an individual or small business owner who is struggling to stay afloat financially, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be able to help you restructure your finances and pay off debt without losing assets. This blog will look at the benefits of a Chapter 13 filing.

Eligibility

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is available to individuals and sole proprietors who can include their business debts in a repayment plan. Unlike other options, there are debt limits under this chapter, which are (as of 2019) $394,725 for unsecured debt and $1,184,200 for secured debt. Chapter 13 isnot an option for partnerships, corporations, LLCs, and joint ventures, so you will need to consider a different chapter if your business is organized under one of those entities.

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