Bankruptcy Attorney in Michigan

Walter A. Metzen, Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney profile

 

Bankruptcy Attorney in Michigan

Questions about
Filing Bankruptcy in Michigan.

How much does it cost?
For a Basic Chapter 7, we charge a fixed fee of $1,200. Your entire case will cost $1,200, this includes the Court Filing Fee of $299, the credit counseling certificate fee and your bankruptcy specific credit report. We do ask for the $1200 fee up front since we become a dischargeable creditor, just like the others. You can retain my office for as little as $200 to $400.

Why does Walter Metzen charge less for bankruptcy than other attorneys?
Efficiency, expertise and experience. Walter Metzen has many built-in efficiencies that most other attorneys have not, and has filed over 10,000 bankruptcy cases in metro Detroit.   Filing cases in batches allows Walter Metzen to handle several hearings at a time.  Walter Metzen also answers his own phone as much as possible and promptly responds to your needs, cutting way down on “phone tag.”

Client Testimonial:
"Mr. Metzen handled very quickly, efficiently and professionally and with a a high degree of knowledge. I'm so happy to get a fresh financial start!"
– Diana S.  (Warren MI)

Can you represent me even if I live outside of Des Moines?
Walter Metzen handles cases for the Eastern District of Michigan including the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Trenton, Troy, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Howell, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and all of the surrounding areas. If you are in one of these counties and have questions about filing Michigan Bankruptcy contact Walter Metzen.

What about my credit?
If you have high debt your credit has already been affected. For most of our clients, discharging high debt improves their credit. Most of our clients receive many offers of credit as soon as they are discharged. Banks know you cannot file a Chapter 7 for another eight years, and with little or no debt you become a good credit risk. But we encourage you to avoid using credit and live on a cash basis. We encourage clients to borrow only for major purchases like home and car. Living on a CASH BASIS will set you free!

Can I keep one credit card off my bankruptcy for future use?
You are required under the bankruptcy code to disclose all assets and all debt. So you do have to list all your bills. As a practical matter, the credit card companies subscribe to services that notify them of all bankruptcy filings, even if they are not listed on the petition. Once they discover you have filed bankruptcy they will close your account, often after you have made another payment. You are much better off to just use a debit card for future reservations, Internet purchases etc.

Should I consider credit counseling?
If you have the ability to pay off your debt we encourage you to consider credit counseling.  Beware of distant online firms that claim to pay your bills if you send them a monthly payment. Many will hold your money and ignore your creditors. Creditors can still sue you and garnish your wages. If you are going to try to pay off your debt we suggest you contact Greenpath.com.

How long does it take?
Generally just two office visits. You just bring your bills, recent pay stub and other financial information. This means you do not do any paperwork. Once we file your case your hearing will be 20 to 40 days later and you will be discharged about 8-9 weeks after that and you are done.

What happens at the hearing?
There is no judge or courtroom. A Trustee swears you in and asks if your petition is correct, if you listed all your assets and debts and several other questions. A typical hearing lasts about 5 to 10 minutes. Creditors normally do not show up. Hearings are held at 211 West Fort Street, Detroit Michigan 48226.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
Chapter 7 provides for a complete discharge. Under Chapter 13, you pay back part of your debt over three to five years. With Chapter 13 you can repay your back home or car loans over time. But beware, many clients delay the inevitable by filing a Chapter 13, making some payments and then failing and having to file a Chapter 7 anyway.

What debt is discharged, what debt is not?

Discharged:
Credit Card Bills
Medical Debt
Repossessions
Judgments
Collections
Back rent, utilities etc.
Miscellaneous Consumer Debt 
Not Discharged:
Student Loans
Child Support
Most Back Taxes
Criminal fines, penalties and restitution

Will someone come to my home and take my property?
We have never had a client visited at home. If you have nonexempt property we can do some legal pre- bankruptcy planning to protect it or negotiate a favorable buy back from the trustee. Most clients do not lose any property.

Will my doctor continue to treat me if I discharge his bill?
Our clients seem to have no difficulty continuing with normal care after filing bankruptcy.

Are judgments discharged?
Yes, most judgments are discharged in bankruptcy. Filing your case also stops wage garnishment,  foreclosure, property seizure and repossession.

What about wage garnishment?
Wage garnishments must stop even if you file your bankruptcy the day before payday. We are experienced in recovering these funds for you. Please provide us with the name and facsimile number of your payroll clerk so we can take care of this for you.

What are the most common issues that arise on bankruptcy cases?

Motion for Relief on Secured Property (Usually home or car)
If you cannot pay your house or car payment, the creditor can foreclose, although your bankruptcy will slow them down. You would have to file a Chapter 13 case in order to delay repayment. But beware, many Chapter 13 cases fail, leaving the debtor in worse shape than before.

90 Days Before Filing
If you have large charges or cash advances within 90 days of filing, or have taken out new large loans, the creditor can object to discharge of this debt. We can help you deal with this issue.

High Income
If your income is significantly higher than your expenses, you may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 and may need to consider Chapter 13. This normally is not a problem for our clients. Of course, job loss can make almost anyone eligible for a Chapter 7.

Preference Payments
If you have made a large recent payment to family or a single creditor the trustee may be able to recover that money and distribute it evenly to all of your creditors. You should consult with your attorney before making preference payments.

How do I get started?
Complete the Free Online Consultation or email Walter Metzen with your questions. If you appear to be eligible for Chapter 7 we can set an appointment.

How can I get a copy of my Credit Report?
The quickest way is at www.equifax.com. Beware: Not all creditors report and credit reports are not necessarily accurate.

What else should I do right away if I am going to file bankruptcy?

  • Do not accumulate any more debt.
  • Do not use credit cards or write any checks you may not be able to cover.
  • Stop paying credit card and other bills you will discharge.
  • Do not give away any property.
  • Do not make preference payments to family members or others.
  • Do not make any major financial moves without consulting with your attorney.
  • Start collecting all your past due bills to bring with you to our office.
  • If you owe more than your car is worth, start considering alternatives to reaffirmation.
    • Many dealers are willing to lend to you once you are discharged from bankruptcy.
    • It is ok for family to loan money to you for a car purchase after you file bankruptcy.
    • You can purchase an inexpensive “old reliable” to drive temporarily.
    • You can borrow a car from family to drive temporarily.
  • Do start thinking about your financial objectives after bankruptcy. A good start is to set aside a portion of what you have been paying toward credit cards as a savings fund.

But I feel “Guilty” about filing bankruptcy.
This is the most common misunderstanding about bankruptcy. Courts view bankruptcy as the Responsible Approach if you can no longer pay your debt. Many people continue to acquire debt they know they will never repay. It is much better to recognize that you cannot repay your debt, “draw a line in the sand” and agree to be responsible for all future debt. Further, you must consider the future. High debt could keep you from affording a home for your family and funding your children’s college tuition. If you cannot fund your retirement you could become dependent on welfare. This is why courts want you to utilize your rights under bankruptcy law if you need to. We encourage you to use this as a real fresh start, adjust your spending and take control of your financial future. You can be financially happy after your bankruptcy if you are determined to. We look forward to helping you get a fresh financial start.

How can I rebuild my credit after bankruptcy?
In the past it was difficult to gain credit after filing bankruptcy. That has changed. After bankruptcy you should make every home, car and other installment payment on time. If you have substantial income and a manageable debt load you should be able to borrow in the future.

Buying a Home: It is possible to purchase a home right after bankruptcy although the interest rates tend to be higher. Of course if your debt is high now, you are either completely ineligible to buy a home or would pay high interest anyway. We recommend that you spend two years after your bankruptcy saving at least a 10% down payment and maintaining consistent employment with significant income exceeding expenses. So you should avoid taking on other debt prior to buying your home.

Buying a Car: Most dealers are happy to put you in a car as soon as you have your discharge (your discharge comes about 3 months after your date of filing) if you are otherwise eligible. It is important to shop around for the best deals and rates.

Credit Cards: Although you can get secured credit cards right away, we would encourage you to use a debit card on your bank checking account instead. Debit cards can be used for reservations and Internet purchases just like credit cards. We believe that credit cards are overrated and you are much better off making day to day purchases with money you already have then paying 20% or more interest on credit card debt.

Student Loans: Guaranteed student loans should not be affected by bankruptcy. Private loans may be affected, but chances are you would not be eligible for those anyway if you already have high debt. We have represented many college students who have gone on to borrow and continue normally with their studies after discharging their debt.

How much debt do I need to qualify for Michigan Bankruptcy?
There is no minimum debt requirement. We have had clients who have little or no income file Michigan Bankruptcy with debt that would be very manageable for someone with a substantial income, so it just depends on the individual. If you are not sure, email your amount of debt and your monthly income to me at 8884walter@sbcglobal.net and I can give you my opinion.

What about co-signers?
Banks rely on co-signers to pay if you don‘t. Many clients ask us how to go about “getting co-signers off” their debt. You could call your bank and ask them nicely to remove the co-signer, but I am guessing they would fall off their chair laughing. If you do not pay your debt due to bankruptcy or any other reason, the bank will collect against the co-signer. However, if you are going to continue to make the payment the co-signer will not be affected. 

Does my spouse have to file with me?

No
Many of our clients file bankruptcy alone. If you are both on the debt it usually is better to file together. You still only pay one attorney fee and one filing fee if you file jointly. If your spouse is not on the debt, there would normally be no reason for them to file bankruptcy.

If I file Michigan Bankruptcy alone, does the Court consider my spouses income?

Yes
If you are married and you file bankruptcy, but your spouse does
not, the Court will consider the income of your spouse. So you should be prepared to tell us how much your spouse earns. Normally this is not a problem. However, if your spouse has unusually high income you will want to discuss that with Attorney Walter Metzen to find out if you are still eligible for
Chapter 7.

How does my bankruptcy affect my non-filing spouse?
If you file bankruptcy alone, your spouse should not be affected so long as you don't have any joint debt that you are seeking to discharge.   If you have joint debt (i.e that you are both liable for), keep paying that creditor or both of you should consider filing. Your bankruptcy should not appear on their credit report.

What do I need to bring to your office?
 

  • $400 in cash or money order
  • Bank account statements for the past 3 months.
  • All bills you intend to discharge (credit cards, medical etc.) w/ account numbers, full address
  • Creditor information (full address, account #'s) on debts you will keep like home or car loans
  • Last two months pay stubs from work (including your spouse even if they are not filing)
  • If you do not receive wage income, bring records of other income for the last six months
  • Most recent state and federal tax returns
  • W2's for the last two years
  • Recorded Deed of your Michigan home if you own, recorded mortgages and mortgage balance statement
  • Proof of valuation of your Michigan home such as tax or other appraisal if you have them
  • Photo ID and Social Security Card or proof of social security number

 Contact me, bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen to learn more about how I can help you get a Fresh Financial Start!.

 Be sure to Obtain a copy of your Credit Report after your Michigan Bankruptcy Filing and check it for Mistakes.

Contact me, bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen to learn more about how the new Chapter 7 bankruptcy law may affect your case. I offer a free initial consultation so we can discuss your case personally.

We are a Debt Relief Agency helping people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Let us help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

Bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen represents clients throughout Southeast Michigan, including the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Trenton, Troy, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Howell, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and all of the surrounding areas.
  •   Driver's License or State ID & Social Security card
  •   Pay Stubs for the past 2 months
  •   Copies of all Bills, Summons or Judgments against you by creditors
  •    Divorce Judgments or Decrees
  •   Real Estate Documents, Deeds, Recorded Mortgages, mortgage balance statements
  •   Property Tax Bills (SEV)
  •   Bank Statements for 3 months
  •   Recorded Mortgage and Deed
  •   Car Titles
  •   Income Tax Returns & W2 forms
    for the last 2 years