Every bankruptcy client I ever had meets me with three top concerns: (1) I want to protect my family, (2) I don't want to be embarrassed by bankruptcy, and (3) will I ever be able to come back from this?
You want to stop the phone calls, the knocks on the door, and the letters in the mailbox. Attorney James C. Johnson tells all his bankruptcy clients that sometimes, you can't control your circumstances: your medical bills may have gotten out of hand, you may have accidentally over spent and have credit card debt, you may have lost your job. Now, you are stuck paying a company a debt that further line its pockets, while you try to find that extra dollar just to have necessities for your family. It's not easy, and it may be embarrassing. However, it is not the end.
First, you should not feel any shame over filing for bankruptcy. Is is simply a legal process that people can use to get a fresh start. This is why our firm calls it "financial reorganization." You are reorganizing your finances because you find yourself in a situation that affects every part of you life: do you chose to purchase the next meal for your family or to pay a longstanding creditor; can you buy those new shoes to fit your children or do you have to put that money to an old lien; do you save for retirement or pay down the credit card bill. These are difficult decisions that may be alleviated through bankruptcy.
WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY
The purpose of the Bankruptcy Code is ultimately to give you an out. Your goal is likely to get rid of (or "discharge") all debts you no longer wish to be responsible for. This is why bankruptcy laws exist. Oppressive indebtedness benefits neither you nor society. Bankruptcy helps free you from some of your obligations and responsibilities.
SHOULD I FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY
Each client must be evaluated on their personal circumstances and personal vision of their financial future. We give consideration to each client's wants and needs. Sometimes bankruptcy is not right for a client; if this is the case, we inform the client immediately. Ultimately, the decision is yours, and we are here to guide you through the evaluation process.
HOW DOES BANKRUPTCY WORK
If you find yourself in a financial hole you cannot dig out of, bankruptcy works to alleviate your debt and help you get back to square one. Ultimately, there are four things the court (and law) cares about: what you own, what/who you owe, what you make, and what you pay.
After our first confidential meeting together, we will know these things. Then we determine what you want to accomplish with bankruptcy. Typically, the most pressing issue is whether you are behind on payments to someone. We determine what items you are able to keep, we determine which items you want to keep, and we help work through the process of either paying debt, eliminating debt, or returning items to creditors. You must answer the questions of (1) whether an item is something you wish to keep and (2) whether that item is worth keeping. We assist you in this decision making.
It is important to note that bankruptcy is form-driven, and honesty is necessary. Once we have knowledge of your situation, assets, and debt, we can help get the process started and get you one step closer to a new life.
WHAT DO I GET TO KEEP
The first question we hear normally is: "will I have any money left over after bankruptcy?" The law refers to these as "exemptions." Attorney James C. Johnson refers to these as "tokens" you get to keep. As of July 2020, these include (amounts up to) cash ($6,325, dependent upon home exemption); household goods ($5,050); one vehicle ($6,325); jewelry ($1,275); tools of the trade ($1,900); home ($63,250). In addition, the law defines a "wild card" token as any other property that is not listed ($6,325). These amounts and items change yearly, and it is crucial to understand the laws behind your tokens.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY BANKRUPTCY
If you complete the bankruptcy process, most of your debts are discharged, meaning you do not owe them. There are a few exceptions to this general rule however. This is why it is important to properly fill out all forms and be honest about all assets you own.
EXPERIENCED SOUTH CAROLINA BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
We do not represent lenders: we concentrate only on fellow South Carolina citizens who are struggling with paying bills, regardless of whether there in Greenwood, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, or any Upstate, Midlands, or Low-country area.
We are with you through every step, holding your hand if necessary. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it is not a train. We will honestly evaluate your circumstances and help choose the proper path for your financial future. Reach out to experienced bankruptcy attorney James C. Johnson to confidentially find out what your next steps should be.