When facing financial difficulties, bankruptcy can be a fresh start for those who need it. Here at Marks Law Firm, we draw upon the experience and talents of our attorneys and staff to ensure that our clients get the clean slate that they deserve. Sam Marks is a leading Des Moines Bankruptcy Attorney and is personally involved with every case we take.
Contact us to schedule a completely free initial consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys to learn more and determine if bankruptcy is the right option for you!
Click on any questions you may have and you will be redirected to an answer. If your question is still unanswered, feel free to contact our office for more information at 515-276-7211 or Office@markslawdm.com.
What is bankruptcy?
Why would I file bankruptcy?
What are the main types of bankruptcy?
How will my credit be affected by bankruptcy?
What if I have filed bankruptcy before?
What will I need to file Bankruptcy?
Is filing bankruptcy hard?
Will bankruptcy stop my garnishment?
Can I keep my house/car in a bankruptcy?
How can bankruptcy save my house/car?
Do I still have to pay for my house/car?
Can I keep my retirement in a bankruptcy?
Does my spouse have to file bankruptcy with me?
How will bankruptcy affect my spouse’s credit?
What property of mine can the court take?
Can I discharge tax liability?
Can I keep my tax refunds?
How do I find out who I owe money to?
What debts are dischargeable?
What debts are not dischargeable?
What is secured debt?
What is unsecured debt?
Will I go to jail if I don’t pay my debts?
Bankruptcy is a legal process that gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to have their debts forgiven in a couple of different ways. It is a federal court matter and can be a financial fresh start for those facing financial difficulties.
There are two main types of bankruptcy that we work with at Marks Law Firm.
In your free initial consultation, our experienced attorneys will help you figure out which bankruptcy chapter is the best for you.
As soon as you file bankruptcy, you credit score will be affected and will likely become slightly lower, however, it will build back up if you take the right steps.
Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how your credit could be affected and improved by filing bankruptcy!
Just because you have filed a bankruptcy before does not mean that you are unable to file another. There is no limit on how many bankruptcies you can file but there is a limit on how frequently you can file them.
Even if you do not think you are eligible to file again, schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options! There are oftentimes many options that could help.
Yes. A bankruptcy will stop your wages from being garnished or your bank accounts from being levied. If you are experiencing a garnishment or levy, an experienced attorney may be able to get some or all of what was taken back.
No. Filing bankruptcy is really easy to do with the assistance of an experienced attorney. The hardest part for you will likely be gathering all of the documentation that we request and even that is pretty easy!
Yes. In both a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are able to keep your house and car as they are exempt property under the bankruptcy code. However, if you have multiple homes or multiple cars, it is possible that you will not be able to keep all of them depending on the situation.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can save your house or car by possibly discharging your other debt so that you are able to focus on making your house or car payments. Then you will not have to worry about making monthly payments to your other creditors. It can also help you to obtain loan modifications to lower your monthly payment for the house or car.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can save your house or car by consolidating your debt and creating a payment plan in which your house and car payments will be made before any money is distributed to your creditors. At the end of the plan, your additional unsecured debt will be discharged, and you will no longer be liable for it. A bankruptcy can also help you to obtain loan modifications to lower your monthly payment for the house or car.
Yes. You are required to continue making the payments on your home and car loans if you are intending on keeping them. In other words, you don’t get a free house or car when you file for bankruptcy.
Yes. In both a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are able to keep your entire retirement as it is exempt property under the bankruptcy code.
No. Married couples are not required to file a bankruptcy together but may choose to do so if it is in their best interest.
It won’t. Your bankruptcy typically will not affect your spouse’s credit unless your spouse files with you. Married couples are not required to file a bankruptcy together but may choose to do so.
The court can take all property you are not allowed to keep under the Bankruptcy Code. We know that sounds odd and doesn’t answer your question but most frequently, the court will take extra vehicles, large sums of money such as tax refunds or inheritances, and excess jewelry or property.
You can discharge some but not all tax liability. It is based on when the taxes came due, when the returns were filed and when the taxes were assessed. Each case is different, and you need to talk to an attorney to see how these rules will apply to your unique case. Be careful, not all attorneys understand the nuances to the issue of tax liability.
Possibly. Every bankruptcy case is different and has its own set of circumstances that are used to determine whether you can keep your tax refund or not. When you file your taxes and when you file your bankruptcy can make a difference. The amount of your tax refund can make a difference as well.
You can find out who you owe money to by looking at your credit report and collecting all of the bills that are sent to you. It is a good idea to start saving bills a couple of months before filing bankruptcy to be sure that all of your creditors are included. If you become aware of more creditors after the bankruptcy is filed there are options for including them. Medical bills are tricky and often do not show up on a credit report. Try to remember any medical providers that you have had to make sure that they are included.
Dischargeable debts are debts that can be discharged through a bankruptcy proceeding. This means that once you receive a discharge, you will no longer be responsible for these debts. Some examples of dischargeable debts include: medical billscredit card bills, personal loans, past-due utility bills/rent, civil court judgements, auto accident claims and repossession deficiency balances.
Non-dischargeable debts are debts that will not be discharged, or forgiven, when filing bankruptcy. These may include:
Secured debt is debt that has collateral attached to it. For example, a vehicle loan is a secured debt because if you do not pay the debt, they can repossess the car to pay off your balance. Real estate is another good example of a secured debt.
Unsecured debt is debt that does not have collateral attached to it. For example, medical bills are an unsecured debt because if you do not pay the debt, there is nothing that they can take from you to pay off your balance. For what it is worth, we have had many clients worried about a dentist taking out their fillings if they claim bankruptcy. That just does not happen. If you are concerned about the impact of a bankruptcy on your unsecured debt, come in for a free consultation and we can walk you through it.
This is Sam’s favorite question because he enjoys pointing out that Congress outlawed debtors’ prisons in 1838. In other words, no, you cannot go to jail if you do not pay your debts, but debt collectors can make your life difficult.