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Myths About Bankruptcy The following are common societal myths that surround the process of bankruptcy. Read on and rest assured that you are not alone if you have believed in any of the following. We are pleasured to inform you that we have guided countless individuals through the bankruptcy process and our experience has shown that almost every single one of those individuals has gone on to continue living a productive life and have regained the financial freedom and security which we all strive for and deserve. If you have any lingering questions after reading the below, contact us so that we can explain everything and clear up your doubts.  At the Bankruptcy Law Offices of Juan Milanes PLLC, we are here to help you.   Myth #1. Everyone will know I have filed for bankruptcy: Unless you’re a prominent person or a major corporation and the filing is picked up by the media, the chances are very good that the only people who will know about a filing are your creditors and the people who you tell personally. While it’s true that your bankruptcy is a matter of public record, the number of filings is so massive, that unless someone is specifically trying to track down information on you, there is almost no likelihood that anyone will even know you filed.   Myth #2. You will lose everything you have: Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people who file bankruptcy don’t lose anything. Every State and Puerto Rico has exemptions that protect certain kinds of property. If you want to keep a car, truck, home or business equipment that serves as collateral for a loan, you need to keep paying on the debt. You will be able to keep these items if you make these payments and have exemptions to cover any value above what is owed.   Myth #3. You will never be able to own anything again: This is completely false. You will be able to buy, own and possess whatever you can afford. In fact, we find that the vast majority of our client’s are back to having good credit within 2 to 3 after the bankruptcy. How you handle your credit repair after bankruptcy will ultimately be up to you. You will have the new start you needed and living responsibly will be vital. If you are responsible with your spending, chances are you will have good credit much sooner rather than later.   Myth #4. You will never get credit again: Quite the contrary. Filing bankruptcy gets rid of debt, and getting rid of debt puts you in a position to handle more credit which in turn makes you very attractive to would-be lenders. You can expect credit card offers again within months after the bankruptcy. At first, the would-be lenders will want more money down and will want to charge you higher interest rates. However, over time, if you are careful, keep a job, save money and pay your bills timely, the quality of your credit will improve drastically. Generally, if a filer has not re-established good credit in 2 to 3 years, it’s not because they filed bankruptcy. It generally means that something else has happened after the bankruptcy to hurt their credit.   Myth #5. Filing bankruptcy will hurt your credit for 10 years: Not true. You are getting the fact that bankruptcy is reported on your credit report for 10 years mixed up with the effect that reporting will have on your credit. Just because something is reported on your credit report does not mean it will have a negative effect on your credit standing. The truth is by the time you need to make an appointment with us your credit is already in bad shape. This being the case, you have no credit for bankruptcy to hurt. Furthermore, as noted above, if a filer has not re-established good credit in 2 to 3 years, it’s not because they filed bankruptcy. It generally means that something else has happened after the bankruptcy to hurt their credit. Myth #6. If you are married, both you and your spouse have to file bankruptcy: Not true. In many cases, where both husband and wife have a lot of debt, it makes sense and saves a lot of money for them to both file, but it is never a requirement under the law. With us it makes sense for both spouses to file together because both can file for nearly the same price as one filing.   Myth #7. It’s really hard to file for bankruptcy. No, it is not. The decision to file is always the toughest part of the process. However, once the decision is made and we are hired, we will guide you through every step of the way. It’s not difficult and is very straightforward. If you are willing to cooperate with us, this only makes the process that much easier.   Myth #8. Only losers file for bankruptcy: Not true. Most of the people who file bankruptcy are good, honest, hard-working people who make the decision after months or years struggling to pay the bills left over from some life-changing experience, such as a divorce, the loss of a job, a failed business venture, a serious illness or some family emergency, or because they honestly and mistakenly fell into debt at a young age before they knew better. Consider this: Donald Trump and his casinos have been in bankruptcy, as have United Airlines and US Air. The perception of these successful companies did not change because they filed for bankruptcy.   Myth #9. Filing bankruptcy means you are a bad person: There’s a reason nearly 2,000,000 Americans file bankruptcy each year, and it’s not because they’re bad people. Lots of good, honest, hard-working people fall on hard times. The bankruptcy laws were created with this in mind to make sure you have a way to get free from the burden of debt so that you and your family can have a second chance at a “fresh start”.   Myth #10. Filing bankruptcy will hurt your credit: No, it will not. The truth is by the time you need to make an appointment with us your credit is already in bad shape. This being the case, you have no credit for bankruptcy to hurt. In actuality, bankruptcy is the first step in the process of re- building your credit. In the majority of cases, filing bankruptcy raises your credit score immediately.   Myth #11. Even if I file, creditors will still harass me and my family: This is not true. The minute you file bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Court issues an order telling all of your creditors to leave you alone. No more phone calls. No more collection letters. No more lawsuits. No repossessions. No foreclosures. Nothing. This order has a name. It is called the “automatic stay”; and it is issued pursuant to 11 United States Code, Section 362. The automatic stay prohibits you from any and all collections actions. After you file bankruptcy, creditors are not even allowed to talk to you. In addition, creditors must stop any collection attempts already started. The automatic stay is very powerful, and puts the full weight of the law to work for you. If a creditor violates the automatic stay, you have the right to bring that creditor before the Court for Contempt of Court, and to be compensated accordingly. Very simply, once you file for bankruptcy, creditors must leave you alone or suffer the consequences. The second you receive a call or letter, let us know and we will take it from there. We take pride in taking overzealous creditors to Court and will ensure that you are adequately compensated for any wrongdoing which violates your rights.   Myth #12. If I file, it will add to the burden I am already facing in my marriage and might result in divorce: This is not true. Filing bankruptcy is not the problem. The problem is not being able to pay your bills. All good, honest, hard- working people feel a strong need to pay their bills and not being able to do so causes them to feel tremendous stress. Unless you do something to relieve this stress, the stress can quickly build to the marriage breaking point. Bankruptcy is designed to get you out from under the burden of debt, to protect your property and to lower your stress level. Bankruptcy is a crucial first step in repairing your relationship which in turn gives your marriage a great chance to survive.   Myth #13. You can’t get rid of taxes through bankruptcy: We can help you get rid of old income taxes. “Old” means income taxes that are more than 3 years old. Under the law there are 3 or 4 qualifications that must be met, but once these are met the old taxes are gone. We can advise you whether your taxes qualify for discharge.   Myth #14. You can only file once for bankruptcy: False. You can only file for Chapter 7 once every eight years. You can file a Chapter 13 at any point in time, even if you have just completed a chapter 7. This is sometimes referred to as a "Chapter 20".   Myth #15. You can pick and choose which debts and property to list in your bankruptcy: No, you can’t. Doing so would be against the law. Under the law, when you file bankruptcy you have to list all your property and all your debts. Most people want to leave out a debt because it is their intent to keep paying on it. The good news is that you can achieve the same goal, although you have to list the debt. After bankruptcy you may pay back whomever you want. In fact, after you file bankruptcy there are some debts you have to keep paying on. For instance, if you have a car, truck or house loan, even though you list the debt in your bankruptcy, if you want to keep the car, truck or house you have to keep paying on the debt. As long as you stay current on the loan and keep the property properly insured you are protected under the law and get to keep the property. At the Law Offices of Juan E. Milanes, PLLC, we understand that you are going through a difficult time and are mindful of both your emotional and legal needs. Our goal is to help you overcome your financial and/or legal difficulties as quickly as possible. Our attorneys in Northern Virginia always treat you and your family with the respect and compassion that you deserve!   Trust the Law Offices of Juan E. Milanes, PLLC when you need effective bankruptcy defense in Virginia and Washington, D.C. We provide convenient office hours to meet your busy schedule, including evening and weekend appointments for current clients. We can create a plan to help you enjoy a fresh financial start, save your home from foreclosure, or protect your legal rights in federal court.   Are you ready to take the first step towards relief? Contact our  lawyers in Reston / Herndon / Sterling to set up a free consultation today!  Contact Us         The Law Offices of Juan E. Milanes, PLLC is a compassionate bankruptcy attorney in Reston, VA that is dedicated to providing all clients with manageable debt relief solutions. Contact us today! We proudly serve Reston, Herndon and the Washington, D.C. area. We also serve Aldie, Alexandria, Annandale, Arcola, Arlington, Ashburn, Belle Haven, Brambleton, Bristow, Broadlands, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Countryside, DC, District of Columbia, Dulles, Fair Lakes, Fairfax, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Fort Hunt, Fort Myer, Gainesville, Great Falls, Hamilton, Haymarket, Herndon, Kings Park, Kingstowne, Lake Ridge, Landmark, Leesburg, Lincolnia, Lorton, Manassas, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Mantua, McLean, Merrifield, Middleburg, Mt. Vernon, Newington, Nokesville, North Springfield, Oakton, Occoquan, Potomac Falls, Purcellville, Reston, Rose Hill, South Riding, Southbridge, Sterling, Tysons, Tysons Corner, Vienna, Warrenton, Washington, DC, West Falls Church, and West Springfield. "This law firm is a Debt Relief Agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code."
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