FAQ

These questions and answers are provided only as general information and only for Wisconsin residents. They are not intended as legal advice for any specific situation and you should not rely on any of this information for that purpose.

Can bankruptcy eliminate judgments that have been taken against me?

Yes, in Wisconsin. Except in rare circumstances, judgments can be eliminated.

Will I have to go to court many times?

Most bankruptcy cases require just one brief appearance in front of a trustee, though complex cases can require multiple appearances. The appearance is in an office building; most debtors will not have to go to court or appear before the judge.

I'm behind on my house payments. Can bankruptcy help?

If you can catch up the amount you’re behind over 3 to 5 years, then a Chapter 13 might be able to save your house.

Can bankruptcy help with tax debts?

Bankruptcy can eliminate some income tax debts. Others cannot be eliminated and must be paid after the bankruptcy is over.

Collection agencies are driving me crazy with phone calls. What can be done?

Under certain laws, many collection agency practices are illegal. If you file bankruptcy, the court will order that all such calls must stop.

I filed bankruptcy previously. If I filed before, can I file again?

That depends on what kind of bankruptcy you filed and how long it has been since you filed. You should consult a bankruptcy lawyer about your specific facts.

Will my name be in the newspaper?

The old practice of publishing the names of people who file bankruptcy is not common in Wisconsin now. Such cases are a matter of public record, so a newspaper could publish it, but it doesn’t happen very often.

Will I ever get credit again?

If you start over by paying bills on time and using credit carefully, you will probably be able to rebuild your credit rating over a couple of years.

If I file bankruptcy, will I lose my house or car?

Probably not. Most filers don’t lose anything, but be sure to ask your attorney if you’re concerned about a specific asset. See THIS POST for more information.

What is the difference between a dischargeable debt and a nondischargeable debt?

A dischargeable debt can be eliminated through bankruptcy. A nondischargeable debt will survive the bankruptcy and have to be paid after the bankruptcy case is closed. See THIS POST for more information.

How much will it cost me to file bankruptcy?

It all depends on the complexity of your specific situation. Any attorney that quotes a fee without knowing about your individual case and what may be necessary is acting irresponsibly, in my opinion. However, most attorneys should be able to give you a range of fees you can expect to pay. See THIS POST for more information.

What alternatives to bankruptcy are available to help solve my debt problems?

If you have debt problems but don’t want to file bankruptcy, one of these alternatives may help.

  • Wisconsin Chapter 128 – A unique Wisconsin law makes it possible for people to pay off unsecured debts without interest. Under this law, you can have all of your payments applied to the debt itself, rather than interest, and you can have 36 months to pay the debt off. This proceeding can be done without ever having to appear in court.
  • Debt Settlements – If you only owe money to a few creditors, I can negotiate with your creditors to reduce your debt. Creditors will sometimes agree to accept a lesser amount in full satisfaction of your debt. However, they will require a lump sum payment. If you have enough money to pay a portion of your debt but not all of it, you may wish to consider this option.
  • Negotiations with the IRS, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and other creditors. If you can afford to pay a portion of your debt, but not all of it, I can help you deal with your creditors and attempt to negotiate a settlement.
  • Doing nothing – Not everyone who is in debt needs to file bankruptcy. If you are collection-proof, creditors may be able to get judgments against you but they will not be able to garnish your wages or take your property.