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The Bankruptcy Code was developed to give Americans a fresh start if they have amassed too much debt. We will assess your specific financial situation and advise you on how best to proceed.
While many people will actually qualify for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, it is our job to assess your unique financial situation and advise you on the benefits associated with either filing. We will work diligently to determine how bankruptcy can lead you to a brand new financial future.
Determining which bankruptcy is best for you depends on a number of factors. We have created a chart that outlines some of the key differences among the two primary types of bankruptcy.

Our Expertise

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 95
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 90
Financial Workouts 85
Complex Financial Reorganization 95
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At Espy, Metcalf & Espy, you are more than a client. We are invested in your future.

Our expertise is Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Protection, and Financial Restructuring. Contact us today for a free initial consultation!
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Chapter 7 bankruptcy at a glance

  • You have little property except for the basic necessities like furniture and clothing.
  • You have little or no money left after paying basic expenses each month.
  • Most unsecured debts can be discharged/completely eliminated.
  • The process moves quickly – you may receive your discharge in just a few months.
  • Creditors can’t contact you while the automatic stay is in effect – or after debts are discharged.
  • Individuals and business entities.
  • Disposable income must be low enough to pass the Chapter 7 means test.
  • Many times vehicle is surrendered unless payments are kept current and equity position is low.
  • Many times home is surrendered unless payments are kept current and equity position is low.
  • Stays on credit report for up to 10 years.
  • All fees and Court costs have to be up front.
  • Co-signers not protected.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy at a glance

  • You have significant equity in a home or other property and you want to keep it.
  • You can pay your living expenses but are behind with payments on your debts.
  • You can keep most of your property (including house and vehicle) with additional time to pay past due accounts.
  • You’ll have 3-5 years to catch up delinquent accounts according to a schedule that is workable for you.
  • You’ll make one monthly payment to the bankruptcy trustee for distribution.
  • You’ll have no direct contact with your creditors during the protection period of 3-5 years.
  • Co-signers may be protected.
  • Individuals and sole proprietorships.
  • Unsecured debts are below $360,475 and secured debts are less than $1,081,400.
  • Must make monthly payments to the trustee for 3-5 years.
  • May have to pay back a portion of general unsecured debts.
  • Stays on credit report for up to 7 years.

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Comparison Chart

Determining which bankruptcy is best for you depends on a number of factors. The chart below highlights some of the key differences
among the two primary types of bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Unsecured debt
  • Most debt is not paid back.
  • 1% to 100% paid back depending on plan.
Secured debt
  • Can keep property if payments current and equity position is low.
  • If kept, payments are made directly to lien holder.
  • Can surrender without penalty.
  • Missed payments are paid back in bankruptcy plan.
  • If vehicle is kept, payments are consolidated with other debts.
  • Can surrender vehicle without penalty.
  • If home is kept, payments are made directly to mortgage holder.
Furniture
  • Can usually be kept.
  • If kept, payments are made to lien holder.
  • Can turn in without penalty.
  • If kept, late payments and regular payments rolled into bankruptcy plan.
  • Can turn in without penalty.
Garnishments
  • Stopped by filing.
  • Stopped by filing.
Forclosure
  • Property is surrendered.
  • Stopped by filing.
Harassing phone calls
  • Stopped by filing.
  • Stopped by filing.
Length
  • Typically 4 to 6 months.
  • Lasts 3 to 5 years.
Child support
  • You cannot avoid support debts.
  • If you cannot pay this off before the end of bankruptcy, you will still owe the remaining balance.
Alimony
  • You cannot avoid spousal support debts.
  • If you cannot pay this off before the end of bankruptcy, you will still owe the remaining balance.
Student loans
  • You cannot avoid student loan debts.
  • If you cannot pay this off before the end of bankruptcy, you will still owe the remaining balance.
Co-signers
  • Creditors can seek payment from your co-debtor.
  • Creditors cannot seek payment from your co-debtor for the duration of your bankruptcy.
Successive bankruptcies
  • You cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for 8 years.
  • You cannot file another Chapter 13 bankruptcy for 2-6 years, depending on your individual circumstances.
2014 statistics
  • 619,069 (66% of all bankruptcy filings)
  • 310,061 (33% of all bankruptcy filings)
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A brighter future is just over the horizon!

With over 75 years combined experience helping others in situations like yours, we have the experience and expertise to help.
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