Frequently Asked Questions
General C13-PLAN™ Questions & Answers.
General Chapter 7 PLAN Questions & Answers.
General Bankruptcy Questions & Answers.
- What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is the process of filing either a C13-PLAN™ or a Chapter 7 PLAN. It is a legal proceeding where essentially you are asking the federal court for protection from your creditors regarding past Debts. When successfully completed, you will receive a discharge order that will protect you forever from any attempts from your creditors ever trying to collect on any Bills that were included in your C13-PLAN™.
- Do I qualify to file Bankruptcy?
All U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-citizens with property interests in the U.S. are eligible to file for Bankruptcy. If your net income is higher than the medium income for the area where you live is higher, you may have to file a C13-PLAN™. If you net income is lower than the medium income for the area where you live, then you may be eligible to file a Chapter 7 PLAN. Net income is determined by the size of your family and the income and expenses that your family has. Keep in mind that about ninety-nine percent (99%) of all San Antonians qualify to either file a Chapter 7 PLAN or a Chapter 13 PLAN. Your attorney will discuss the specifics of your case at your Free Initial, No Obligation, Confidential Consultation.
- What can I do if a creditor will not stop calling and harassing me?
If you have already filed, pick up the phone and let them know that you already filed. Give them your case number and also our office information so if they need any further information on your case, they can call us. If you haven’t already filed, unfortunately there is very little you can do until you file. You may want to simply not take the call until you have had a chance to file your C13-PLAN™.
- What are your office hours?
Our office is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday and 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Saturdays. Other late hours and weekends are available by appointment only. Remember that our automated phone information is available 24 hours a day and you may also leave us a secure, private message on our voicemail and we’ll be happy to return your call as promptly as possible. Finally, you may also send us an e-mail and we’ll try to get back to us as soon as possible. If you choose to send us an e-mail and you haven’t heard back from us after three days, try sending it again or try calling us to check on it. Sometimes our security software does not allow the e-mail through if it doesn’t recognize the sender.
- Does my spouse or I have to attend the Financial Management Class?
It depends. Only actual filing clients have to attend the class. However, if you wish to bring a spouse or friend for moral support you may.
- May I pay with a credit card?
The Vasquez Law Firm accepts credit card payments. However, clients that are contemplating filing cannot use their credit cards since these Bills will be included in their C13-PLAN™. Therefore, The Vasquez Law Firm will take credit card payments only from friends or family members of the clients contemplating filing that are given to the potential filer as gifts and not as loans.
- Does my spouse have to file/sign with me?
Short answer is no. However, keep in mind that Bankruptcy only protects people not Debt in and of itself. What this means is that only the actual person or persons who file get protection from creditors and their collection efforts. So for example, if you and your spouse are joint debtors on a particular credit card balance, only the filing spouse gets protection. Then the creditor is allowed to pursue collection efforts against the non-filing spouse. Your attorney will be glad to advice you whether or not it is a good idea based on your individual facts. Only married couples may file together with one petition and cost.
- Does my spouse or I have to attend the meeting of creditors with me?
Only actual filers have to attend the meeting. However, you may bring a non-filing spouse or friend for moral support if you would like.
- Does my spouse or I have to attend the confirmation meeting?
Generally, clients don’t have to attend the meeting. If there is a reason that your attorney would need you to be present, our office will let you know both by phone and written notice.
- May I file for bankruptcy if I have filed before?
Short answer is yes. However, particular attention has to be paid as to what chapter and when it was filed. Make sure to tell your attorney when you attend your Free Initial Consultation.
- How long does the Chapter 13 PLAN take?
It depends on the facts of each case. However, most C13-PLAN™s last anywhere from three (3) to five (5) years. Some plans may last as little as six (6) months if they are proposed as a full-paid PLAN.
- How long does the Chapter 7 PLAN take?
Chapter 7 PLANs take on average about six (6) months to complete if there are no unforeseen developments in the case. Your attorney can estimate the time frame based on the facts of your case.
- Are student loans dischargeable?
Generally no. Student loans are unsecured loans but are specifically protected as non-dischargeable under the code. There may be a possibility to discharge them is you file an adversary complaint where you can prove EXCEPTIONAL circumstances as to why you would never be able to repay them back.
- May I include IRS taxes into my PLAN?
Yes if fact, it is required that we include all taxes owed at the time of filing. Generally, only those taxes that are accrued after the start of your C13-PLAN™ may not be included under the PLAN.
- How much does it cost?
For a Chapter 7 PLAN, the court will charge $299. for the filing fee and $274. for the C13-PLAN™. Our attorney’s fee is usually paid to us over time under the C13-PLAN™ so many times our clients don’t have to pay anything up front. Our office will be glad to provide you a fee quote based on the facts of your case when you attend your Free Initial Consultation.
- Does The Vasquez Law Firm have payment plans?
Yes, make sure to ask your attorney when you attend your Free Initial Consultation.
- Will I get to keep all my property and belongings?
Short answer is probably yes. Most of all our clients (about 99%) get to keep all their property. However if your happen to be in the 1% of clients who don’t, your attorney will inform you in detail so you can make an informed decision.
- What if I forgot to include a creditor?
Call us immediately. Depending on the stage of your case, we may be able to amend your PLAN and include it. Remember it is important to try to include any and all your creditors from the beginning. If you forget to include a creditor, you may not get protection and most importantly no discharge from that Debt.
- Will filing a C13-PLAN™ affect my credit?
Filing a C13-PLAN™ is considered a Bankruptcy since its protection stems from the Bankruptcy Code. Therefore, your credit report will show that you filed a Bankruptcy even though you are paying your Debt. Keep in mind that falling behind on your payments affects your credit just as much as if you file for a C13-PLAN™ because having good credit is not only having the ability to pay your Bills as they come due, but actually paying them as they do. So it is our opinion that filing a C13-PLAN™ will not affect you further, but actually help since you begin to re-establish your credit after you file. Keep in mind that ninety-nine (99%) percent of our clients get offers of new credit within a couple of months after completing their PLAN. Indeed there is new credit after Bankruptcy, however most of our clients who get these offers usually have to pay higher interest rates.
- May I tell creditors that I have an attorney so they can stop calling me?
It depends. If you already filed, yes. If you haven’t filed, there is no protection for you yet. However, you may consider retaining our office to file bankruptcy at a later date. If you do, you may tell creditors that you have retained The Vasquez Law Firm and then creditors will call our office rather then call you.
- Does The Vasquez Law Firm speak Spanish?
Yes we do. Make sure to tell our friendly receptionist that you prefer a spanish appointment and we will be glad to provide you services in spanish. Remember we have our Free 24 hour automated phone message available in spanish and if needed, we will translate any documents for our clients as well.
- Can I file Bankruptcy if I’m only a permanent resident or a non-citizen?
Yes, but non-citizen’s must have property interests in the United States. Your attorney will be glad to provide you specific information at your Free Initial Consultation.
- May I bring my children to my appointment?
We always welcome children at The Vasquez Law Firm. However if possible, we recommend that you find care for them since your Free Initial Consultation will take approximately one-hour to one and a half hours to complete. It is also an appointment of great importance since it will require your undivided attention to discuss all your legal aspects of your finances. It is almost impossible for children to stay still for that long of a stretch so they may feel more comfortable not having to wait through this appointment. In short although we do not recommend it, you may bring your children to your appointments with our office as well as your required appointments at the meeting of creditors and the financial management class.
- Do I have to include all my bills or only the ones I want to include in Bankruptcy?
The C13-PLAN™ is an all or nothing proposition. What this means is that federal law wants to get you out of Debt completely. So you must include all your Bills in the PLAN even those that you may not want to. Remember you may be able to pay some bills back if you voluntarily wish to do so. Make sure to discuss it with your attorney.
- What happens if I move within or away from San Antonio?
Remember that we will represent you until you complete your C13-PLAN™. So it is important for you to think about us first when anything changes in your life. Give us a call and we will update both our records and the records with the court.
- What happens if I stop making my C13-PLAN™ payments?
It is important to continue to make your C13-PLAN™ payments in a timely fashion. Generally, if you get behind two or more payments, the trustee is authorized to dismiss your case. If your case is dismissed, you will not get your discharge. Remember your goal is always to get your discharge order since this is what will protect you for life from creditors ever trying to collect on those old Debts. Finally, if your case is dismissed, if may be much more difficult to re-file a new C13-PLAN™ for you because of the Bankruptcy amendments of 2005. If you think you may or are falling behind on your payments, call us for an appointment to see if we can help save your case.
- Where do I send my payments?
- May I send personal checks to the trustee?
no, the trustee’s office only accepts money orders or wage withholding from employers and retirement benefits.
- I have fallen behind on my C13-PLAN™ pmts. Is there something that can be done to save my PLAN?
Many times there is. call our office for an appointment and we will see what we can do to save your C13-PLAN™.
- I lost my copy of the C13-PLAN™ discharge. May I get an additional copy from The Vasquez Law Firm?
Yes, there may be a small fee for retrieval costs from our warehouse but we may be able to find you a copy.
- May I bring friends to my Free initial Consultation for moral support?
Yes you may. Keep in mind that when you come to consult with us you are entitled to complete confidentiality between you and your attorney (i.e. attorney-client privilege). Therefore, you may waive such rights by bringing in a 3rd party. However we will not object so long as you understand your actions.
- How long will my Free Confidential Initial Consultation take?
Generally the consultation will take about 45 minutes to one hour. Small business consultation may last longer about one (1) hour to one (1) and a half (1/2) hours.
- I’m going through a divorce, what should I do?
Call us for an appointment. We will sit down with you and discuss how that will affect your PLAN. Remember that it doesn’t matter who actually pays the lower monthly payment but only that it is done. So if a pending divorce is going to get you behind call us to discuss a proper plan of action. Remember that if you filed a joint (husband and wife) PLAN, our office represents both of you so we may not be able to keep information away from your spouse.
- I fell behind with my house payment, will I lose my house?
No, not necessarily. It is important to keep up with you house payments but if you haven’t received a motion for relief from stay (i.e. 362 motion) there is still time. Call us for an appointment to discuss your situation with your attorney. There may be something we can do to buy time or fix the problem.
- I received a motion called motion for relief from stay. What should I do?
Call our office and set up an appointment so we can discuss the motion. Generally, the motion seeks permission from the court to be out of the protection afforded to you (i.e. automatic stay) so that they may deal with you directly and if possible would be allowed to take your car or house without having to go back to court for permission to do so. It is important to remember that we should attempt to take care of this motion because if the creditor gets relief, they will be one step closer to taking your property.
- I would like to sell my home, do I need court permission?
Yes, call our office and set up an appointment so we can discuss your options and we will have to file a motion to sell before you may proceed.
- I got into a car accident with the car that is under my C13-PLAN™, what do I do?
Call us and let us know. Our office will have to review your case to see how it will affect your C13-PLAN™, if any. If you will be needing to replace your car, we may need to file a motion to incur Debt and check to see if we need to amend your C13-PLAN™. We also need to see if any insurance proceeds will be forthcoming and who would have rights to them.
- May I payoff my C13-PLAN™ early?
Generally no. You may, only if, you filed a full-paid C13-PLAN™ where all your creditors will received 100% of the balance of your Debt, without interest and fees of course. There may be another way if you are fortunate to have equity in your home and you agree to use it to pre-pay your C13-PLAN™ early. However, this option would have to be done by motion and has to be approved by the court before you may proceed.
- What is the address where the meeting of creditors (341a) is held?
- What is the address of the Bankruptcy court?
Hipolito F. Garcia Federal Building and United States Courthouse
615 East Houston Street Room 137
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 472-5196 Fax
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1439, San Antonio, Texas 78295-1439
- If I file for C13-PLAN™, will I lose my job?
No, it is illegal for any employer (public or private) to discriminate against you solely because you filed a bankruptcy C13-PLAN™.
- what is the automatic stay anyway?
The automatic stay is an order that is entered by the federal court as soon as you file your C13-PLAN™. It protects you immediately from any further attempts from your creditors to collect on your accounts or to continue a lawsuit or to try to repossess your vehicle, etc. Generally, this order stays active so long as your case is active and not dismissed or discharged.
- What/who is the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 PLAN trustee?
The trustee is the person appointment by the court to collect and distribute any funds to pay the lower payments that go to all the creditors in your PLAN. Remember that the trustee works under the law for creditors in your PLAN.
- What is the confirmation hearing?
This is where the court approves the PLAN to go forward because there are no unresolved issues in your case. Generally, you will not have to attend this meeting unless our office notifies you otherwise.
- What is a discharge?
it is the order federal court that we seek for your case. Once received, save it with your important documents. This order will protect you from any future attempts from creditors trying to collect of any Debt that was discharged in your C13-PLAN™.
- Can I pay a creditor even if I already filed and/or received my discharge?
Yes, even after you receive a discharge you may still voluntarily pay any creditor that was in the PLAN. However, the law says that the creditor himself may not attempt to collect the Debt from you. So said creditor may have you sign a simple document stating that you are Voluntarily paying for a Debt that was discharged. Remember though that this is only is you wish to pay, they may not harass or even attempt to collect from you unless you initiated contact with them after you decided independently to pay them back.
- Are all my Bills discharged after I complete my PLAN?
Generally most of all your Bills will be. However, some Bills are non-dischargeable such as student loans and certain secured loans. Your attorney will tell you at your Free Initial Consultation. Make sure to tell your attorney of all your Bills.
- I received a statement from the Trustee, showing what payments I’ve made and who has been paid. Do I need to do something with it?
This document is sent out twice a year around the beginning of April and the end of October. Make sure save it for your records.
- I got a copy of a document called objection to confirmation of PLAN. Do I need to do something?
Our office receives a copy of all the documents you receive. Very likely, our office is already working to resolve any dispute regarding said document. If our office needs to discuss any issue with you, we will call you to inform you and to get any information we may need to properly resolve your issue. It may be a good idea to send us an e-mail to verify your receipt of the document.
- I have a minor question but I can’t call during office hours. May I send you an e-mail?
Yes, however keep in mind that sometimes our security software may prevent an e-mail from coming through. So if you haven’t heard from us after three business days, call us to verify. If it is very important, it may be a good idea to also call us as well.
- I have a personal injury claim pending. Do I need to disclose this?
yes, a personal injury claim is considered an asset and must be disclosed on your original filing. Your attorney will discuss with you all the details of your claim.
- I am receiving a social security back payment. Do I need to disclose this?
It is important that your attorney knows about anything that may affect your financial ability. Therefore, inform our office and your attorney will let you know what, if anything, you need to do.
- May I have the trustee withdraw my monthly payment from my bank account?
Unfortunately no not at this time. The trustee only accepts money orders and wage withholding from employers and retirement payments.
- I need to talk to my attorney but I don’t have time to come in. What can I do?
call our friendly receptionist and we will be happy to give you a phone appointment to help out.
- May I borrow money while I’m in a C13-PLAN™?
You may but only under specific circumstances. Call our office and discuss it with your attorney since it may be necessary to file a motion to incur Debt with the court.
- I got an IRS form called 1099-C. What should I do?
This document seeks to tax you on Debt that was forgiven. The IRS sees forgiven Debt as regular income just as if you had earned it from work. The good news is that there are two exceptions under the law. One is that if you were insolvent at the time the Debt was forgiven, it is not income. The second exception is that if you filed for Bankruptcy then it is not income. See the back side of the 1099-C which refers to this exception.
To take care of this, include the 1099-C along with IRS form 982 with your 1040 tax return. (link to IRS forms)
- Where is The Vasquez Law Firm located?
How do I get Started?
It is very easy to get started. Just call our office direct at (210) 229-2067 and set up your FREE Initial, No Obligation, Confidential Consultation with your attorney. Then we’ll take it from there. Your attorney will show you exactly how it works and let you make an informed decision.
THANK YOU for allowing The Vasquez Law Firm to serve ALL your DEBT RELIEF needs.
Call us today (210) C13-PLAN™ (213-7526)
If you have questions on any of these three bankruptcy topics please feel free to fill out the form and we will personally email you an answer![convertable]