Frequently Asked Questions About Filing Bankruptcy In Maryland
Are Bankruptcy Records Public in Maryland?
Yes. Court records, including those of the Maryland Bankruptcy Court Greenbelt and the Maryland Bankruptcy Court Baltimore, are considered public records. This does not necessarily mean that everyone one will know immediately that you have filed bankruptcy. To access specific case details for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, one would have to go to court's Public Access to Court Electronic Records (referred to as PACER) and input information about the specific case in order to get the case details. For some records, an account is required and payment may be required for retrieval of some documents. You can learn more about PACER or sign up for the database online by clicking the link here.
Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure in Maryland? Can Bankruptcy Stop Eviction in Maryland?
Yes it can! One of the most powerful provisions in the Bankruptcy laws pertaining to Bankruptcy in Maryland is what is referred to as the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay. When you file Bankruptcy, the Automatic Stay is automatically triggered and it stops every type of collection activity against you including foreclosure, garnishment, evictions etc. It does not matter where the creditor is in the process, they have to immediately stop their collection activity. It is important to note here that the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay does not eliminate the amounts that are owed nor does it wipe out the lien on your property. Rather, the Automatic Stay forces the creditor to halt their collections actions and they cannot proceed unless or until they get special permission from the Court, which could take weeks or months. There are all sorts of specific circumstances that could affect the Automatic Stay and also any liens you have on your property so it is important to speak with a Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney to chart out the best options for you given your specific circumstances.
How to file Bankruptcy in Maryland
The process for filing Bankruptcy in Maryland can be quite detailed and complex. Bankruptcy tends to be a very paperwork intensive process. It is possible to get all of the Maryland Bankruptcy Court Forms online on the Maryland Bankruptcy Court website. For a link to access to the most commonly used Maryland Bankruptcy Court Forms, click here. The forms are free of charge and available to anyone. However, there are a lot of rules that affect how the forms should be completed and even which forms should be used. Mistakes can result in delays, costs, the dismissal of your case and even potential liability for your. Given the sometimes complex nature of the Bankruptcy process in Maryland, and if you have concerns about Bankruptcy in Maryland laws, it is important that you speak with a Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer to help you with your case.
Is it Advisable Filing Bankruptcy in Maryland Without a Lawyer?
I would answer that question with a definite no! The Bankruptcy process is complex and there are lots of potential landmines throughout. While it seems that the cost of paying for an affordable bankruptcy attorney in Maryland may be a challenge, in many cases, the cost-benefit of possibly being able to wipe out a substantial amount of debt and stress makes it well worth it. Also, some Maryland Bankruptcy Law Firms, including, our Bankruptcy Attorneys in Hagerstown, will allow payment of the legal fees in installments.
When to File Bankruptcy in Maryland/ When Can I file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland?
Bankruptcy can be an effective way to address significant outstanding debt issues and provide you with an opportunity for a fresh start. There are generally two types of bankruptcy that would be available to consumers, namely Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A chapter 13 bankruptcy is something like a repayment plan where through the bankruptcy process you are able to come up with a plan to pay off much or all of the outstanding arrears over a three or 5 year period. A Chapter 7 on the other hand gives you the opportunity to wipe out (or "discharge") the obligation to repay all dischargeable debt. There are limitations, however, on when you can file either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. For example, you cannot receive a discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland if you have filed and received a discharge in another chapter 7 bankruptcy case within the last eight years.
What is the Maryland Bankruptcy Means Test?
The Chapter 7 means test is an analysis that helps to determine whether or not you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Maryland. Using a specific formula provided in the Bankruptcy Code, the means test calculates your gross household income and compares it with the incomes of similar sized households in the state of Maryland. If your income is determined to be above the median income, you would not qualify for a chapter 7. If your income is determined to be at or below the median income, you would qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. The means test calculation can itself be a little complex. For instance, even where an initial calculation of the means test seems to suggest that a person does not qualify, there are additional calculations that can be made to see if you do qualify. This is another reason why it is important to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you have questions about bankruptcy in Maryland.
What is a Maryland Bankruptcy Trustee?
A Maryland Bankruptcy trustee is a person appointed by the bankruptcy court (technically Trustees are appointed by the U.S. Trustees Office, a division of the U.S. Justice Department) to oversee your bankruptcy case. In most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, you will interact more with the Bankruptcy Trustee than you will with an actual Judge of the Bankruptcy Court. A Bankruptcy trustee has a lot of powers in your case including the ability to round up and seize any property of yours that is not properly exempted in your bankruptcy filings. Any such seized property can be sold by the Trustee and the proceeds distributed to creditors. A trustee can also file objections to your case and can even move to have your case dismissed without a discharge. Trustees know the law and will have no problem seizing and selling property that is not properly exempted in the schedules. This is another reason why it is advisable to speak with an experienced Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney to help you with your bankruptcy case.
How Can I find a Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me?
A quick google search should bring up potential firms that may be able to help. Be sure to take a look at their online reviews but also call to see if you can get a free consultation. At our firm, our Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyers always provide you with a free consultation and stand ready to help you with your bankruptcy case. We are your local Hagerstown Bankruptcy Attorneys, but we also provide services to clients throughout Maryland including providing Bankruptcy Attorneys in Washington County, Maryland, your Bankruptcy Attorneys in Frederick, Maryland, Bankruptcy Attorneys in Carroll County Maryland, as well as providing Bankruptcy Attorneys in Germantown, Rockville, Bethesda and many other areas throughout Maryland. Our office is located at 223 North Prospect Street, Suite 310, Hagerstown Maryland. We also provide free consultations via telephone or via Zoom.