According to laws passed in 2005 that affect Maryland bankruptcy, an individual must receive credit counseling at least six months before filing for bankruptcy. This credit counseling provides them with the information and helps them decide whether they need to file for chapter 7, which is liquidation, or chapter 13, which is a three to five year repayment plan. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is for businesses and, thus, individuals do not need to concern themselves with it when considering personal bankruptcy.
Credit counseling might help a person decide that they do not even need to file for Maryland bankruptcy. Instead, they negotiate with their creditors and come up with a more modest repayment plan so they don’t have to resort to bankruptcy. However, if Maryland bankruptcy is necessary, it does provide several benefits to the filer, be it chapter 7 or chapter 13.
To begin, once you have filed for Maryland bankruptcy and have hired a bankruptcy lawyer, all creditors must deal with you through your lawyer. Sometimes, creditors’ collection activities might verge on harassment, and even threats, of which are illegal, though most people might not know that. Your lawyer, however, will.
This is a result of something called an automatic stay. Once a bankruptcy case has been filed, either chapter 7 or chapter 13, an automatic stay goes into effect. This prohibits any act to obtain money or personal property from a debtor. Lawsuits involving such debts must also stop.
A creditor, or someone acting on a creditor’s bequest, cannot violate an automatic stay or they risk being tried for contempt of court. Further, the automatic stay means that any property that has been seized and repossessed must be returned to the debtor. Foreclosures or sheriff’s sales or anything else resulting in loss of the debtor’s personal property must also cease.
This provides breathing room so the debtor can file and reorganize their debts, and lives.