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A Glossary Of Bankruptcy Terms

By Sam Calvert, Attorney At Law |

Blog by Sam Calvert, Attorney at Law

Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific industry, and the same applies when working with a bankruptcy attorney.

To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when filing for bankruptcy, Sam Calvert, Attorney at Law, has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your bankruptcy needs effectively.

Chapter 7
A chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called a “straight” bankruptcy. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you surrender (or buy back) any non-exempt property, and your dischargeable debts are written off.

Chapter 13
In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you set up a payment plan to pay what you can afford over a three to five year period. You can use a chapter 13 to catch up on house payments, re-write some car loans, etc.

Chapter 12
A chapter 12 is a reorganization bankruptcy plan for farmers. In this case, a plan is put together and approved by the court. You can use it to re-write mortgages and equipment loans. Usually, a large percentage of your unsecured debt is written off in this case.

Chapter 11
A chapter 11 is a plan to reorganize your finances. It is usually used by businesses.

Exemption
An exemption is when the law lets you keep certain things even though you file for bankruptcy. In Minnesota, we can choose between the state exemptions and the federal exemptions.

Avoidance
Avoidance refers to getting a court order to remove a lien, such as a judgment or a security interest, from a particular piece of property.

Domestic Support Order
A Domestic Support Order is bankruptcy terminology for child support or alimony or spousal maintenance.

Trustee
A trustee is a person appointed in a chapter 7 to collect your non-exempt assets and turn them into money to pay your creditors something toward their debt. In a chapter 13, the trustee is the person you pay each month as part of your chapter 13 plan. They collect the funds and divide them up amongst your creditors.

341 meeting
A 341 meeting (sometimes called “first meeting of creditors”) is an “interview” with the trustee of your case. The trustee will ask questions about your assets, financial history, income, expenses, and debts. Creditors have the right to participate, but doing so is unusual.

Automatic Stay
The filing of a bankruptcy is the equivalent of a court order that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosure, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed. There are some exceptions to the automatic stay.

Debtor
A debtor is the person who files a bankruptcy.

Current Monthly Income
Current monthly income is supposed to be the average monthly income received by the debtor over six calendar months before the filing of the bankruptcy case, but not including social security income and a few other types of payments. The “current monthly income” is used to calculate whether you pass the “means test.”

Means test
The means test is a calculation made to see whether an individual debtor’s chapter 7 net income is “too high.” If it is, the case is presumed to be an abuse of the Bankruptcy Code requiring dismissal or conversion of the case. 

Stay relief motion
A stay relief motion is also referred to as a motion to lift the automatic stay. It is a request by a creditor to allow the creditor to take any action against a debtor or the debtor’s property that would otherwise be prohibited by the automatic stay.

Equity
The value of a debtor’s interest in property that remains after liens are subtracted. (Example: If a house valued at $120,000 is subject to a $100,000 mortgage, there is $20,000 of equity.)

If you’re looking for more information about filing for bankruptcy, reach out to Sam CalvertAttorney at Law. I offer my services to clients across St. Cloud, Saint Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Saint Stephen, Saint Cloud, Gilman, Rice, Holdingford, Stearns County, St. Joseph, Waite Park, Avon, Albany, Freeport, Richmond, Paynesville, Cold Spring, Roscoe, Rockville, Eden Valley, Watkins, Kimball, Fairhaven, South Haven, Annandale, Maple Lake, and Silver Creek, Minnesota. I specifically cater to the needs of individuals and small businesses in financial distress. I work with them to figure out the best way to handle their bankruptcy legally. I’m also a Real Property Specialist, certified by the Real Property Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, which means I can assist people in this area of the law as well.

To view a full list of my services, please click here, or get in touch with my team and me here

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