Though the Dallas community is very affluent, many people still find themselves facing financial challenges and obstacles, often leading them to file for bankruptcy. While countless consumers choose to pursue this financial option each and every year, it is important that you understand how bankruptcy will personally affectyour situation and what you should expect from the process. By thinking through your options ahead of time, you can better prepare for a successful bankruptcy filing.
BANKRUPTCY EXEMPTIONS IN TEXAS
Due to the fact that the bankruptcy code falls under federal law, there are many areas that are uniform across the entire country. However, there are specific exemptions that are available to those filing in the state of Texas. If a person chooses to opt for state exemptions, they cannot use federal exemptions, though many find that the state exemptions are more generous than the federal.
An individual who chooses to file in Dallas may take advantage of the following exemptions:
- Personal property exemption: Clothing, furniture, heirlooms, other belongings.
- Homestead exemption: Property up to 10 acres within a city and 100 to 200 in rural areas.
- Vehicle exemption: One vehicle for each family member who holds a driver’s license.
Most people don’t realize how much property they can exempt, even when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is important to note that in order to be eligible for certain exemptions, you will most likely be required to have lived in Texas for more than 2 years.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO FILE?
There are certain upfront costs you will need to pay when filing for bankruptcy. For example, it is generally $306 to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $281 to file for Chapter 13. If you need additional legal services or decide to retain a lawyer, you will pay more than the basic filing fees. Keep in mind that when you hire a Dallas bankruptcy attorney, you have a legal professional on your side who will ensure that your filing is successful and capitalizes on as many applicable exemptions as possible. That is why, in many cases, hiring a lawyer saves a filer more money by cutting out remaining debts and saving more property.
WILL I LOSE ALL MY PROPERTY AND RUIN MY CREDIT?
No! As mentioned before, there are many exemptions available to preserve your property and assets. You can even keep your home throughout the bankruptcy process if you take advantage of and qualify for the correct exemptions. In many cases, a person can walk away with a majority of their debts discharged without having to give up the property that matters most to them. However, it is crucial that you remember that bankruptcy will not wipe out all of your debts. Child support, certain fines and taxes, and other debts will most likely not be discharged when filing.
Your credit will depend on a variety of factors, such as which type of bankruptcy you filed for, how much of your debt you discharged and how much you were able to pay back, and if you filed previously in the past. When you take proactive steps following your filing, you can begin to rebuild your credit much quicker than you may realize. By working with a lawyer that understands Texas bankruptcy laws, you can have peace of mind knowing your finances are in good hands.
WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
You may have to show up in court for your initial filing or meeting with creditors, though in many cases you can send your attorney or have representation present. Dallas is part of the courts in the Northern District of Texas.
The address for the courthouse:
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Earle Cabell Federal Building
1100 Commerce St., Rm. 1254
Dallas, TX 75242-1496
The courthouse is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can reach the clerk’s office at (214) 753-2000 if you have any questions. This courthouse serves Dallas, Ellis, Johnson, Hunt, Navarro, Rockwall, and Kaufman counties.
Have more questions about filing for bankruptcy in Dallas or the surrounding areas? Please reach out to our Board Certified bankruptcy attorneys today to get the counsel and guidance you need.