Bankruptcy FAQ

How do I File for Bankruptcy in Massachusetts?  What do I need to know about Bankruptcy in Massachusetts? Munroe P.C. takes on Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy

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What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process authorized under federal law to provide debt relief to honest debtors and a reprieve from legal actions by creditors.

How do I File for Bankruptcy in Massachusetts?

Bankruptcy cases begin with the filing of a bankruptcy petition with the District of Massachusetts US Bankruptcy Court.  Upon the filing, the court will assign a docket number and by operation of law the automatic stay preventing creditor action against you will begin.  Ultimately the best way to learn how to file bankruptcy in Massachusetts it to talk to an attorney.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 allows a debtor to eliminate eligible debts. Chapter 13 allows the debtor to repay debts over several years without interest or penalties.

What debts are discharged in bankruptcy?

Unsecured debts such as credit cards, medical bills and judgments are wiped clean. Secured debts such as a home mortgage or car loan are not discharged. Student loans, criminal fines and child support are not discharged. Some back taxes can be discharged.  There are some other special classes of debt that are exempted from discharge by law.

Will I lose my property?

Most people who qualify for bankruptcy can keep their house, car, retirement savings and personal possessions. Luxury items or other nonexempt property may be forfeited in a Chapter 7. Our attorney can explain what assets you would lose, if anything.

Can bankruptcy prevent foreclosure?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy stops foreclosure temporarily, buying time to negotiate with the lender or arrange a sale of the home. Chapter 13 bankruptcy stops foreclosure indefinitely if you keep up with the house payments and allows you to pay mortgage arrears over time.

Can bankruptcy stop other creditor actions?

Yes. Bankruptcy can prevent or stop repossession, wage garnishment, lawsuits, property liens and the harassing phone calls. Creditors must cease all collection efforts on the day your petition is filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Will bankruptcy ruin my credit rating?

Your credit score will initially dip after declaring bankruptcy, but it is probably very low already. Bankruptcy should actually improve your credit rating over time.

How long does bankruptcy stay on my record?

Bankruptcy will show on your credit report for 10 years. However, you will soon qualify for credit cards and car loans, and even home loans within a few years.

Will my bankruptcy be paraded in public?

Bankruptcy proceedings and records are technically public, but bankruptcy filings are not published in local newspapers. It is unlikely that anyone other than your creditors will know that you filed.

Do I need an attorney to file for bankruptcy?

You are not required to hire legal counsel. However, even the Bankruptcy Court’s own website recommends that filers consult an attorney. Bankruptcy law is complex, and an experienced lawyer like Kristofer Munroe can ensure that you take maximum advantage of debt relief and asset exemptions.

How long does bankruptcy take?

A Chapter 7 discharge takes approximately four months after filing. In a Chapter 13 plan, monthly payments begin 30 days after filing and continue for three years or five years.

Do I have to go to court?

You will have to appear in Bankruptcy Court for a brief hearing before the judge or trustee, mostly to verify information. Mr. Munroe will accompany you.

I have no money. Does it cost a lot to file bankruptcy?

The cost varies with the type of filing and the specifics. Mr. Munroe can quote you the filing fee and attorney fees for your case. These must generally be paid up front. The cost is a fraction of the debts that are typically discharged and a small price for relief from legal action and creditor harassment.

Don’t let Creditors and Debts Ruin Your Life!

Take action today! Call us at 978-388-1100 for a free 20-minute consultation, or contact us online. We can arrange after-hours appointments or meet clients off-site when necessary in the Greater Newburyport or Metrowest area.  We are determined to provide attorney access to  all of our clients.

Too Busy to Meet Right Now? You can Have Massachusetts Bankruptcy Lawyer Review Your Situation Online

To read about recent developments in Bankruptcy, try our Bankruptcy Blog.

We are a federally recognized debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.



The law firm of Munroe is located in Amesbury, Massachusetts, with an office in Hudson, serving clients of Merrimack Valley, the North Shore and the Metro West area, including Haverhill, Lawrence, Salisbury, Bradford, Georgetown, Lawrence, Methuen, Salem, Marlborough, Stow, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Maynard, Southborough, Westborough, Berlin and surrounding communities of Essex County, Middlesex County and Worcester County.