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New Mexico Bankruptcy Attorney
If you find yourself in a situation where your debts are overwhelming, and you have no clear path to paying them, bankruptcy might be an option.
In New Mexico, you can choose to file for bankruptcy on your own after completing a credit counseling course. However, because the process is complicated and public officials are legally prohibited from advising filers, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court highly recommends consulting with a qualified attorney.
If you want assistance with filing for bankruptcy in New Mexico, including Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you can consult with our experienced Albuquerque bankruptcy attorneys. We provide clients with specific answers to their questions and help them find a path to accomplish their goals.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.
Is bankruptcy the right choice for me?
Filing for bankruptcy allows debtors to either discharge their debts, remove them, or restructure their debt agreements to make them easier to repay.
Choosing to file for bankruptcy is not a decision to take lightly. It has profound impacts on your ability to obtain future credit, and you may be required to sell (liquidate) specific property in the process of settling your debt. Additionally, there are costs to consider and possible long-term consequences.
Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, and what agreements you make, you may be able to discharge or repay most or all of your debt and still keep priority possessions, like your house or car. However, it is important to understand the requirements for bankruptcy, your rights, creditors’ rights, and available options.
Individuals considering filing for bankruptcy should review their options in detail with a qualified attorney familiar with New Mexico bankruptcy law. An attorney can help you determine which options are available to you and the best course to take in light of your specific goals.
What are the Different Types of Bankruptcy?
There are three main types of bankruptcy available to the average person:
- Chapter 7: Available to individuals and businesses who meet income requirements, Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges debt while often allowing the debtor to keep some priority assets, although it cannot prevent home foreclosures.
- Chapter 11: Available to corporations, partnerships, and LLCs, Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows businesses to discharge some debt and reorganize the remainder while also reorganizing and liquidating some of their assets.
- Chapter 13: Available to individuals, Chapter 13 bankruptcy restructures debt and forms a plan to repay the debt over 3 – 5 years, and it can delay or prevent home foreclosure.
How does filing for bankruptcy work?
Under U.S. law, you must first obtain credit counseling services before being eligible to file for bankruptcy. You can then file a petition for the appropriate type of bankruptcy at a New Mexico district bankruptcy court to initiate proceedings.
All bankruptcy cases are handled under federal law and overseen by a branch of the U.S. Bankruptcy court. Each petitioner will be assigned a case trustee to oversee the execution of the agreement, ensure creditors are repaid to the extent possible, and look out for incorrect declarations or signs of fraud.
A §341 meeting of creditors is arranged. The debtor is required to attend, but creditors are not — and many may choose not to. This meeting allows creditors to review the bankruptcy agreement. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, creditors may object to the repayment plan components or the exact details of known assets and debts.
Individuals who successfully file for bankruptcy are given an automatic stay. This is a court order that prevents creditors from contacting you, seizing property, or enacting a foreclosure. In Chapter 7 filings, this automatic stay applies indefinitely to debts declared within the filing. For Chapter 13, the stay only applies during the duration of the repayment period, which is 3 – 5 years.
Should I file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
The most significant factors of whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 come down to two questions:
- Do I meet the income requirements under the 2005 Bankruptcy Act to file for Chapter 7?
- Do I have a primary residence I am concerned about losing because of foreclosure?
Individuals must meet a means test to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy eligibility. The means test will examine income from the six months preceding the filing and then see if it falls below the New Mexico median income. Some individuals may be exempt from the means test if they meet the criteria. For example, individuals whose primary source of debt are non-consumer related may be exempt, certain disabled veterans.
If income exceeds the median, individuals may discharge some of their debt via a Chapter 7 filing and the remainder through a Chapter 13 agreement.
The second significant factor to consider is that Chapter 7 may not prevent foreclosure upon your home in certain situations. There are exemptions available to prevent the seizure or liquidation of property in New Mexico. Still, if you have failed to make timely mortgage payments or have a significant amount of equity (paid debt) in the home, it could be eligible for recovery by creditors. In many situations, it is possible to avoid losing your home with Chapter 7, but you can keep your property under Chapter 13 proceedings as long as you make timely payments.
Unlike other states, New Mexico law permits the debtor to choose either state or federal exemptions. One option may benefit the debtor more than the other. The debtor has this option with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.
There are other considerations to weigh when deciding what type of bankruptcy to file, such as the size of the debt and creditors’ flexibility, but the above two are primary concerns.
Get Started by Learning More About Bankruptcy and Your Options
Filing for bankruptcy isn’t the right decision for everyone. But for individuals who are worried about debt, who want to protect specific property, or who see no other way forward, it can be the best option to bring relief.
Make an effort to educate yourself on bankruptcy and take reasonable steps to reduce debt before beginning the filing process. You can receive answers to your questions and specific advice on your best options during a discussion with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in New Mexico near you.
New Mexico Financial & Family Law is experienced with these matters, and we have helped out hundreds of individuals like yourself in Albuquerque and throughout the state. Get the guidance you need to make critical financial decisions regarding bankruptcy at a no-risk consultation at our offices, over the phone, or online. Call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.
We are a debt relief agency and have practiced bankruptcy law for a combined 50 years. Our services include helping individuals and couples file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.