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Virginia Bankruptcy Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: in a debt relief program and they made me a response letter to send for a lawsuit. they will do no more what do next
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Mar 16, 2024

If you're in a debt relief program and have received a lawsuit notice, it's important to take this seriously. Sending the response letter provided by the program is a good first step, but it's often not enough to fully address the legal complexities of a lawsuit. If the program has... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, Contracts and Personal Injury for Virginia on
Q: Private mail about me was sent to my dad's house (same name) instead of mine, they had my correct address. Can I sue?

It was about a debt that has apparently been turned over to a debt collector. The loan company had my address, and I have never given them my parents address.

I have no idea why it was addressed and sent to him, other than he and I have in the same name. Since it was his name on it, He... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 24, 2024

Yes, you may have grounds to sue the debt collector for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Some key points:

- Debt collectors are prohibited from communicating information about a consumer's debt to third parties without the consumer's consent. This includes...
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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, would the return I receive from the American Opportunity Credit be protected?

I filed my Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2023 but the trustee said he would let me know how much or my taxes he will take to pay creditors once I completed my taxes. I have recently filed my 2023 taxes and I was wondering what part of my taxes is automatically protected? Will the amount I received from... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 4, 2024

The protection of your tax return, including the American Opportunity Credit, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on various factors and the specific laws in your jurisdiction. Typically, tax refunds, including credits like the American Opportunity Credit, may be considered part of your bankruptcy... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, would the return I receive from the American Opportunity Credit be protected?

I filed my Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2023 but the trustee said he would let me know how much or my taxes he will take to pay creditors once I completed my taxes. I have recently filed my 2023 taxes and I was wondering what part of my taxes is automatically protected? Will the amount I received from... View More

Seth E Allen
Seth E Allen
answered on Feb 26, 2024

Your tax return is something that should have been listed as an asset in your schedules and should also be protected in Schedule C. In Virginia, child tax credits and the Earned Income Tax credit are automatically protected if listed properly using the proper exemption. Any remaining portion of... View More

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5 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: If all my income is Social Security and pension, can I still file chapter 13 in Virginia?

I have too much equity in my home for chapter 7. And I don’t want to lose my home. I am making payments on the mortgage and I’m up-to-date and will be able to remain up-to-date. I own one car with no loan. If I have to file bankruptcy, what are my options?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Nov 27, 2023

Your otherwise judgment-proof periodic income should count to make you eligible for Ch. 13 relief.

A Ch. 13 plan needs to provide your creditors with the "indubitable equivalent" of the amount they'd get in a Ch. 7 proceeding, at a minimum. And at least in my PA district,...
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5 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: If all my income is Social Security and pension, can I still file chapter 13 in Virginia?

I have too much equity in my home for chapter 7. And I don’t want to lose my home. I am making payments on the mortgage and I’m up-to-date and will be able to remain up-to-date. I own one car with no loan. If I have to file bankruptcy, what are my options?

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Nov 27, 2023

Yes, social security income and a pension count as regular income for eligibility for chapter 13 relief. You should meet with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options. In Virginia, real estate held in a tenancy by the entireties is exempt or protected from a creditor of either... View More

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5 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: If all my income is Social Security and pension, can I still file chapter 13 in Virginia?

I have too much equity in my home for chapter 7. And I don’t want to lose my home. I am making payments on the mortgage and I’m up-to-date and will be able to remain up-to-date. I own one car with no loan. If I have to file bankruptcy, what are my options?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 27, 2023

Yes, you can still file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Virginia even if your income is solely from Social Security and a pension. Chapter 13 is designed to help individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Given your situation, this might be a suitable... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Consumer Law for Virginia on
Q: What would happen If I leave my job and collect social security and a small pension and stop paying all unsecured debt?

65 years old. Live in Virginia. Own home with mortgage and would keep current on payments. Own one car with no loan. No savings.

Would I be judgement proof?

My home equity is $300K. But isn’t a primary residence exempt from unsecured debt creditors?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 27, 2023

If you stop paying unsecured debts, creditors may take legal action against you, such as filing lawsuits to recover the owed amount. However, in Virginia, Social Security benefits and pensions are generally protected from garnishment by unsecured creditors, which means your income sources might be... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Consumer Law for Virginia on
Q: What would happen If I leave my job and collect social security and a small pension and stop paying all unsecured debt?

65 years old. Live in Virginia. Own home with mortgage and would keep current on payments. Own one car with no loan. No savings.

Would I be judgement proof?

My home equity is $300K. But isn’t a primary residence exempt from unsecured debt creditors?

Bernard S. Via III
Bernard S. Via III
answered on Nov 27, 2023

You should talk with a bankruptcy lawyer in the state you reside. Whether you can file a ch. 7 and hang on to your house is questionable. Most states do not allow you to retain a large amount of equity. VA. looks at tenancy by entirety ownership and whether your wife is a joint creditor with you.... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Consumer Law for Virginia on
Q: What would happen If I leave my job and collect social security and a small pension and stop paying all unsecured debt?

65 years old. Live in Virginia. Own home with mortgage and would keep current on payments. Own one car with no loan. No savings.

Would I be judgement proof?

My home equity is $300K. But isn’t a primary residence exempt from unsecured debt creditors?

Martha Warriner Jarrett
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answered on Nov 26, 2023

Your Social Security and pension are exempt and, depending on where you live, you are eligible to claim a homestead exemption under your state law. Same with your car. If your equity is less than your homestead exemption, you are probably judgment proof. However, that will not keep your creditors... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: What happens to an active garnishment once bankruptcy is filed?

I filed for bankruptcy some years ago and I also had garnishment. Once the bankruptcy is filed, does the garnishment stop? And am I still liable for payments even if the bankruptcy is approved?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 4, 2023

When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay immediately goes into effect. This stay halts most collection activities, including garnishments. The creditors are then prohibited from continuing with garnishment actions during the bankruptcy process. If your bankruptcy petition is approved and the... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: What happens to an active garnishment once bankruptcy is filed?

I filed for bankruptcy some years ago and I also had garnishment. Once the bankruptcy is filed, does the garnishment stop? And am I still liable for payments even if the bankruptcy is approved?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Nov 2, 2023

At the moment you file for bankruptcy relief, regardless of Chapter, an automatic stay against any action against you or your (the Estate's) property is estopped, and usually courts say "of no legal effect".

But the key to what happens thereafter hinges upon whether the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: Can I file bankruptcy in Colorado?

I spoke to an attorney from New Mexico and he suggested I file bankruptcy in Colorado where I live most of the time. He advised me that it may be possible to file bankruptcy in Colorado under the Homestead Laws for a lien filed from an inaccurate boundary survey judgment. I have questions and need... View More

Bernard S. Via III
Bernard S. Via III
answered on Aug 8, 2023

Your residency is more where you intend to reside as where you actually spend time. There is a legal footprint of your residency. Where you vote, where you keep most of your assets, what you give out as your address, driver's license, car registrations. I think you confuse the issue of where... View More

3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Immigration Law for Virginia on
Q: How will prior year taxes in repayment affect my spouse's naturalization interview outcome?

I am a U.S. citizen currently in a Ch 13 bankruptcy. My spouse is not included as a debtor. I am the primary listed on the joint returns. We have no unfiled returns. My spouse has a naturalization interview coming up, and we want to know how these taxes in repayment will affect the outcome of the... View More

Bernard S. Via III
Bernard S. Via III
answered on Apr 12, 2023

11USC525 a says "a governmental unit may not deny, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a license, permit, charter, franchise, or other similar grant to, condition such a grant to, discriminate with respect to such a grant against, deny employment to, terminate the employment of, or... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Immigration Law for Virginia on
Q: How will prior year taxes in repayment affect my spouse's naturalization interview outcome?

I am a U.S. citizen currently in a Ch 13 bankruptcy. My spouse is not included as a debtor. I am the primary listed on the joint returns. We have no unfiled returns. My spouse has a naturalization interview coming up, and we want to know how these taxes in repayment will affect the outcome of the... View More

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Apr 12, 2023

You should consult with an immigration attorney about this issue. A family or employment-based change of status petition includes a USCIS form I-864 Affidavit of Support from a sponsor or petitioner. The purpose of the form is to ensure the immigrant has adequate means of financial support and... View More

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4 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I have unsecured debt (CC) and a secured debt (auto) with same lender. May I reaffirm the secured, dismiss unsecured?

Auto has a few thousand dollars in equity which I think is exempt. I recall there being an issue with both types of loans with the same lender. If so, is it a state law specific to Virginia?

Bernard S. Via III
Bernard S. Via III
answered on Feb 15, 2023

I agree that cross collateralization muddies the issue. Yes you can reaffirm the secured debt but may find the value of the car makes some of the unsecured debt secured which may have reaffirm a small portion that now is secured by a value greater than the secured car loan to the value of the car.... View More

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4 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I have unsecured debt (CC) and a secured debt (auto) with same lender. May I reaffirm the secured, dismiss unsecured?

Auto has a few thousand dollars in equity which I think is exempt. I recall there being an issue with both types of loans with the same lender. If so, is it a state law specific to Virginia?

W. J. Winterstein Jr.
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W. J. Winterstein Jr.
answered on Feb 15, 2023

I practice in PA, and occasionally in DE and NJ, not VA (so not familiar with VA state law).

You do not say whether you are in a Ch. 7 or Ch. 13 bankruptcy proceeding. There are differences in what a debtor can do about secured debt, generally. Note that there is a specific provision,...
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4 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I have unsecured debt (CC) and a secured debt (auto) with same lender. May I reaffirm the secured, dismiss unsecured?

Auto has a few thousand dollars in equity which I think is exempt. I recall there being an issue with both types of loans with the same lender. If so, is it a state law specific to Virginia?

James H. Wilson Jr.
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James H. Wilson Jr.
answered on Feb 15, 2023

It depends on the type of lender. Credit unions have greater rights than banks. Most credit unions have a cross-collateralization clause in their loan agreements. That makes any debt owed the credit union secured by collateral given on any other debt, so the credit union may not release the... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I'm a 61yr. Old widow and have never filled bankruptcy. But I believe I'm going to have to. How much is it .

Can you make payments on this

Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
answered on Jan 4, 2023

You should consult a competent bankruptcy lawyer near you who can correctly analyze your financial situation and help you make the right decision. Costs roughly are probably $1500 to $2500, depending on the amount of work to be done.

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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Virginia on
Q: I'm a 61yr. Old widow and have never filled bankruptcy. But I believe I'm going to have to. How much is it .

Can you make payments on this

Robert R Weed
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Robert R Weed
answered on Jan 3, 2023

Most lawyers charge around $1500 for a simple case. There's filing fees and a required class so the totals my be around $1850.

Many lawyers will work with you on payments.

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