Low Fees         Payment Plans         Evening and Weekend Appointments       Hardship Cases Accepted


Chapter 7

Chapter 13

Bankruptcy Terms

Famous Bankruptcies Individual

Famous Bankruptcies Corporation

Creditor's Rights




Click to e-mail any question

Hardship and Difficult Cases Accepted
Low Fees - Payment Plans - Evening & Weekend Appointments
Free Telephone Consultation 410-484-4900 24/7

Excellence In Legal Service - Serving The Entire State Of Maryland

We have earned the trust of thousands of satisfied clients and have gained experience gained in thousands of successful Bankruptcy cases since 1973.   We will properly prepare all required documents for you, promptly file them with the court, appear in court with you at your hearing and keep you fully informed throughtout your case.   There is no substitute for trust and experience.

Client Comments

" Your representation was outstanding in recovering thousands of dollars I paid out in a debt consolidation scam, properly representing me in a bankruptcy and getting all my debts eliminated at a low fee and less than one half of what I paid to them. What was most important to me was your integrity and clear answers to my questions." ~~D.G.

" Thanks for taking over my chapter 13 case which enabled me to save my house. " ~~ W.S.

" Many thanks for a job well done in getting my tax debts and other claims eliminated and being available to answer all of my questions throughout my case." ~~B.W.

" I appreciate your meeting with me on the weekends so I did not have to lose time from work."~~N.T.

Representing Debtors To Totally Eliminate Debts, Or To Reorganize Debts In Order To Protect Property And To Obtain A Fresh Financial Start

Prompt, experienced and effective representation for all financial issues including, foreclosure, repossession, wage attachments, student loans, federal and state tax matters. In addition to bankruptcy, we provide effective representation for tax problems with the IRS, tax audits, tax liens, tax wage attachments, IRS offers in compromise, IRS installment plan arrangements, and IRS audits.

Our debt relief agency will fully prepare all bankruptcy documents, both before and after your case is filed, go to court with you, and defend you against contested matters from the trustee, your creditors and their attorneys.

We work with you with a workable payment plan and a low fee we invite you to compare. Call, you will see for yourself.

Each case is different and presents different opportunities and challenges.


If you have been a victim of a credit counseling program, debt management or home rescue scam, we can help to get your money back, damages or both.   We have recovered thousands of dollars for payments made to programs that have misrepresented their status.   If you are in a debt management program, you may wish to determine:
1. Exactly what portion your payments is being applied to principal.
2. Exactly what portion your payments is being applied to interest and fees.
3. Exactly what portion your payments, if any, is being paid to the program for their benefit.
4. If the program accepts funds from the very credtiors they are collecting for, a conflict of interest exists.
5. If the program has represented they are non-profit, if any portion of your payments being paid to them for any reason, a conflict of interest exists. If you have questions call David McVey 410-484-4900.

If you paid money to an unlicensed bankruptcy preparer that did not prepare your documents properly, or gave you any legal advice and you were damaged, we may be able to assist you getting your money back and damages.

Free Telephone Consultation 410-484-4900

"There is No Substitute For Experience."

David McVey
Bankruptcy Attorney
upper marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer
Attorney Credentials:
Former Assistant State's Attorney
Admitted To Practice Before:
The U.S. Supreme Court
All Maryland Courts
Federal District Court
Maryland State Bar Association
Baltimore City Bar Association
Baltimore County Bar Association
University of Baltimore
A.A. B.S. J.D.
Honorable Discharge U.S. Army

1. Will I be allowed to file bankruptcy if my income is high?

Bankruptcy now includes a "means test" which is intended to provide a more objective approach to the issue of a debtor's ability to pay. Prior to the 2005 amendments, the trustee could ask the judge to dismiss a case because the debtor's income was so high that to permit the debtor to discharge his debts in Chapter 7 was a "substantial abuse" of the bankruptcy system. Now, the means tests purports to provide uniformity to the process and lowers the standard to simple "abuse". S 707(b)(2).

The United States Trustee or the Chapter 7 trustee can seek to have a debtor's case dismissed for "abuse" if the debtor's income, including that of a non-filing spouse, is sufficient to repay a significant portion of the scheduled debts. 11 U.S.C. 707(b). The real expectation is that debtors who are challenged in this way will convert their case to Chapter 13.

2. Can I go to jail if I file bankruptcy or don't pay my debts?

No. There are no debtor's prisons in the United States.

3. Can a Judge ever turn down a bankruptcy petition?

Yes - A judge may decide that you have enough income or assets to reorganize (Chapter 13) rather than eliminate your debts (Chapter 7). S/he may dismiss your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. (11 U.S.C. § 707(b). Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

4. What are common reasons for filing bankruptcy?

Often a debtor (the person or married couple who is filing for bankruptcy) has: seriously overextended credit; become unemployed; experienced a reduction in income; suffered business reverses; significant medical expenses; marital problems such as divorce or separation, or very often is simply a victim of poor financial planning and credit card interest rates, late charges and over-limit penalties.

5. What exactly is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to help consumers and businesses eliminate their debts or repay them under the protection of the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcies can generally be described as "liquidation" or "reorganization." Under a liquidation bankruptcy (Chapter 7), you ask the bankruptcy court to wipe out (discharge) the debts you owe. Under a reorganization bankruptcy (typically Chapter 13, for consumers), you file a plan with the bankruptcy court proposing how you will repay your creditors. You must repay some debts in full; others may be repaid only partially or not at all, depending on what you can afford Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

6. How soon can you stop calls from my creditors?

Once the petition for bankruptcy file with court, whether under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, an automatic stay is entered in your case. The automatic stay prevents bill collectors from taking any action or attempting to collect the debt. As soon as the creditor becomes aware of the fact that you have filed for bankruptcy, all collection efforts must cease.

7. What are the Debtor's Duties?

The Debtor may not submit any documents to the Bankruptcy Court until the Debtor is certain that the information is (1) well grounded in fact; and (2) warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the modification of the existing law. Rule 9011 In other words, someone who is representing himself or herself in a bankruptcy is held to know both the bankruptcy and state laws that apply to their situation. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The Debtor's attorney must make the same avow regarding the information provided by the Debtor. Sanctions can be awarded under §707(b)(4).

8. Will I lose any property, assets or belongings?

Many clients assume that they will lose all of their property or assets in a bankruptcy. Many are under the improper assumption that the bankruptcy Trustee, the individual in charge of managing their bankruptcy case and making sure their creditors receive any funds that would be non-exempt, will come out to their house and take everything leaving them in an even worse position. Please be advised that your assets are divided into two types, exempt assets and non-exempt assets. Exempt assets are the necessities of life, the things that you use or need to survive (Clothing ....etc). Non-exempt assets are luxury items, things that could be sold to provide your creditors with some funds even though you filed a bankruptcy.

9. What courses should I take before and after filing a bankruptcy?

Every consumer who files Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is required take a credit counseling "briefing" within 180 days PRIOR to filing their bankruptcy and file a certificate of compliance. There is a provision for emergency situations, but they still must prove that they tried to obtain the class within the last 5 days of filing, but they must take the class and file a certificate of compliance within 30 days after filing their bankruptcy Petition. There is also a budget class that must be taken within 45 day s after filing your bankruptcy. Failure to do so will result in additional fees and costs in order to get your discharge in your bankruptcy. There will be fees charged for those classes, unless you cannot afford to pay such fees. Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

10. How does bankruptcy affect my credit?

There is no clear answer to this question. Each person's situation is unique and each lender has their own criteria for making a loan. Declaring bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean that the door to future credit will be forever closed to you. Although the history of a bankruptcy stays in your credit reporting agency files for ten years, it is possible for you to rebuild your credit in just a few years.

11. How does bankruptcy affect private student loans?

Bankruptcy does not exclude you from receiving financial aid for your college education.

12- What is the Mean's test?

The "Mean's Test" is a formula that determines whether the person filing for bankruptcy protection has enough income to pay the expenses that are allowed, plus extra money to pay to non-priority, unsecured creditors such as credit cards. The Debtor must calculate their "current monthly income", including all income from spouses, rents (minus expenses), bonuses, plus probably includes "help" Debtor has been receiving regularly from family or friends. Allowed living expenses and payment of secured and priority debts are then subtracted from the total income for a net income or monthly disposable income that could be used to pay unsecured non-priority debts. The chapter 7 can be challenged if the net income, multiplied by 60, is greater than (1) either 25% of the nonpriority unsecured claims or $6,000, or (2) greater than $10,000. They may insist that the Debtor convert the case to a chapter 13 or lose the bankruptcy protection completely. §707(b). Basically, if the debtor can pay $100 per month to their unsecured creditors, then they may face a challenge to their chapter 7. Only time will tell what the law really means. Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

13. Can you stop wage garnishment?

A bankruptcy will stop your creditors taking of your pay checks. Once your case is filed, creditors are no longer entitled to garnish your wages for debts that existed at the beginning of the case.

14. What is the Automatic Stay?

The filing of the petition creates an automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. §362 prohibiting all collection actions. 11 U.S.C. §§ 301, 302, 101(42) - unless the Debtor has filed a prior bankruptcy in the last 12 months. The automatic stay is good for only 30 days if that Debtor has filed one prior case in last 12 months. §362(c)(3)(A). If the Debtor wants to extend the automatic stay they must file a motion to extend the Stay immediately after filing the bankruptcy. There is no automatic stay if the Debtor has filed 2 or more cases in last 12 months. §362(c)(4)(A)(i) A dismissed case is a filed case. There is no excuse for a Debtor's failure to understand these limitations.

15. Can you stop auto repossession?

If you are facing the treat of repossession, we may be able to help you. An emergency bankruptcy filing can stop a creditor from repossessing your vehicle. During a Chapter 7 bankruptcy all unsecured debts are discharged. Debts that are secured by collateral (e.g. car loans) must be paid or the collateral must be returned to the lender. Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

16. How often can you file for bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed every 8 years from a previous chapter 7 filing or 6 years from a prior chapter 13 filing. Chapter 13 can be filed 4 years from a prior Chapter 7 filing or 2 years from a prior Chapter 13 filing.

17. Will I have to go to court?

The debtor must attend the creditors' meeting scheduled for their bankruptcy petition. The trustee conducts the meeting. The debtor must answer questions concerning:

How the situation evolved - Any actions taken with the property

Debts listed in the petition or any other financial information requested by the trustee - Failure to respond or not respond truthfully can result in the petition being dismissed or, in extreme cases, a charge of perjury. Creditors have been notified that they may attend and question the debtor about the assets of the debtor or any other matter relevant to the bankruptcy. A creditor doesn't waive any rights by not attending the creditors meeting.

18. Can I file for Bankruptcy protection if I own a business?

Yes, but it depends on how the business is owned, the value of your business, and other factors including what you intend to do with the business. The business itself may require bankruptcy protection; if you are a sole proprietor, or have guaranteed your business' debts, you may require bankruptcy protection for yourself, as well. Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

19. What kinds of debt can bankruptcy eliminate?

Filing under Chapter 7 may allow many types of debts to be wiped out completely:

¦credit card debt

¦electric, gas, water, and other utility bills

¦medical, dental, and vision bills

¦personal and unsecured bank loans

¦automobile loan obligations remaining on a repossessed vehicle

¦mortgage loan obligations remaining on a foreclosed home

20. How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy laws were reformed in 2005 making the time limit between chapter 7 filings 8 years from the time of discharge and the time for filing a chapter 13 after a chapter 7 discharge 4 years.

21. What types of debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy?

Generally speaking, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy; nor are taxes, child support and alimony, marital debts, intentional torts, recent credit purchases and cash advances, and any debts incurred through a fraudulent act. Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

22. What documents do I need to file Bankruptcy?

Required Supporting Documents ( If You Have It)

1. A certificate of Approved Credit Counseling prior to filing;

2. Evidence of income for the prior 6 months so that your income can be averaged including the last 60 days of pay stubs together this is a total of the prior 7 months. Also this is household income not just your income even if your spouse is not filing;

3. At least 6 prior months of bank statements, loan dates for secured debts; 4. A detailed list of personal property;

5. Past utility or medical bills;

6. Statement of monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing;

7. Court Orders if you have child support or Alimony obligations including the address of the person you pay. Proof that you are up to date on your domestic support obligations alimony child support;

8. Copies of your Deeds and Mortgages showing time stamped date of when it was recorded

9. Bank statements for accounts which you have an interest or signature authority on the date you file.

10. Titles to all vehicles, jet skis, trailers or boats titled in your name (again tell your attorney if you are on someone else’s car);

11. Proof of full coverage insurance if you have a loan on your car;

12. Photo Id and Social Security Card;

13. The last four years of tax returns, not your copy, the transcript from the IRS which takes time and money to get; plus tax returns filed during the case. If you have not filed returns you cannot file. Often we will get these for you if you don’t have them but you must sign papers allowing us to get them for you. By no means is this a conclusive list of required documents but this will certainly get the ball rolling in your bankruptcy case. Call Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.


Bankruptcy has its own language. Here is a brief definition of those terms used in this site and in the Bankruptcy Code.

Adequate protection: Payment to a secured creditor to protect the value of the creditor's lien during the bankruptcy proceeding from loss due to depreciation or non payment of a senior lien.

Adversary proceeding: A lawsuit filed in the bankruptcy court which is related to the debtor's bankruptcy case. Examples are complaints to determine the dischargeability of a debt and complaints to determine the extent and validity of liens.

Assets Assets are every form of property that the debtor owns. They include such intangible things as business goodwill; the right to sue someone; or stock options. The debtor must disclose all of his assets in the bankruptcy schedules; exemptions remove the exempt assets from property of the estate.

Automatic stay: The injunction issued automatically upon the filing of a bankruptcy case which prohibits collection actions against the debtor, the debtor's property or the property of the estate. See Relief from Stay on terminating the injunction.

Avoidance: The Bankruptcy Code permits the debtor to eliminate (avoid) some kinds of liens that interfere with (or impair) an exemption claimed in the bankruptcy. Most judgment liens that have attached to the debtor's home can be avoided if the total of the liens (mortgages, judgment liens and statutory liens) is greater than the value of the property in which the exemption is claimed. This is sometimes called "lien stripping." For more, see Lien Avoidance and Lien Stripping.

Avoidance powers: Rights given to the bankruptcy trustee (or the debtor in possession in a Chapter 11) to recover certain transfers of property such as preferences or fraudulent transfers or to void liens created before the commencement of a bankruptcy case. More on preferences.

Bankruptcy Code. Title 11 of the United States Code governs bankruptcy proceedings. Bankruptcy is a matter of federal law and is, with the exception of exemptions, the same in every state. When federal bankruptcy law conflicts with state law, federal law controls. Bankruptcy Code incorporating changes effective 10/17/05.

Indemnify: to guarantee against any loss which another might suffer. In bankruptcy, it is used to describe the undertaking of one spouse in a divorce to assume certain debts of the marriage and to see that the other spouse is not forced to pay. Also called a "hold hamrless" clause.

Lien: An interest in real or personal property which secures a debt; the lien may be voluntary, such as a mortgage in real property, or involuntary, such as a judgment lien or tax lien.

Liquidated: A debt that is for a known number of dollars is liquidated. An unliquidated debt is one where the debtor has liability, but the exact monetary measure of that liability is unknown. Tort claims are usually unliquidated until a trial fixes the amount of the liability of the tort feasor.

Means Test: Added to the Code in 2005, the means test is intented to screen out those filing Chapter 7 who are supposedly able to repay some part of their debts. The test is found in Official Form B22a. Debtors who fail the means test may convert their case to another chapter of bankruptcy. More about how the means test works. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Bankruptcy estate: The estate is all of the legal and equitable interests of the debtor as of the commencement of the case. From the estate, an individual debtor can claim certain property exempt; the balance of the estate is liquidated in a Chapter 7 to pay the administrative costs of the proceeding and the claims of creditors according to their priority. More on the estate

Chapter 7: The most common form of bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 case is a liquidation proceeding, available to individuals, married couples, partnerships and corporations. More in Bankruptcy Basics.

Chapter 11: A reorganization proceeding in which the debtor may continue in business or in possession of its property as a fiduciary. A confirmed Chapter 11 plan provides for the manner in which the claims of creditors will be paid in whole or in part by the debtor.

Chapter 12: A simplified reorganization plan for family farmers whose debts fall within certain limits.

Confirmed: A plan of reorganization in Chapter 11, 12 or 13 approved by the court and binding on the parties is said to be confirmed. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Chapter 13: A repayment plan for individuals with debts falling below statutory levels which provides for repayment of some or all of the debts out of future income over 3 to 5 years. More in The Power of 13.

Charged Off: This is an accounting term that means the creditor does not expect to collect on the debt. It relates to the creditor's taxes. It starts time periods under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It does not mean that the debt is no longer legally enforceable.

Fiduciary: one who is entrusted with duties on behalf of another. The law requires the highest level of good faith, loyalty and diligence of a fiduciary, higher than the common duty of care that we all owe one another. The debtor in possession in a Chapter 11 is a fiduciary for the creditors, owing loyalty to the creditors and not the shareholders of the debtor.

General, unsecured claim: Creditor's claim without a priority for payment for which the creditor holds no security (or collateral). If the available funds in the estate extend to payment of unsecured claims, the claims are paid in proportion to the size of the claim relative to the total of claims in the class of unsecured claims.

Meeting of creditors The debtor must appear at a meeting with the trustee to be examined under oath about assets and liabilities. Creditors are invited but seldom attend. The meeting is sometimes called the 341 meeting, after the section of the Bankruptcy Code that requires it. More about "going to court".

Non dischargeable: A debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy. Non dischargeable debts remain legally enforceable despite the bankruptcy discharge. The Code's list of non dischargeable debts is found at 11 U.S.C. 523. The scope of the discharge in Chapter 13 differs from the discharge in Chapter 7. Discharges compared.

Perfection: When a secured creditor has taken the required steps to perfect his lien, the lien is senior to any liens that arise after perfection. A mortgage is perfected by recording it with the county recorder; a lien in personal property is perfected by filing a financing statement with the secretary of state. An unperfected lien is valid between the debtor and the secured creditor, but may be behind liens created later in time, but perfected earlier than the lien in question. An unperfected lien can be avoided by the trustee. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Collateral: The property which is subject to a lien. A creditor with rights in collateral is a secured creditor and has additional protections in the Bankruptcy Code for the claim secured by collateral. The measure of the secured claim is the value of the collateral available to secure the claim: it is possible to have a lien on property that is subject to a senior lien or liens such that the security available to pay the claim is really without value to the junior creditor. The general rule with respect to liens is "First in time, first in right." More on Secured Debts.

Confirmation: The court order which makes the terms of the plan for repayment of debts in a Chapter 11, 12 or 13 binding. The terms of the confirmed plan replace the prepetition rights of the debtor and creditor.

Consumer Debt Debts incurred by an individual for personal, family or household purposes. Taxes are not consumer debts; neither are business loans. The means test only applies to those with primarily consumer debt.

Contingent: Used to describe debts that are not fixed in right at the time, but are dependent on some other event happening to fix the liability. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Denial of discharge: Penalty for debtor misconduct with respect to the bankruptcy case or creditors as a whole. The grounds on which the debtor's discharge may be denied are found in 11 U.S.C. 727. When the debtor's discharge is denied, the debts that could have been discharged in that case cannot be discharged in any subsequent bankruptcy. The administration of the case, the liquidation of assets and the recovery of avoidable transfers, continues for the benefit of creditors. More on denial of discharge.

Discharge: The legal elimination of debt through a bankruptcy case. When a debt is discharged, it is no longer legally enforceable against the debtor, though any lien which secures the debt may survive the bankruptcy case.

Dischargeable: Debts that can be eliminated in bankruptcy. Certain debts are not dischargeable; that it, they may not be discharged through bankruptcy or may only be discharged through Chapter 13. Family support and criminal restitution are examples of debts which cannot be discharged. Debts incurred by fraud can only be discharged in Chapter 13. More on which debts can be discharged. Considerations in contesting discharge of a debt.

Dismissal: The termination of the case without either the entry of a discharge or a denial of discharge; after a case is dismissed, the debtor and the creditors have the same rights as they had before the bankruptcy case was commenced. Dismissal is the penalty for many essentially minor infractions of bankruptcy procedures under the 2005 amendments.

Domestic Support Obligation: Debts for alimony, maintenance or support owed to child, spouse or governmental entity that paid for the support of the child or spouse. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Conversion: Cases under the Code may be converted from one chapter to another chapter; for example, a Chapter 7 case may be converted to a case under Chapter 13 if the debtor is eligible for Chapter 13. Even though the chapter of the Code which governs it changes, it remains the same case as originally filed.

Creditor: The person or organization to whom the debtor owes money or has some other form of legal obligation.

Debtor: The debtor is the entity ( person, partnership or corporation) who is liable for debts, and who is the subject of a bankruptcy case.

Debtor in Possession: In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor usually remains in possession of its assets and assumes the duties of a trustee. The debtor in possession is a fiduciary for the creditors of the estate, and owes them the highest duty of care and loyalty.

Exempt: Property that is exempt is removed from the bankruptcy estate and is not available to pay the claims of creditors. The debtor selects the property to be exempted from the statutory lists of exemptions available under the law of his state. The debtor gets to keep exempt property for use in making a fresh start after bankruptcy. More on Exemptions.

Exemptions: Exemptions are the lists of the kinds and values of property that is legally beyond the reach of creditors or the bankruptcy trustee. The debtor in bankruptcy keeps the exempt property. What property may be exempted is determined by state and federal statutes, and varies from state to state. More on exemptions. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Personal property: Assets, such as cars, stock, furniture, etc., that is not real estate or affixed to real property,

Petition: The document that initiates a bankruptcy case. The filing of the petition constitutes an order for relief and institutes the automatic stay. Events are frequently described as "prepetition", happening before the bankruptcy petition was filed, and "post petition", after the bankruptcy was initiated.

Preference: A transfer to a creditor in payment of an existing debt made within certain time periods before the commencement of the case. Preferences may be recovered by the trustee for the benefit of all creditors of the estate. More on preferences.

Pre-petition: Claims or events arising before the commencement of the bankruptcy case, that is, before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Generally only pre petition debts may be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Priority: The Bankruptcy Code establishes the order in which claims are paid from the bankruptcy estate. All claims in a higher priority must be paid in full before claims with a lower priority receive anything. All claims with the same priority share pro rata. Claims are paid in this order: 1) costs of administration 2) priority claims and 3) general unsecured claims. Secured claims are paid from the proceeds of liquidating the collateral which secured the claim. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Priority claims: Certain debts, such as unpaid wages, spousal or child support, and taxes are elevated in the payment hierarchy under the Code. Priority claims must be paid in full before general unsecured claims are paid. Priorities listed. Discussion of priority taxes.

Proof of claim: The form filed with the court establishing the creditor's claim against the debtor.

Property of the estate: The property that is not exempt and belongs to the bankruptcy estate. Property of the estate is usually sold by the trustee and the claims of creditors paid from the proceeds. More on property of the estate.

Reaffirm: The debtor can chose to waive the discharge as to a debt that is reaffirmed. Generally, the parties to the reaffirmed debt have the same rights and liabilities that each had prior to the bankruptcy filing: the debtor is obligated to pay and the creditor can sue or repossess if the debtor doesn't pay. More on reaffirmation and the alternatives. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Relief from stay: A creditor can ask the judge to lift the automatic stay and permit some action against the debtor or the property of the estate. If the motion is granted, the moving party (but no one else) is free to take whatever action the court permits. Relief can be absolute, for example, permitting the creditor to foreclose on property, or limited, as for example, allowing the recordation of a notice of default. More on relief from stay.

Schedules: The debtor must file the required lists of assets and liabilities to commence a bankruptcy case, collectively called the schedules.

Secured debt: A claim secured by a lien in the debtor's property by reason of the debtor's agreement or an involuntary lien such as a judgment or tax lien. The creditor's claim may be divided into a secured claim, to the extent of the value of the collateral, and an unsecured claim equal to the remainder of the total debt. Generally a secured claim must be perfected under applicable state law to be treated as a secured claim in the bankruptcy. More at Is This Debt Secured?

Trustee: the court appoints a trustee in every Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 case to review the debtor's schedules and represent the interests of the creditors in the bankruptcy case. The role of the trustee is different under the different chapters. More on trustees. Call Upper Marlboro Bankruptcy Lawyer David McVey 410-484-4900.

Unsecured: A claim or debt is unsecured if there is no collateral that is security for the debt. Most consumer debts are unsecured. See Is This Debt Secured?

Can the discharge be revoked?

The court may revoke a discharge under certain circumstances. For example, a trustee, creditor, or the U.S. trustee may request that the court revoke the debtor's discharge in a chapter 7 case based on allegations that the debtor: obtained the discharge fraudulently; failed to disclose the fact that he or she acquired or became entitled to acquire property that would constitute property of the bankruptcy estate; committed one of several acts of impropriety described in section 727(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code; or failed to explain any misstatements discovered in an audit of the case or fails to provide documents or information requested in an audit of the case. Typically, a request to revoke the debtor's discharge must be filed within one year of the discharge or, in some cases, before the date that the case is closed. The court will decide whether such allegations are true and, if so, whether to revoke the discharge.

In chapter 11, 12, and 13 cases, if confirmation of a plan or the discharge is obtained through fraud, the court can revoke the order of confirmation or discharge. If you have questions call David McVey 410-484-4900.