Law Offices of Robert M. Kaplan, P.C.
Schaumburg Family Law Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Bankruptcy Law

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When choosing a family law attorney, you probably have a number of questions. Some of our most common questions are found here. If you do no see yours listed, please contact our office directly. We are happy to help!

Bankruptcy Law

Public utilities, such as the electric company, cannot refuse or cut off service because you have filed for bankruptcy. However, the utility can require a deposit for future service and you do have to pay bills which arise after your bankruptcy is filed.

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Are you having issues navigating the bankruptcy process? Call our Schaumburg IL law firm to schedule a consultation today.



If you lost your license solely because you couldn’t pay court-ordered damages caused in an accident, bankruptcy will allow you to get your license back.

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Do you want to learn more about the bankruptcy process? Please call our Hoffman Estates law firm to schedule a consultation. 

No. 11 U.S.C. sec. 525 prohibits governmental units and private employers from discriminating against you because you filed a bankruptcy petition or because you failed to pay a dischargeable debt.

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Are you having a tough time navigating the bankruptcy process in Cook County? Please call Robert Kaplan to schedule a consultation. 

You cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if you received a discharge under a Chapter 7 case filed in the last eight years or a Chapter 13 filed in the last six years. You cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if you received a discharge under a Chapter 7 case filed in the last four years or a Chapter 13 filed in the last two years. If you didn’t receive a discharge in the previous bankruptcy filing, depending on why this is the case, you can file and receive a discharge without any time restrictions.

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Want to learn more about bankruptcy in Cook County? Please contact our Schaumburg IL law firm to schedule a consultation. 

Alimony, maintenance, and/or support are protected from discharge. Divorce decrees and separation agreements are covered by 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(15). This section states that these debts are not dischargeable unless:

  1. The debtor does not have the ability to pay such debt from income or property of the debtor not reasonably necessary to be expended for the maintenance or support of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor and, if the debtor is engaged in a business, for the payment of expenditures necessary for the continuation, preservation, and operation of such business; or
  2. Discharging such debt would result in a benefit to the debtor that outweighs the detrimental consequences to a spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor.

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Yes, but your spouse will still be liable for any joint debts. If you file together you will be able to double your exemptions. In some cases where only one spouse has debts, or one spouse has debts that are not dischargeable then it might be advisable to have only one spouse file. If the spouses have joint debts, the fact that one spouse discharged the debt may show on the other spouse's credit report.

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Are you having a tough time navigating the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process? Attorney Robert Kaplan can help you and your spouse clarify any issues you have with the bankruptcy process. Please contact our Schaumburg IL law firm for a consultation. 



Student Loans

Generally, student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. In 11 U.S.C. sec. 523(a)(8) there are two exceptions to this general rule:

  1. The student loan may be discharged if it is neither – Insured or guaranteed by a governmental unit, nor made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit or nonprofit institution.
  2. The student loan may be discharged if paying the loan will “impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents.”

Student Loans and Bankruptcy in Schaumburg 

Whether an exception applies depends on the facts of the particular case and may also depend on local court decisions. Even if a student loan falls into one of the two exceptions, discharge of the loan may not be automatic. You may have to file an adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy court to obtain a court order declaring the debt discharged.

What Happens to Loan Co-Signers When Bankruptcy is Filed?​

If someone has co-signed a loan with you and you file for bankruptcy, the co-signer may have to pay your debt.




Bankruptcy is a legal process by which an individual who cannot pay his or her bills can get a fresh financial start. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you (the “automatic stay”), at least until your debts are sorted out according to the law or they get relief from the automatic stay to protect their interest in any secured property.

How can I get a copy of a bankruptcy filing?

The Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court provides public access to bankruptcy court documents through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), an electronic public access service.  

What Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?

It now costs $306 to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and $281 to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, whether for one person or a married couple. The court may allow you to pay this filing fee in installments if you cannot pay all at once. If you hire an attorney you will also have to pay the attorney’s fees you agree to.

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Do you have more questions about bankruptcy in Cook County? Please contact our Schaumburg IL law firm for more information and to schedule a consultation.

In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, you file a petition asking the court to discharge your debts. The idea is to wipe out (discharge) your debts in exchange for your giving up property, except for “exempt” property which the law allows you to keep. In most, but not all cases, your property will be exempt. But property which is not exempt is sold, with the money distributed to creditors. If you want to keep property like a home or a car and are behind on the payments on a mortgage or car loan, a Chapter 7 case probably will not be the right choice for you. That is because Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not eliminate the right of mortgage holders or car loan creditors to take your property to cover your debt.

What Happens in an Illinois Chapter 13?

In a Chapter 13 case, you file a “plan” showing how you will pay off a percentage of your past-due and current debts over three to five years. The most important thing about a Chapter 13 case is that it will allow you to keep valuable property–especially your home and car–which might otherwise be lost in a Chapter 7, if you can make the payments which the bankruptcy law requires to be made to your creditors. In most cases, these payments will be at least as much as your regular monthly payments on your mortgage or car loan, with an additional payment to pay the arrearage you have not paid.

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Do you have more questions on Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Please contact our Schaumburg IL law firm to schedule a consultation today.

You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits within 180 days after your bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt. 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In a Chapter 7 case, you can keep all property which is “exempt” from the claims of creditors. When determining what property is exempt you must keep in mind that the value of the property is not the amount you paid for it, but what you could sell it for now. In addition, you do not need to cover the full value of the property, but only your actual equity in any property. For example, if you own a $200,000 house with a $170,000 mortgage, you count your exemptions against the $30,000 which is your equity if you sell it. While your exemptions allow you to keep property even in a Chapter 7 case, your exemptions do not relieve you of the obligation to make current mortgage or car payments-otherwise the mortgage holder or car loan creditor has the right to take the property to cover the debt if you are behind on payments.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

In a Chapter 13 case, you can keep all of your property if your plan meets the requirements of the bankruptcy law. In most cases, you will have to pay the mortgages or liens as you would if you didn’t file bankruptcy.

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Robert Kaplan is an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Schaumburg, IL and will guide you through the process. 

In most cases, you will not lose your home or car during your bankruptcy case as long as your equity in the property is fully exempt. If your property is not fully exempt, you will be able to keep it if you pay its non-exempt value to creditors in Chapter 13, or negotiate a settlement with the Bankruptcy Trustee in Chapter 7.

Security Interests

Some of your creditors may have a “security interest” in your home, automobile or other personal property. Bankruptcy does not make these security interests go away. If you don’t make your payments on that debt, the creditor may be able to take and sell the home or the property, during or after the bankruptcy case. There are several ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property after you file bankruptcy. You can agree to keep making your payments on the debt until it is paid in full, or you can pay the creditor the amount that the property you want to keep is worth. In some cases involving fraud or other improper conduct by the creditor, you may be able to challenge the debt. 

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Contact experienced bankruptcy attorney, Robert Kaplan, if you have any questions about the bankruptcy process in Illinois. 

You must wait until you have lived in a state for 91 days before you can file your bankruptcy case there. If you lived in your current state for more than 91 days but less than two years, you will file in your current state but use the exemptions from where you lived for the majority of the 180 day period immediately previous to the 2 year period before you filed.  

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If you need help navigating the bankruptcy process in Illinois, please contact our Schaumburg IL law firm to schedule a consultation.

This is a great question, to which there is no clear answer. If you are behind on your bills, your credit may already be bad and declaring bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse. The fact that you’ve filed a bankruptcy can appear on your credit record for ten years. However, since bankruptcy wipes out your old debts, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and you may be able to get new credit after showing an ability to pay your debts on time.

Can I Get a Credit Card After Bankruptcy?

Yes, there is no legal restriction on this, but in all likelihood, most credit card companies will be hesitant to give you a credit card after filing for bankruptcy. Alternatively, you could use a bank or debit card to perform activities for which you normally would use a credit card. You also may be able to keep the credit card you already have if the creditor grants approval. If these options do not work, you can get secured credit card which is backed by your own bank account.

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Are you looking for an experienced attorney that can help guide you through the complicated bankruptcy process? Please contact our Schaumburg IL law firm to schedule a consultation. 


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