Are you in debt?  Have you fallen behind on debt payments and can’t catch up?  You are not alone.  Over a million consumers file for Bankruptcy each year to gain relief from their overwhelming debts.  The question is: Can Bankruptcy help you?

The United States Constitution permits Congress to enact uniform laws throughout the country regarding Bankruptcy. None of the States can modify or change these laws.  Over the past several years, Congress has passed numerous Bankruptcy laws, many of which are located in the United States Bankruptcy Code.

The Bankruptcy Code establishes six types of Bankruptcy.  The most common types of Bankruptcy are for individuals, known as “consumers”.  These Bankruptcies are located in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the Code.  More than half of all Bankruptcy filings fall within these Chapters.  In general, Chapter 7 provides a quick solution to eliminate certain debts (such as credit cards and medical bills), while Chapter 13 offers a longer solution where certain debts are paid back over time (such as debt on a vehicle, a mortgage, and taxes).

Bankruptcy has helped millions of Americans stop creditor harassment, avoid home foreclosure, resolve unpaid debts, and get back to living without the burden of debt hanging over their heads.  To learn more about filing for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, please contact the Law Office of Michael P. O’Donnell today.   My office has the experience and dedication to assist you and your family with either of these important debt relief solutions.  We care about our clients.  For a free consultation, please call (817) 732-7590.  You can also send us an E-mail or complete our Free Case Evaluation.  I look forward to assisting you with this important legal matter.  Stop letting debt ruin your life.


When you file for Chapter 7, you typically must surrender all non-exempt property, such as boats, extra vehicles, time shares, and other similar items.  Although most non-exempt property is subject to liquidation (being sold), there are limited exemptions that may protect this property.  My office can help determine if these exemptions apply to your situation.  Since most Texans possess minimal non-exempt property, this Bankruptcy option can provide the best debt relief.  For example, if you have credit card debt, unpaid medical bills, and/or private bank loans, Chapter 7 may be the best route to take for your financial future.  Chapter 7 will quickly eliminate your debts, leading to a new start.

If, on the other hand, you are behind on a mortgage payment or car note, Chapter 13 is typically the best solution for your financial crisis.  In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you can maintain ownership of your home, car and other personal property (even if the property is not exempt); however, you must devote some of your future income to paying back your creditors over a period of three to five years. Your current (or projected) income, expenses, and property values are all factored together to determine your monthly payment and the length of repayment. Secured creditors are usually entitled to a majority of the monthly payment, as well as government agencies, such as the IRS and the state attorney general child support division.

In 2005, Congress amended the federal Bankruptcy laws to prohibit fraudulent and repeat filing. The new laws were developed after nearly eight years of debate in Congress.  According to the new laws, Americans who have some ability to pay their debts can no longer file for Chapter 7 (regardless of the type of debt).  If you no longer qualify for Chapter 7, you must file for Chapter 13, in which you pay back a portion of your debts through a three to five year repayment plan.  It is also more difficult to file numerous Bankruptcy cases under either Chapter.  There are new waiting periods and limitations, which were much less strict prior to 2005.

One of the main changes to the law is the Means Test. which was designed to make it more difficult for debtors to qualify for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.  If the results of the Means Test show little to no disposable income over a 60-month period, then the debtor will usually qualify for Chapter 7 relief.  If a debtor does not qualify under Chapter 7, either because of the Means Test or because Chapter 7 does not provide a proper solution for certain debts, the debtor may still seek relief under Chapter 13.

To learn more about the Means Test, click here.


Can Bankruptcy help you?  To learn more about your options and whether Bankruptcy could benefit your situation, please contact the Law Office of Michael P. O’Donnell today.  As a dedicated and experienced Fort Worth Bankruptcy attorney, I want to help you become debt free.  I would be happy to meet with you in person and explain your options under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  To schedule a FREE consultation, please contact my office at(817) 732-7590.  You may also contact me or my office through E-mail or the Free Case Evaluation.  I look forward to assisting you during this difficult time.