Tulsa & Tulsa County Bankruptcy - Frequently Asked Questions

How Can Bankruptcy Help Tulsa Residents?

Can bankruptcy stop a foreclosure of a Tulsa home, a repossession, a garnishment, a lawsuit?
A collection agency is harassing me. How can I stop them?

How can bankruptcy help me if my Tulsa home has an underwater mortgage?

What is a bankruptcy discharge?

FAQs about Eligibility and Qualifying for the Different Chapters of Bankruptcy

Who may be a debtor in a bankruptcy case in Tulsa?

I live in Tulsa and want to file bankruptcy without an attorney ("pro se"). How do I file bankruptcy myself? Is it possible for bankruptcy to be a do-it-yourself project?

My wife and I are getting divorced and we live in Tulsa. Should we file bankruptcy before or after the divorce is final?

Can I file for bankruptcy in Tulsa if I am unemployed?

FAQs about Tulsa Real Property and Personal Property

I live outside of Tulsa and need my car for work. Will they let me keep my car?
Are they going to take my kids’ toys?

I don't know how much my stuff is worth. How do I come up with the values for my property?

Would it help if I just transferred my car title to my husband's name so I don't have to include it on my bankruptcy forms?

FAQs about My Debts, Loans, Creditors, Leases, and Contracts

I want to keep my Sears card. Do I have to list it in my bankruptcy?
I owe money to a relative who does not live in Tulsa, but I don't want my family to know about my bankruptcy. Can I leave them off of my bankruptcy forms?
I promised my kids' Tulsa orthodontist that I would make payments over the next few years. Since I want to pay them can I just not list them on my bankruptcy forms?

What if I forget to list one of my Tulsa creditors?

FAQs about the Bankruptcy Process after Filing in Tulsa

How soon do I have to move out of my Tulsa house if I'm not going to keep it?

Can one of my Tulsa utility companies disconnect my service (electricity, water, sewer, etc.) when I file my case ... whether or not I list them as a creditor?

I filed my bankruptcy case in Tulsa. How long will it take before I get a discharge?

 


 

How Can Bankruptcy Help Tulsa Residents?

Can bankruptcy stop a foreclosure of a Tulsa home, a repossession, a garnishment, a lawsuit?
A collection agency is harassing me. How can I stop them?

Have you stopped answering your phone because of collection agency calls? Are they trying to call you at work, or maybe even trying to reach you by calling one of your Tulsa neighbors?

Stop collection agencies from harassing you! Contact a qualified Tulsa bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation.You can stop collection agencies from harassing you. You can halt garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures to give yourself a chance to work something out with the creditors or discharge the debts completely. Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorneys are your best defense against harassing collection agencies!

Debt collectors in Oklahoma use whatever means are available to them to collect the money that you owe. Despite your best efforts, you may still be facing the prospect of a garnishment or you may have been served with a summons for a lawsuit. No matter how much your boss likes you and empathizes with your situation, an employer is required by law to withhold a portion of your wages if they are served with an order of garnishment. You will see as much as 25% taken out of your paycheck!

If you are unable to negotiate a payment plan with the creditor and cannot afford to have your wages reduced, then bankruptcy may be a good option for you. At the moment your bankruptcy case is filed in the Oklahoma Bankruptcy Court, an "automatic stay" goes into effect. The automatic stay prohibits all of your creditors from starting or continuing a garnishment. They may not repossess your property, foreclose on your home, or take any other action without the approval of the court. Contact one of the experienced Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorneys listed on this page today and get the collection agencies off your back!

How can bankruptcy help me if my Tulsa home has an underwater mortgage?

Probably the most stressful of all financial troubles is falling behind on a mortgage. The idea that you might lose your home is hard to believe. Perhaps you've kept your mortgage current by neglecting your other bills and now those creditors are banging down your door.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in an underwater mortgage, knowing that you are strapped to this house for 30 or more years with no possible way of selling it or paying it off can be just as devastating.

Consult with a qualified Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney who will give you some possible solutions. For example:

  • If you're current on your mortgage payments but have little or not equity in your home and your other debts are weighing you down, you could benefit from filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow you to keep your home and continue making your regular mortgage payments while discharging (forgiving) most, if not all, of your other debts.
  • If you're behind on your mortgage payments and you have regular income and want to keep your house, a chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the right answer. A chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to spread your past due mortgage payments over 3 to 5 years, consolidate some of your other bills, and discharge some of your bills.
  • If you have an underwater mortgage, if you're behind on your mortgage, or if you just don't want to keep the house, either a chapter 7 or Chapter 13 might be your best solution. Either of these chapters will allow you to "surrender" your house. This means you can walk away from the mortgage and the house and owe nothing further on it.

If you're facing foreclosure of your home, contact a qualified Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney who will help you file your bankruptcy case, get an automatic stay, and find a way to get back on your feet.You can find the information for consumers about their mortgages and mortgage payment by visiting the FTC's website.

There are also agencies in the greater Tulsa and Tulsa County areas that provide mortgage delinquency and foreclosure counseling. Here are just a few:

Christian Credit Counseling Service, 6705 E 81st Street Suite 152, Tulsa, OK 74133
(918) 492-5585

Consumer Credit Counseling Service, 4646 S. Harvard, Tulsa, OK 74135
(918) 948-8541

A American Credit and Debt Counseling Service, 702 S Main Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74119
(918) 582-5727

But if you're not seeing light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve already received a foreclosure notice, or you know the foreclosure notice is on its way, you'll want to contact your Tulsa bankruptcy attorney immediately.

What is a bankruptcy discharge?

The most important benefit of bankruptcy is the discharge. A discharge means that you are no longer legally required to pay some or all of your debts. It means that creditors can no longer call you, harass you, or make any other kind of contact to try to collect on a discharged debt.

Not all debts will be discharged. What can or cannot be discharged depends mostly on which chapter of bankruptcy was filed and the type of debt. A couple of debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy include:

  • child support and alimony
  • certain types of taxes
  • debts that you forgot or failed to list on your bankruptcy forms
  • student loans
  • amounts owed to certain retirement plans
  • and amounts you may have been sued for in court willful and malicious injuries to persons or property, or personal injury you cause while driving intoxicated.

Your Tulsa bankruptcy attorney will explain to you how your debts will be handled in bankruptcy court and which debts you can expect to have discharged.

FAQs about Eligibility and Qualifying for the Different Chapters of Bankruptcy

Who may be a debtor in a bankruptcy case in Tulsa?

Chapter 1 of Title 11 of the United States Code addresses the question of "Who may be a Debtor?" Basically, any person who lives, has a home, a place of business, or property in the United States may be a debtor. Municipalities (government entities) may also be debtors.

I live in Tulsa and want to file bankruptcy without an attorney ("pro se"). How do I file bankruptcy myself? Is it possible for bankruptcy to be a do-it-yourself project?

You are legally allowed to file your own bankruptcy and represent yourself in the bankruptcy proceedings. Before making that decision, however, read the United States Courts' website and their recommendation that you hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney. You will also want to read the federal bankruptcy statute about the "penalty for persons who negligently or fraudulently prepare bankruptcy petitions."

My wife and I are getting divorced and we live in Tulsa. Should we file bankruptcy before or after the divorce is final?

Your Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney will need to review your financial situation before providing you with advice on this matter. There are many different scenarios and issues to consider:If you're facing a divorce and bankruptcy at the same time, contact a Tulsa County Bankruptcy Law Firm. They will review your situation to determine if you should file for bankruptcy before or after the divorce is final.

  • First, are both persons willing to cooperate in the bankruptcy?
  • Next, if they filed as a couple and their incomes are combined, do they qualify for both chapters 7 and 13 or only one chapter? If only one chapter, is it the chapter under which they would want to file.
  • If they file for bankruptcy separately, will both parties be able to file for the chapter best for them or is one person 'injured' by filing separately?
  • How do they intend to distribute the marital property in the divorce and how will that affect the intention for handling the property in the bankruptcy?

The more complex the couples' financial situation is, the more questions that will have to be asked and answered. The Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney may need to confer with the attorneys representing the couple in the divorce.

No matter what the decision is, it is definitely better to ask the question and seek an answer from a qualified Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney before the divorce is final. Otherwise, the parties might find themselves in even worse financial circumstances.

Can I file for bankruptcy in Tulsa if I am unemployed?

In March 2011, unemployment in Tulsa was recorded at 6.2%. Losing a job for an extended period of time will not only lead to financial difficulties, but can limit which chapters of bankruptcy you can file. For example, in order to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy you have to have regular income.

Your Tulsa bankruptcy attorney can work with you to assess your financial situation, determine the best chapter of bankruptcy for you, and calculate when you would be the best time to file. Sometimes it's better to wait to file if you have recently lost your job or you it's better to rush to file if you have recently been hired.

If you're trying to save a home and want to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which requires regular income), a quick internet search will help you find some local companies who are seeking employees. Recommended search terms for job searches as well as large employers that always have job openings in Tulsa County are:

Blue Collar Work - try to include terms such as: "Tulsa manual Labor immediate employment," "Tulsa County manual labor job openings," "Tulsa construction jobs," "Tulsa County job openings for Tulsa buildings or residential construction," etc.

Also try checking your city's web site, local hospitals and schools for job listings, for example:

City of Tulsa - Human Resources Department
www.okdhs.org

Select Specialty Hospital - Tulsa/Midtown, LLC, 1125 S. Trenton, 2nd & 3rd Floors, Tulsa, OK 74120 , (918) 579-7280

Oklahoma State University Medical Center Trust, 744 W., 9th Street, Tulsa, OK 74127 , (918) 599-5900

St. John Medical Center, 1923 South Utica Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104 , (918) 744-2180

Tulsa Community College, 909 South Boston Avenue, Tulsa, OK, (918) 595-7000

University of Tulsa, 800 South Tucker Avenue, Tulsa, OK, (918) 631-2000

Community Care College, 4242 S. Sheridan, Tulsa, OK, (918) 610-0027

Clary Sage College, 3232 South Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK, (918) 298-8200

If you have tried for as long as you can to get gainful employment and the bills are such that bankruptcy is the only sensible decision, then please contact one of the experienced Tulsa bankruptcy attorneys on this page for further assistance and stop the stress from injuring your own mental and physical health and the health of your family.

FAQs about Tulsa Real Property and Personal Property

I live outside of Tulsa and need my car for work. Will they let me keep my car?
Are they going to take my kids’ toys?

Motorcycles, cars, and other property owned by you will have to be claimed on your bankruptcy forms and a current value given for each. Your Tulsa Bankruptcy Lawyer will assist you in accurately completing these forms. One of the most popular questions for anyone considering bankruptcy is "will they take my stuff?" Keeping your property is a huge consideration. You have items that are necessities, like your car, clothing, and household goods, and items that may have sentimental value. So how do they figure out what you get to keep?

First, let's look at who ‘they' are. As soon as your bankruptcy case is filed, most of your property is legally transferred to a bankruptcy estate which is managed by a bankruptcy trustee. Your property doesn't physically move, just the legal ownership of it. While you're going through the bankruptcy process, you will not have the legal right to transfer or sell your property without the permission of the bankruptcy trustee. (Legal ownership of your property is transferred back to you upon discharge or dismissal of your case.)

In the bankruptcy forms and documents you file, you are going to estimate the present sale value (not the original cost or replacement value) for everything you own, from your house to your cars to your clothing and household goods. You're also going to need the current cash values of any insurance policies, savings or bank accounts, stocks and investment accounts, hobby equipment, cameras, firearms, and items in which you have equitable interest.

Your Tulsa bankruptcy lawyer will review the list of your property and values and compare it against the exemptions available to residents of the State of Oklahoma. This comparison will help determine what you may keep and what might have to be turned over to the bankruptcy trustee for liquidation to pay your unsecured creditors. Here's how:

Since the purpose of bankruptcy is to give you a fresh start, each state has developed a list of property (assets) it believes are necessary for you to make a fresh start. Some states choose to use the list developed by the federal government and some states let you make the choice between their list and the federal list. Your Tulsa bankruptcy attorney will help you make the best choice for your situation.

Whichever list is used, you will compare the values for all of your property against the exemption limits. If your property values stay below the limits, you have what is called a "no asset" case and you will keep all of your property. If any of your property goes over the exemption limits or is the type of property that is not exempted at all, the amount over the limit becomes the amount due to your unsecured creditors.

It can get very complex at this point. You might be able to "buy back" your non-exempt or under-exempted assets, the bankruptcy trustee might sell the asset(s) and give you an amount equal to what was exempted, or the bankruptcy trustee might abandon the property.

Understanding Oklahoma bankruptcy exemption laws and how to protect your property is one of the most critical aspects of a bankruptcy case. A mistake can have serious consequences on your ownership rights. This is why it is best to rely on the services of a qualified Tulsa bankruptcy attorney rather than trying to file the case yourself.

I don't know how much my stuff is worth. How do I come up with the values for my property?

You're looking for yard sale or garage sale prices for your belongings. The court doesn't need to know what it would cost you to replace something, it wants to know how much could be raised if everything was sold (liquidated). And to sell something, you need to find a buyer.

In the Tulsa area, check with local thrift stores or pawn shops such as:

14 Karat Pawn Inc, 6010 S Memorial Drive, Tulsa, OK 74145, (918) 622-8123

Admiral Gun & Pawn Empourium, 911 S Memorial Drive, Tulsa, OK 74112, (918) 835-2211

Another Pawn Shop, 5663 S Mingo Road, Tulsa, OK 74146, (918) 459-5955Nanny's Attic, 9709 Mills RD, Tulsa, OK 77070

Good Will Industries, 102 S Garnett Road, Tulsa, OK 74128, (918) 437-4663

Quality Thrift Store, 5133 S Peoria Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74105, (918) 743-1391

Salvation Army, 2150 S Sheridan Road, Tulsa, OK 74129, (918) 836-8730

Would it help if I just transferred my car title to my husband's name so I don't have to include it on my bankruptcy forms?Don't take any actions to transfer property without the advice of a qualified Tulsa Bankruptcy Lawyer.

Even if you have a legitimate reason for transferring anything to your husband's name (presuming he is not filing bankruptcy), you will have to list the transfer on the Statement of Financial Affairs (part of your bankruptcy documents). You could find yourself in trouble with the bankruptcy court if it appears the transfer was done to reduce the amount of your estate so the creditors receive less.

It is always in your best interest to consult with a qualified Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney before making transfers of any of your property or assets when you expect you will be filing for bankruptcy (or especially if you have already filed).

FAQs about My Debts, Loans, Creditors, Leases, and Contracts

I want to keep my Sears card. Do I have to list it in my bankruptcy?
I owe money to a relative who does not live in Tulsa, but I don't want my family to know about my bankruptcy. Can I leave them off of my bankruptcy forms?
I promised my kids' Tulsa orthodontist that I would make payments over the next few years. Since I want to pay them can I just not list them on my bankruptcy forms?

All means All. Your Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney will tell you to list all creditors, even if they're related to you. That's the law. You cannot be selective – for any reason – and purposely leave a creditor off of your bankruptcy forms. That is fraud and can get you into very big trouble with the bankruptcy court.

What if I forget to list one of my Tulsa creditors?

Everyone makes honest mistakes. When you remember the creditor who was left off your bankruptcy filing, tell your Tulsa Bankruptcy Lawyer who will file the necessary amendments.

FAQs about the Bankruptcy Process after Filing in Tulsa

How soon do I have to move out of my Tulsa house if I'm not going to keep it?

This will vary, but there have been stories of debtors staying in the homes they are surrendering for 2 years or more (rent free) after filing bankruptcy! Your Tulsa Bankruptcy Lawyer will advise you on this matter. It's a great way to continue living in your home – without the mortgage payment – and saving up for the down payment on a rental.

Can one of my Tulsa utility companies disconnect my service (electricity, water, sewer, etc.) when I file my case ... whether or not I list them as a creditor?

Check with your Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney to be certain, but the Bankruptcy Code states that a utility may not "alter, refuse, or discontinue service to, or discriminate against" you because you filed for bankruptcy. However, it also states that the utility is entitled to "assurance of payment" within 20 days after the date of the order for relief.

I filed my bankruptcy case in Tulsa. How long will it take before I get a discharge?

Keep in mind, there is no guarantee of a discharge when you file your bankruptcy case. That being said, here are the averages:

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases will average 5 to 6 months before discharge.

Chapter 13 cases run for 36 to 60 months; if all payments are made and provisions of the Chapter 13 plan have been fulfilled, discharge comes at the end of that time.

Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 bankruptcy cases are structured to be shorter than Chapter 13 case, but will depend on the individual circumstances of the case.

 


 

Tulsa Bankruptcy Lawyer will answer all of your questions regarding bankruptcy, debt relief, and discharge of your debts!

Serving clients throughout Northeastern Oklahoma, including Bartlesville, Blackwell, Broken Arrow, Checotah, Cushing, Henryetta, Locust Grove, Miami, Muskogee, Norman, Oklahoma City, Owasso, Perry, Ponca City, Sallisaw, Sand Springs, Shawnee, Stillwater, Tahlequah, Tulsa, Wagoner, areas in the vicinity of Tulsa International Airport, and other communities in Tulsa County.

Contact a Tulsa Bankruptcy Attorney today for a free initial consultation.