Have you found yourself in financial trouble? Let us help you achieve a better financial future.

Are you stressed over the mounting bills and feel like you have no way out? You do have options.

The bankruptcy process can be complex and overwhelming. Get the responsive attention you need during this emotionally and financially difficult time. Let us help you navigate the system, obtain maximum debt relief and keep as much of your property as possible.

With experienced bankruptcy attorneys, Janssen Law, PLC, is on your side. We will guide you step by step through the process without judgment. Contact us for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

From our office in Des Moines, we have been serving clients throughout central Iowa with debt relief solutions for more than 37 years. Whether you need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a debt adjustment plan under Chapter 13, our attorneys will help steer you toward financial stability.

No Lectures, Just Results

Trust Janssen Law, PLC, to provide you and your family with dependable assistance. We want to help you solve your financial troubles quickly and affordably.

What Is Bankruptcy? The Law And Its Language.

Bankruptcy in the United States seeks to benefit both debtors and creditors by seeing that debtors get relief from debts they can't pay and creditors get paid from whatever assets the debtor does not need to live going forward.

Under federal law, bankruptcy provides debt relief and a fresh start to people who can no longer afford to pay their creditors. Filing bankruptcy will stop all debt collection against you. Most people who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy keep their homes, cars, household furnishings and other assets.

Bankruptcy is governed by the federal law found in Title 11 of the United States Code. As federal law, it supersedes any conflicting state law by reason of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. With the exception of exemptions, it is the same from state to state.

You can go to the Bankruptcy Glossary page on this site for an explanation of the terms used in bankruptcy. When legal terms are used on this site, they are linked to the Bankruptcy Glossary: You can click on the legal term and see a general definition of the term.

Janssen Law, PLC, believes bankruptcy can be a powerful financial planning tool and, if used properly, can put you on the road to a debt-free life.

Bankruptcy Chapters

There are four kinds of bankruptcy proceedings. They are referred to by the chapter of the federal Bankruptcy Code that describes them.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. Chapter 7, known as a "straight" or "liquidation" bankruptcy, is designed to wipe clean or discharge your unsecured debts. It is a liquidation proceeding in which the debtor's nonexempt assets, if any, are sold by the Chapter 7 trustee and the proceeds distributed to creditors according to the priorities among creditors established in the Bankruptcy Code. What is important in bankruptcy is your exempt assets and how much in exemptions you can claim. In most cases, the debtor pays nothing to unsecured creditors because all of the debtor's property is exempt.

Chapter 7 is available to individuals, married couples, corporations and partnerships. Most individual debtors get a discharge within 90 to 120 days of filing the case.

If there are assets that are not exempt, the trustee takes control of those assets, sells them and pays creditors as much as the proceeds permit.

Any wages the debtor earns after the case has been filed belong to the debtor. Creditors have no claim on those earnings.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 is a reorganization proceeding, typically for corporations or partnerships. Individuals, especially those whose debts exceed the limits of Chapter 13, may file Chapter 11.

In Chapter 11, the debtor usually remains in possession of his or her assets and continues to operate any business, subject to the oversight of the court and the creditors committee.

The debtor proposes a plan of reorganization that, upon acceptance by a majority of creditors, is confirmed by the court and binds both the debtor and the creditors to its terms of repayment. Plans can call for repayment out of future profits, sales of some or all of the assets, or a merger or recapitalization.

Chapter 12

Chapter 12 is a simplified reorganization for family farmers and fishermen, modeled after Chapter 13, where the debtor retains his or her property and pays creditors out of future income.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is a repayment plan for individuals with regular income and unsecured debt less than $336,900 and secured debt less than $1,010,650. Chapter 13 is commonly called a "wage earner plan" in which the debtor files a plan with the court to pay back a portion of debt over three to five years. The debtor keeps his or her property and makes regular payments to the Chapter 13 trustee out of future income to pay creditors.

Repayment in Chapter 13 can range from 10 percent to 100 percent, depending on the debtor's income and the makeup of the debt.

Certain debts that cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 can be discharged in Chapter 13. Chapter 13 also provides a mechanism for individuals to prevent foreclosure and repossession, while catching up on their secured debts.

Whether a debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 depends on several factors, but most importantly what your income was the six months prior to filing bankruptcy and whether your income is above the median for your household size in Iowa. If it is above the median income, then you will have to pass a means test. It is a complicated formula to determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7. If you pass the means test, then you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Get Personalized And Attentive Service

We encourage you to call 515-421-9068 or use our online contact form to schedule a free one-hour consultation with a lawyer who emphasizes clear communication and cost-efficient solutions. We will review your situation and recommend an effective course of action.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.