The firm represents businesses in collection of their business debts as well as defense against claims for debt repayment brought against businesses or individuals. We also help individuals and businesses wipeout or restructure their debts so that they can get a fresh start under Chapters 7, 11 & 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Filing bankruptcy automatically stays or stops harassing phone calls from creditors, and can help halt foreclosure proceedings, repossessions, or wage garnishments. Businesses will find that reorganizing through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court with the help of a Rhode Island bankruptcy attorney can lead to better operations and long-term growth and sustainability. If you need advice or representation, consult our firm about your financial situation. An experienced Rhode Island attorney can advise you and assist you in avoiding obstacles along the way.

What is a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code?

A discharge is a court order releasing a debtor from his or her dischargeable debts and ordering the creditors not to attempt to collect them from the debtor. The debtor is released from any obligation to pay the debt.

What is a bankruptcy estate?

When a person files for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, a Bankruptcy Court trustee takes possession of all of the assets of the debtor. Some of the assets or property of the debtor may be exempt, that is, protected by law from claims of creditors. Exemptions typically include things such as unpaid wages, home equity, household furniture and personal effects. A bankruptcy attorney can inform you about your available exemptions. The trustee will usually convert nonexempt property that is turned over to the bankruptcy estate into cash which is then used to pay fees and expenses of trustee,to pay the claims of priority creditors, and if there is anything left, to pay the claims of unsecured creditors.

Who is eligible for a bankruptcy discharge?

A person who has been granted a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7 filed within the last eight (8) years is not eligible for a discharge. Similarly, a person who has been granted a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case that was filed within the last six (6) years is not eligible for a discharge unless seventy percent (70%) or more of the debtor’s unsecured claims were paid off in the Chapter 13 case. There areother reasons why a person or business cannot file a bankruptcy petition and you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

What debts are not dischargeable?

Some debts are absolutely non-dischargeable in a Chapter 7 case such as most tax debts; debts for obtaining money or property under false pretenses; debts not listed on the bankruptcy petition forms; debts for fraud, embezzlement or larceny; debts for domestic support obligations such as alimony or support; debts for intentional or malicious injury to personal property if a creditor files a complaint in the bankruptcy case; debts for certain fines or penalties; debts for most educational benefits and student loans; debts for personal injury or death caused by a debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated; and debts that would or could have been listed in a previous bankruptcy case in which thedebtor did not receive a discharge.

What is the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition?

While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition operates to wipe the slate clean or discharge all of the debtorseligible debts, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows the person to repay all or a portion of his or her debts under the supervision or protection of the Court which must approve the plan. The debtor must make regular payments to a Bankruptcy Court trustee who then pays the money collected out to various creditors in the manner called for in the plan. After completion of the payments made under the plan, the debtor is released from liability. The major differences between the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases are that in the Chapter 13 cases, a portion of the debtors future income is used to pay as much of thedebtors obligations as possible while in a Chapter 7 case, the debtor’s non-exempt property is liquidated to pay as much of the debtors debts as is possible under the circumstances.


Christine W. Ariel, Esq.
Attorney & Counsellor at Law
Mediator, Arbitrator & Conflict Resolution Consultant
70 Romano Vineyard Way, Suite 147
North Kingstown, RI 02852

Fax: 401.295.9410

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