Filing for bankruptcy is often a big relief for many Maryland consumers. It’s important to know your legal rights during and afterward.
Creditors can no longer contact you to collect
Once you have filed for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes in place. This is an order by the court that stops collection attempts by your creditors and collection agencies. It also prevents wage garnishment and protects against some lawsuits. However, if you owe alimony or child support or have a criminal case pending against you, you’re not protected and still owe those debts.
If a creditor or collection agency persists and continues to contact and harass you, they are in violation of the law and your rights. They are also prohibited from contacting your family members if they are unable to reach you.
You can still obtain valuables and a new credit card
Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for several years. However, you have the right to apply for new credit even while your bankruptcy case is ongoing. You may have higher fees and interest rates because of your debt issues.
Likewise, you can get a new home or vehicle while going through bankruptcy. You also have the right to take out a new loan, but you should expect higher interest rates and fees to come with that as well.
You have the right to file again
Even if you have already filed for bankruptcy, that doesn’t mean you cannot file again in the future. If you have filed Chapter 7, you are allowed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy eight years after. You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy two years after previously filing Chapter 13.
If you want to file Chapter 13 after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can but must wait four years. You have the right to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy after previously filing Chapter 13 but must wait six years.