Bankruptcy Law

If you are struggling to pay your debts and concerned about the future welfare for you and your family, it is important that you seek the advice of a Bankruptcy Lawyer to ensure that your assets are protected and the debts you seek to eliminate are dischargeable.  Steve Altmann has been assisting consumers and business owners with bankruptcy matters for over 27 years. 

Steve can help you navigate through the complex set of Bankruptcy Laws and help you choose the best option to resolve your debt and obtain a Fresh Start.   Your goal, when you file bankruptcy, is to receive a Discharge, which releases you from personal liability for specific debts and prohibits bill collectors from taking any action against you to collect the debt.  The three primary ways for an individual to obtain a Bankruptcy Discharge, are through Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13. 


Everyone’s situation is different, but for the most part, our clients are all looking for the same thing…FREEDOM, financial freedom from the overwhelming debt and harassment of creditors who are attempting to collect money from them that they simply don’t have. 

Is Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy the right answer for you? Talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in a “Touch Free” environment about your financial problems.  Call now for your FREE initial consultation at (205) 930-6900.


Chapter 7, also known as a “straight bankruptcy”, contemplates an orderly liquidation of your assets by a court appointed trustee who will then make distributions to your creditors or the people you owe.  Immediately upon the filing of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you are shielded from all collections by your creditors. As soon as your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, your creditors are notified. At this point they must stop all harassing phone calls, harassing letters, garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures. This immediate protection from your creditors is one of the most important benefits of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

As a debtor in Chapter 7, you can retain secured collateral, such as houses and cars, by reaching voluntary reaffirmation agreements with a specific creditor.  If you reaffirm a debt, you are recreating that debt which would have been extinguished and continue to make your regular monthly payment.  Individuals and married couples are also entitled to exemptions, which allow you to retain clothing and personal property, like household goods and furnishings and to protect equity in your house.  

In the State of Alabama, individuals are allowed a $15,500 homestead exemption on their residence or $31,000 of equity for married couples and $7,750 personal property exemption or $15,500 for married couples.  It is possible, based on certain factors, to have substantial additional equity over and above these exemption amounts and still retain possession of your home and personal property. We can discuss this in more detail during your FREE initial consultation.

One of the first things we will analyze in your consultation is your household income and expenses to determine whether you pass the “Means Test” to qualify for Chapter 7.  If your debts are primarily consumer debts and your income exceeds certain thresholds, you may not be eligible for Chapter 7 relief. 

If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and decide to file, you must pay the attorney fees and court costs prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. We can work out installment payments on your Chapter 7 bankruptcy fees. A married couple filing a joint case only pays one fee and one set of filing fees. After evaluating your circumstances, we can give you a quote for the fees in your case and explain how you can rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy.

We look forward to assisting you in regaining control of your financial situation. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (205) 930-6900.


Chapter 13, also known to some as “debtor’s court”, is designed for an individual debtor who has a regular source of income. Chapter 13 is often preferable to chapter 7 because it enables you to stop a foreclosure and keep a valuable asset, such as your house.  A typical Chapter 13 lowers your monthly payments to creditors and allows you to eliminate interest and late fees on credit card debt.  Almost any type of debt or creditor can be paid through a Chapter 13 plan.  This includes cars, mortgage, credit cards, medical bills, taxes, student loans, payday loans and child support arrearages. 

Chapter 13 allows you to propose a “plan” to repay creditors over time – usually three to five years.  You repay your debts through a trustee based on your anticipated income over the life of the plan.  Your Bankruptcy Lawyer will help you formulate a plan designed to be confirmed by the court.  Your first payment is due within 30 days of the date of filing and you must maintain your payments on a monthly basis in order to avoid having your case dismissed. 

An example of how Chapter 13 works is if you have high-interest credit card debt, high-interest loans or high-interest payday loans, these creditors can be paid through your 60 month plan at a zero percent interest rate. Also, if you have a vehicle loan with a high interest rate, it is possible to substantially lower the interest rate, often as low as 5 or 6 percent. You could file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, stop the foreclosure or repossession, and cure the default over an extended period of time, which allows you to have a manageable payment.

If your paycheck or bank account is currently being garnished or levied by the IRS, State or a Judgment creditor, the filing of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will immediately stop the garnishment from your wages or bank account. When your tax debt is paid through the Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debt typically no longer incurs interest or penalties during the life of the case. If you successfully complete your Chapter 13 case, you will not have to pay this interest or penalties.

Unlike chapter 7, you do not receive an immediate discharge of debts. You must complete the payments required under the plan before you receive a discharge. You are, however, protected from lawsuits, garnishments, and other creditor actions while the plan is in effect. You can also eliminate more debts in a Chapter 13 than you can in a Chapter 7.  The discharge is also somewhat broader (i.e., more debts are eliminated) under chapter 13 than the discharge under chapter 7.  We can discuss this in more detail during your FREE initial consultation.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is a powerful tool to help you and your family reorganize household bills to a manageable level. Our office has helped hundreds of people save cars, homes and successfully reorganize these debts to reestablish good credit standing. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the majority of the attorney fees and the filing fee are combined with your other bills. Once you call our office and discuss your situation, we will be able to tell you what your initial fee will be to file your case.

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Steve Altmann has been assisting consumers and business owners with bankruptcy matters for more than 27 years. 

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