You are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Chicago. Bankruptcy is a common debt relief choice. In fact, many people in Illinois have received bankruptcy relief, and Chicago is no different. In fact, there were 24,175 bankruptcies filed in Illinois in the year ending June 30, 2021 (Source). With a population of 2693976, I’d estimate a fair number of those were in Chicago.
The purpose of this article is to provide an extensive list of filing bankruptcy in Chicago including:
Without further ado, let’s get started with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common consumer bankruptcy in the United States. People appreciate the simplicity of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the cost of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the speed of debt relief. For example, in Chicago, you could get debt relief in about 120 days with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
One of the challenges of Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago is that you have to qualify (which you can estimate below). In order to qualify in Chicago, you often have to pass the Illinois bankruptcy means test. You can estimate that qualification below in Chicago. Let’s cover how you can qualify.
The first part of the means test is to understand your income in relation to the median income levels for Illinois. It considers the average family size and income.
To estimate your qualification, you can take the Chicago Chapter 7 qualification calculator below that is specific to Chicago.
Finally, the most recent Illinois median income levels is for cases filed on or after April 1, 2022, and can be found below.
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If your income exceeds the median, you can move on to the second part of the means test to estimate qualification. The second part of the means test is to understand your actual expenses. You can check out our guide covering trying to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy above the median.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as a wage-earner bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a voluntary reorganization of debt. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the individual has debt that they can no longer manage and often own assets that exceed state and/or federal relief. Folks file Chapter 13 bankruptcy often when they do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Most individuals in Chicago will qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy as long as they are below the debt limits.
Compared to Chapter 7, there is no liquidation in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Although, the discharge won’t be until around 3 to 5 years. The Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7 years.
When looking for a bankruptcy attorney, we recommend that you look for these 5 attributes: Rate, Reliability, Referrals, Reviews, and Relevancy. You can check our guide to find a top bankruptcy attorney in Chicago.
The estimated Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer fee in Chicago is: $1075 - $2000.
The estimated Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer fee in Chicago is: $3500 - $3800. The Chapter 13 attorney fee is often set across the district, meaning that all Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in a district may charge around the same fee.
One of the most important things to do is to find a reputable bankruptcy attorney in Chicago if you decide to hire one. This is legal advice related to finances that are going to affect your future. For example, making sure you are in the right bankruptcy chapter (Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13) could cost you thousands more and take you years longer.
As stated above, Chicago has a population of 2693976. In many cases, individuals in larger cities such as Chicago or Aurora would like a bankruptcy lawyer close by. In smaller cities, I have found that individuals have questions about whether the bankruptcy will show up in the newspaper or whether friends will hear about it. This is a valid question.
Regardless, you can check the Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in or near Chicago using the table below. You just need to input your zip code, and voila, you can choose which Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer you would like to speak to near or far away from Chicago in a free bankruptcy lawyer consultation.
Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Chicago may be a bit more intensive, so you may consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that is closer to you. That said, with the internet and the pandemic, many of the meetings are now online and you can generally submit your documentation online as well.
Regardless, you can use the table below to find a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in or near Chicago.
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Fill out your information for the local attorney. Please note that the attorney selected may not be the one which contacts you.
As you live in Chicago, you are often able to use the Illinois bankruptcy exemptions to help you keep your belongings.
One of the biggest questions people have is whether they are able to keep their homes in bankruptcy. This is where bankruptcy exemptions come into play. As Chicago has a home ownership % of 45% and an estimated estimated home value of $258430, you can understand that many people want to keep this asset. You can often keep your assets using bankruptcy exemptions.
Here are the Illinois bankruptcy exemptions. The exemptions are revised on different occasions, so you may wish to check the most current information on exemptions. Also, as a reference, Illinois is a place that does not allow you to use federal bankruptcy exemptions. You often have to choose which one to use, so a bankruptcy attorney can help you with that option.
The homestead exemption is often broken down by age and whether you are married.
Illinois specific homestead bankruptcy exemption text: “I.L.C.S. §§ 5/12-901; 5/12-906. Real or personal property including a farm, lot, & buildings, condo, co-op, or mobile home to $15,000; sale proceeds exempt for 1 year” (Source)
The automobile bankruptcy exemption in Illinois is $2,400.
The tools of the trade bankruptcy exemption in Illinois is $1,500.
The wildcard bankruptcy exemption in Illinois is $4,000.
The personal property bankruptcy exemption in Illinois is $0.
Below is specific special handling of bankruptcy exemptions in Illinois.
Unemployment can cause both frustration and angst about options. The most recent statistic I found is that the Chicago unemployment rate is 8.1%. There may be resources available to help. In addition to the unemployment rate, Chicago has a disability rate of 10.5%. As such, if you are truly in need and don’t have income, there are resources that may be available that can help you.
Here are some legal aid resources that may be helpful to you in Chicago.
The bankruptcy court and district may have free resources that are available to you. I have included the information below.
One of the most common alternatives to bankruptcy is debt settlement. A debt settlement firm would negotiate for a lower amount due on your debt in the case of financial hardship. The goal would be to reduce your debt in half. In this case, you would have a lower monthly payment.
If you are looking at debt settlement in Chicago, you may want to consider a national debt settlement firm to a local one in Chicago. For example, most of your creditors are probably national banks instead of local Chicago banks. As such, you can potentially get lower fees by using a national firm. You should strongly consider the pros and cons and credit score impact before taking the plunge as Ascend only recommends 2 debt settlement firms nationwide that both offer free phone evaluations.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Chicago can provide debt relief. That said, you may want to consider the cost of bankruptcy in Chicago, the different bankruptcy chapters, reputable attorneys in Chicago and alternatives to help you make the most informed decision.
You can also take our Chapter 7 vs Chapter calculator below to help you estimate the cost and qualification of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Chicago.