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Free Bankruptcy Lawyer in Indiana and Indianapolis Area

Too broke for bankruptcy?

Many people cannot afford to file bankruptcy because of their limited budgets. There are a limited amount of free bankruptcy lawyer options in the Indianapolis area. This article discusses how you can find a free bankruptcy attorney to take your bankruptcy case.

Free Bankruptcy Lawyers Are Usually Limited and Available in Extreme Poverty-Based Situations

Although there are legal clinics and pro bono (no charge) attorneys out there that will do your bankruptcy for free, they are very limited in number and reserved usually for extreme situations meriting pro bono help.  In fact, you may need to be 125% below the poverty line and you still may be rejected even if you meet that criteria.   Legal clinics are designed to help people who cannot afford legal services. In addition, attorneys will sometimes take a case once or twice a year pro bono (free, or for the public good).

A “free” bankruptcy attorney would likely only take very simple Chapter 7 cases.  It is not likely for an attorney to take a Chapter 13 case for free because such a case requires that you have regular, consistent income and therefore precludes the idea that you are sufficiently under the poverty line to merit pro bono services. We have made a list of clinics and pro bono sites below that can assist.

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic

Indianapolis Legal Aid Society 

Indiana Pro Bono Commission 

Marian County Bar Association Pro Bono

Getting a Free Bankruptcy Lawyer May Be Much More Difficult Then Getting Your Bankruptcy Done Affordably at a Local Office

Because of the very high demand for free legal services, you may be rejected for a free bankruptcy or you may find it so difficult to complete or achieve that it may not be worth it. Remember, that free bankruptcy services are extremely limited in availability.  Therefore you may be rejected or forced to “jump” through an excessive amount of “hoops” in order for your bankruptcy attorney representation to be free. Also, remember that you will very likely be forced to still pay your court cost involved in filing the bankruptcy. The court cost exceeds $300 on both a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Conclusion: Sometimes an Affordable Bankruptcy Attorney is a Better Thing to Seek Than a Free Bankruptcy Attorney

Although most people would like the opportunity to have an advanced service done for them for free, we all know in life that it is very uncommon to get anything for free.  Instead of searching for a free bankruptcy lawyer, perhaps it would be better to search for affordable, cheap, or discounted bankruptcy services. Remember, it is extremely important to have an attorney who is experienced to represent you in bankruptcy.  Our office, for example, offers very affordable bankruptcy services without the difficulty of “jumping through hoops” to get it.  If you have any questions about free bankruptcy services or finding an affordable option to get out of debt, give us a call.

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John F. Bymaster on Free Bankruptcy Lawyer in Indiana and Indianapolis Area







Indiana Chapter 7 vs Indiana Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

John Bymaster discusses Chapter 7 vs 13

This article compares the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Indiana versus Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can be a cost effective and powerful solution to your debt problems if you live in Indiana. Let’s discuss the differences between the two.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Indiana

The most common bankruptcy remedy that our office helps people file and the greater Indianapolis area is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the total elimination or “discharge” of your debts. Chapter 7 is so powerful because of the speed in which all of your debt are erased. It is the fastest way to achieve a fresh start and to get back moving in a good financial direction.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Indiana can also help you rebuild your credit quickly. If you have bad credit, your credit history and rating improve almost instantly upon filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is because all of your bad past credit history is instantly replaced with a single entry of the date and place in which you filed the Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will almost instantly receive credit offers in the mail for items such as automobile loans or possibly smaller balance credit cards. After two years, you will likely be able to rebuild your credit a considerable degree if you continue on making timely payments in credit accounts.

Remember, if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and want to keep your house and cars you will need to continue making those payments. However, all of your debts are discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That means that you will no longer be personally liable for any of your debts. Remember also that certain debts cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy such as recent income tax debt, child support, or student loans.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Indiana

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Indiana is much different than Chapter 7 because it is a 3 to 5 year repayment plan that reorganizes your debts. Chapter 13 is a much different approach to debt relief than chapter 7. Instead of focusing on your assets and then discharging all of your debts like in Chapter 7, the Chapter 13 case focuses on what you are able to repay to your creditors.

Chapter 13 possesses many attributes that a simple Chapter 7 case lacks in its simplicity. Chapter 13, unlike Chapter 7, can be used as a versatile tool of debt reorganization. Chapter 13 cases are used to bring mortgages up-to-date and repay arrears. They can also bring automobiles up to date and sometimes drastically change the terms of repayment for the automobile. Chapter 13’s can also be used to avoid second and third mortgages in certain situations.

Chapter 13 cases are also used to achieve debt relief when you have either too much income or too many assets to file under Chapter 7. In addition, some Chapter 13 filers use their case to keep creditors satisfied with a lower, single payment – something much better and more organized than what could be achieved outside of bankruptcy. With almost all Chapter 13 filers, the Chapter 13 case is also used to stop aggressive collection or communication with creditors during the duration of their plan.

Conclusion: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are Both Powerful and Cost-Effective Ways to Deal With Excessive Debt

Although Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 approach debt relief in quite a different way, both types of filings are very powerful ways of dealing with excessive debt. Chapter 7 is simple: it quickly eliminates all dischargeable debts. Chapter 13 is somewhat more complex but much more versatile: it offers a variety of mechanisms that can reorganize your debts.

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster on Indiana Chapter 7 vs Indiana Chapter 13 Bankruptcy





Discount Bankruptcy in Indiana

 More Bankruptcy Attorneys and Less Bankruptcy Cases

Image of Discount Bankruptcy

There has been a marked recent decline in total bankruptcy filings across the United States. Because there are less bankruptcy filings there has been more competition to file the cases among attorneys. This has resulted in discounted, reduced rates for bankruptcy services. Discount bankruptcy is very common now: for some reason there are more bankruptcy attorneys even though there are less total cases.

Why Are There Less Cases Resulting in Discount Bankruptcy?

After the 2008 financial crisis, there was an increased amount of bankruptcy filings that quickly came onto the scene. Before 2008, high credit card balances were extremely common. In addition, 2008 brought with it a massive amount of homeowners who could no longer support their mortgage payments and were left with negative equity situations. Bankruptcy quickly was on the rise, reaching over 20,000 cases that were filed in the Indiana Southern District alone. This increase in filings culminated in 2011 and then markedly declined thereafter.

Why the Decline in Total Cases?

Contrary to popular belief, the number of bankruptcy filings does not exactly equate to troublesome economic times. The increase of bankruptcy filings can only be stimulated for a short period of time by economic failures that result in job loss and other factors that lead to bankruptcy. What really drives bankruptcy is a healthy economy where consumer lending is very free, easy, and prevalent. Ironically, It can be argued that only a healthy modern economy will result in high or consistent U.S. bankruptcy filings.

If There are Less Bankruptcy Cases, Why Are There More Attorneys Now Offering Bankruptcy Services?

The reason why there are more attorneys out there offering discount bankruptcy services is due to the fact that there is a surplus of attorneys and there is limited legal work opportunities due to the progressively failing United States economy. Therefore, attorneys are picking up additional practice areas that may include discount or affordable bankruptcy services. Some attorneys are only offering bankruptcy services but others are just adding it to their list of practice areas.

Discount Bankruptcy Can Sometimes Not Be The Way To Go

Usually, the best way to go is to find an attorney that has only done bankruptcy as their majority practice area for a considerable period of time. A newer office or an office that has added bankruptcy as a discount service can sometimes be a bad choice. This office may not be sufficiently familiar with the bankruptcy system and its laws. Make sure to find an experienced attorney with affordable rates: this will result in a better experience While still saving you money.

Conclusion:  Discount Bankruptcy Can Save You Money but Be Careful

The search for affordable, cheap, and discounted bankruptcy services can sometimes lead a potential bankruptcy filer into a very bad direction. When you are searching for discount bankruptcy services, remember that “you get what you pay for.” Always use an attorney when filing for bankruptcy and make sure that attorney’s office is experienced with an obvious history of getting many people out of debt.

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster on Discount Bankruptcy in Indiana










Buying and Selling a House in Chapter 13

Stop Foreclosure

An Article by Indianapolis Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster

Buying and Selling a House in Chapter 13 – We have already discussed how Indianapolis Chapter 13 cases are very flexible, but can you buy or sell a house during a Chapter 13?   The answer is “yes,” you can buy or sell a house during a Chapter 13 plan.   However, you must get approval from the Chapter 13 Trustee and the Bankruptcy Court.

Getting Approval by the Chapter 13 Trustee

Before you are able to buy or sell a house during a Chapter 13, you must seek approval with the Chapter 13 Trustee.  Whenever an asset of a large nature is sold during a Chapter 13 or any new form of financing is obtained, it must be approved by the Bankruptcy Trustee.   Because of these two requirements, you must get approval on a sell or purchase of a home.   You must also agree on the sale of home how the funds will be used after you receive them.

Do I Get to Keep the Money when I Sell my Home in a Chapter 13 Plan?

Generally, the question of whether you are required to turn over the funds on a home sale comes down to whether those funds were exempt when you first filed your Indianapolis Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.   If you are single in Indiana, you can currently take $17,600 of exemption on your residence.   If you are married and both of you own the home, you can take $35,200 of exemption on your residence.    If you sell your residence and receive less than these amounts in the sale, it is arguable that these funds should NOT be turned over to the trustee – especially if you are going to use them to purchase a new home.   However, if you are selling rental properties or originally non-exempt property, you may have to make an agreement with the trustee ahead of time as to how much will be paid into the Chapter 13 plan.

Getting Approval by the Bankruptcy Court

After getting Trustee approval and agreement on your purchase or sale, your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will be required to file a Motion to get approval with the bankruptcy court.  The motion for purchasing a home will be something along the nature as a Motion to Incur New Debt.   The motion for selling the home will be along the lines as a Motion For Authority to Sell the Property.   These motions are required to preserve the authority and function of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy system.  They are a final notice to the Chapter 13 trustee of what is about to occur.

Getting Financing When you Buy a House in Chapter 13

Is it possible to get financing to buy a home during a Chapter 13 case?  Yes, it is possible to obtain financing to purchase a home during a Chapter 13 plan.  Our Indianapolis Chapter 13 bankruptcy office has seen several of our clients over the years obtain financing to purchase a home during a Chapter 13 case.  Because many of our Chapter 13 debtors are repaying a large amount to creditors during their plan and they maintain high incomes, lenders are not necessarily in objection to mortgage lending during Chapter 13 cases.   However, financing simply may not be available to many individuals during Chapter 13 due to normal reasons such as insufficient income, insufficient credit, or other fundamental requirements of lending.   Keep in mind that the Chapter 13 filing may not bar you from lending, but may be a factor of consideration also when the creditor is offering home loan options.


If you are entering a Chapter 13 but still desire to either buy or sell a home, you will likely not be precluded from such a sale or purchase during your Chapter 13 case.   Although there may be some minor “red tape” issues to resolve such as described above, your sale or purchase is by no means prohibited by Chapter 13.   If you need Chapter 13 relief in Indianapolis, do not hesitate because of your home concerns.  Contact our Indianapolis bankruptcy office and we can get you the information you need about a getting out of debt.

-By Indianapolis Chapter 13 Attorney John Bymaster



CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY TIME LINE – We many times are asked for a breakdown of how a Chapter 7 bankruptcy works in simple steps.  Below are the 10 steps that you will be required to take in order to receive your fresh start.  Remember, we make it easy!   For the visually oriented, we have built a “10 Steps To  A Fresh Financial Start” guide below.

STEP 1 : FREE Consultation with Lawyer:

Step One Allows You to talk and make plans with the Bankruptcy Lawyer John Forest Bymaster.  You will feel much better after leaving the office that day!

STEP 2: Gather Required Fees & Documents

You will be required to assemble some information and can pay for your bankruptcy case in payments over time.

STEP 3: You Complete Credit Counseling Course

You must complete your credit counseling class.  This class takes one hour, can be accomplished over the phone or the internet, and usually costs $10 or less.

STEP 4: Meet with Paralegal to Review Fees & Document

You call our office for a single meeting to bring in the rest of your fees, your documents, and the certificate showing that you have already taken the credit counseling class.

STEP 5: Your Lawyer Drafts the Bankruptcy Petition

Your bankruptcy petition is drafted by our office and any additional information is requested.

STEP 6: You Review & Sign Your Bankruptcy Petition

You will come to our office to review and sign your bankruptcy petition.   If you live far away, we may be able to mail it to you and review the document through phone and correspondence.

STEP 7: Petition is Filed and Your Case is Started

This is the moment that your bankruptcy case begins: all of your creditors will be “stayed” from any future collection activity.

STEP 8: You Complete Financial Education Course

You must now complete your financial management class.  This class takes two hours, can be accomplished over the phone or the internet, and usually costs $8 or less at our office.

STEP 9: You & Your Lawyer Attend the Bankruptcy Meeting

You will meet us at the Federal Court House in Downtown Indianapolis or at one of the other Indiana meeting locations such as Terre Haute, Muncie, or Lafayette.    You will answer a series of simple financial questions that usually take about 10 minutes.  Bring your driver’s license, social security card, your two most recent paycheck stubs, and your bank statements with you.

STEP 10: Final Discharge is Entered

The final discharge of your Indiana Chapter 7 case will be granted automatically usually 60-90 days after your bankruptcy meeting.   It is very important for you to comply with any request of the bankruptcy trustee because your discharge can be revoked if you do not comply with the Trustee’s requests.

Congratulations on your Fresh Start!  If you are willing to go through the 10 above easy steps, you will receive the forgiveness of your debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy!

~Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster


10 Steps to a Financial Fresh Start