Perhaps you have found yourself in the unenviable position of having to consider filing bankruptcy. Of course, no one wants to file bankruptcy, but in many cases, doing so can give you a fresh start on your finances, allowing you to get out from under crushing debt, as well as to stop receiving stressful and harassing phone calls and letters from creditors. One caveat here: if your primary issue is that you are receiving creditor phone calls at all times of the day and night, or while you are at work, you can put a stop to those phone calls without filing bankruptcy. It is against the law for creditors to harass you; they are only allowed to call during certain hours, and may not call you at work if you ask them not to. If, however, you are not only receiving threatening calls and letters from bill collectors, but more than one of the following is also true, you might want to consider filing bankruptcy:
  • You are only making the minimum payments on your credit cards—and some months you are unable to even pay the minimum.
  • The thought of sorting out your financial life makes you feel anxious, stressed, and out-of-control.
  • You are not sure just how much you owe.
  • You are using your credit cards to pay for your monthly necessities—food, car payments, gas and/or your mortgage payment.
  • You are considering debt consolidation.
Because living in debt is a much more accepted norm these days, it can be difficult for you to determine when it’s time to throw in the towel, however speaking with an experienced Caldwell, Idaho bankruptcy attorney can help you make the very best decision for your future. Consider the following:
  • In 2010, a total of 1,139,601 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases were filed across the nation.
  • Unemployment is, overwhelmingly, the primary reason people are forced to file bankruptcy, although about 50 percent of those who file bankruptcy have a significant medical event in their recent past.
  • While the “average” age for person filing bankruptcy is 38, bankruptcy filers range from age 19 to 90 plus. Single women account for almost a third of all bankruptcy filings, single men for about a quarter, and couples for 44 percent.
  • Contrary to popular belief, those who file bankruptcy generally have a higher education level than non-filers.
  • Even among those whose sole reason for filing bankruptcy may not be medical bills or unemployment, divorce, medical bills and/or loss of a job is at least a factor in more than 90 percent of bankruptcy filings.
  • Bankruptcy filings hit an all-time high in 2005, with one in every 55 households filing for bankruptcy. By 2006, the number of bankruptcy filings had dipped to the lowest point in 20 years. Following the 2008 bank debacle, bankruptcies skyrocketed once more.
  • Nearly 40 years ago, in 1980, business bankruptcies accounted for about 13 percent of all filed bankruptcies, however today that number has dropped dramatically to about 3 percent.
  • Because bankruptcy laws differ from state to state—and because some states are more heavily populated—some states have far more bankruptcy filings than others. In 2011, California was at the top of the list, making up 17 percent of the total number of bankruptcies across the nation (Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Ohio followed California to round out the top 5).
One of the primary issues which stops people from filing for bankruptcy is the question of how long a bankruptcy will remain on their credit report. While it is true, bankruptcy definitely affects your credit, for most people, their credit is already being adversely affected because they are late on their payments, or have had to skip them altogether. Many people are surprised to find that their credit score may actually go up a bit after filing for bankruptcy, simply because all the debts have been removed.

For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, you can expect it to show on your credit report for ten years. The same is true of Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 bankruptcies, although a Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on your credit report for only 7 years.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be referred to as “straight” bankruptcy, as it liquidates your assets to pay off as much debt as possible, and the remainder of the debts are discharged. If you are behind on your mortgage or business payments, and you want to keep your Idaho properties, then Chapter 13 is probably the better choice, as it allows you to make up overdue payments over a period of time, reinstating your original agreements. So, if you have valuable properties which are not covered by the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions (or if your income is too high to file Chapter 7), then ask your Idaho bankruptcy attorney about Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
For most Idaho residents who want to get out from under the heavy burden of debt, Chapter 7 is a more attractive choice than Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you a fresh start, as well as immediate protection against creditors’ collection efforts and/or wage garnishment. There is no minimum amount of debt required to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of Idaho. In most cases, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be completely over and done with, in 4-8 months. All the wages you earn as well as any property you may acquire following your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will be yours, not the bankruptcy court’s or your creditors.
Aside from any property you own which falls under the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions, you will lose all other property when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, it is possible that the bankruptcy trustee will elect to abandon some non-exempt property (meaning you get to keep it). If your home is about to be foreclosed, the Chapter 7 automatic stay will only serve as a temporary defense. If you have co-signers on any loans, they could be left with the entire debt, unless they also file for bankruptcy. You may not file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for eight years after a prior Chapter 7 discharge of debt.
If you can structure a payment plan you can afford, you will be able to keep all of your property (exempt and non-exempt). Remember, under Chapter 13, your debts are not cancelled, rather you will have lowered payments for a specific length of time. More debts are considered dischargeable under Chapter 13 than under Chapter 7, and you are afforded immediate protection against wage garnishment and collection efforts from creditors. Unlike Chapter 7, any co-signers to your loans are shielded from creditors, and so long as you qualify for the terms of Chapter 13, your home is protected from foreclosure. You can file Chapter 13 repeatedly, and, under Chapter 13 rules, you are allowed to separate creditors so that some will receive a higher payment than others.
There are a few negatives to filing Chapter 13, including higher legal fees, and a more complex filing. If you are a stockbroker or a commodity broker, you are not allowed to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and you should be prepared to be tied up with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing for 3-5 years.

Let’s begin with what debts cannot be discharged in an Idaho bankruptcy. These debts include:

  • Income tax debt from the past three years and all other tax debts;
  • Student loans (unless you can show it would be a severe hardship for you to repay the loans);
  • Any debt you neglected to list in your bankruptcy papers;
  • Any traffic ticket fines, fees and penalties, criminal restitution, or other fines, fees and penalties for violations of the law;
  • Any debt for personal injury or death incurred as a result of your driving while impaired, and
  • Any spousal support obligations or back child support obligations.

If a creditor challenges your request to discharge any of the following in a Chapter 7 Caldwell, Idaho bankruptcy, then they may not be dischargeable: Any cash advance or loan exceeding $1,150 which was taken out within 60 days of your bankruptcy filing, any credit purchase for a luxury item or service which totals $1,150 or more, and was made within 60 days of your bankruptcy filing, any debt you owe due to fraud on your part, any debt you owe as a result of willful or malicious injury to another person or another person’s property, any debt you owe under a settlement or divorce decree, and any debt you owe as a result of breach of trust, larceny or embezzlement.

Bankruptcy exemptions you are entitled to include:

  • Any real property or mobile home up to $100,000 in value;
  • Death or disability benefits, group life insurance benefits, medical or hospital care benefits;
  • Spousal support and child support;
  • Business partnership properties;
  • Liquor licenses;
  • Some pensions;
  • Appliances, family portraits, musical instruments, pets, furniture, clothing, books, sentimental heirlooms up to a $7,500 total (this amount is doubled for married couples), as well as building materials, burial plots, necessary health aids, up to $1,000 in jewelry, equity in an automobile worth up to $7,000, one firearm and certain other necessary benefits.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Caldwell, Idaho, it is important that you have experienced legal representation to help you through the process. Contact Joe Frick Law, PLLC today.






Joe was born and raised in a small town in south east Kansas. After doing a short stint in college in Coffeyville, KS, Joe joined the United States Air Force and served for four years as an aircraft electrician on F-15’s. Joe was stationed in Mountain Home, AFB and was deployed to Afghanistan and South Korea. After leaving the service, Joe returned to Kansas to attend law school. After law school, Joe began practicing in Montana for several years until he made the decision to return to Idaho and open his own practice. Joe is dedicated to providing aggressive representation for the individuals of the treasure valley and the State of Idaho.