Hiring a Tucson bankruptcy attorney is a critical decision that can offer long-term benefits to anyone struggling with financial health right now. You are not alone if you are battling credit card debt, personal loans, and medical bills, but there is help available to you. Want A Fresh Start offers comprehensive, supportive legal guidance to our clients as they work towards financial freedom.

How Bankruptcy Works in Tucson, Arizona

Working with a bankruptcy attorney in Tucson starts with a consultation. During this free debt evaluation meeting, our attorney will discuss what bankruptcy is, how it works, and what you can expect.

Under the U.S. Constitution, individuals who are unable to repay their debts may petition the court to request their debt be forgiven in a process called discharging it. This is done within one of the bankruptcy courts throughout the country.

To file bankruptcy, you must go through several steps and you must meet all requirements under the state’s laws. Because this is time-consuming and critical to get right, we highly encourage you to work with an experienced Tucson bankruptcy lawyer if you are considering this process. Our attorneys are always available to offer a free consultation to discuss your needs.

Once you decide to proceed with the bankruptcy process, you must submit documentation to the courts, meet with the bankruptcy trustee, and wait for the legal process to proceed. That is a very simplistic view of the process. Let us help you ensure you know what to expect.

How Our Bankruptcy Attorney in Tucson Will Help You

To provide you with the support and guidance you need when filing bankruptcy in Arizona, Want A Fresh Start will work very closely with you from the start. Here is what you can expect.

Set up a debt evaluation consultation

During this initial consultation, our bankruptcy attorney will meet with you to learn what your needs are. We take a look at the type of debt you have and the amount to determine what your legal options are. Our debt evaluation consultation is free of charge. We do not hold you to the process either. If you decide that bankruptcy may not be right for you, you do not owe us anything.

For those who are facing debt like the following, we encourage you to reach out for an evaluation consultation:

  • Credit card debt
  • Medical bills
  • Business-related debt
  • Personal loans
  • Mortgage debt
  • Car loans

More so, we may be able to help you with tax debt, child support payments, and college student loans. Not all types of debt can be discharged. However, if you have any type of debt you cannot pay, we may be able to help you restructure it into a more affordable payment plan.

Discuss the types of bankruptcy with you

We are educators in that we provide our clients with all of the information and support they need to make wise decisions. Our goal is to ensure you know what your legal options and rights are. There are two main types of bankruptcy for individuals.

Chapter 7

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you petition the court to ask it to discharge all of your debt in exchange for the assets you own. There are numerous exempt assets, which are those you do not have to lose. However, any assets above this level are sold by the court to repay your debts as much as possible. Once this occurs, you are no longer legally obligated to pay back the funds you owe to any creditor listed on your bankruptcy. You move forward in re-establishing your credit over the coming years without that debt burden.

Chapter 13

Under Chapter 13, you retain your assets. They are not sold. Instead, the bankruptcy court works with you to restructure your debt. You spend the next 3 to 5 years in a repayment plan. During that time, you pay the court each month, and they pay your creditors. This method tends to be beneficial for those who do not qualify for Chapter 7 or those who wish to maintain their assets. After the repayment period ends, the court will discharge most other debts.

Determine your eligibility to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Many people benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it discharges all of their debt. If you do not own a lot of assets or wish to keep the assets you do own, this could be one route to take.

To be eligible, you must pass the Chapter 7 Means Test. This test was put into place in 2005 and is meant to reduce the abuses of filing bankruptcy when a person has the financial means to repay the debt as originally agreed. The test considers your income – specifically your current monthly income- based on your gross monthly income over the previous six months.

To qualify for Chapter 7 and pass the Means Test, your income must be below the median income for a family of your size in Arizona. You must act in good faith and be honest about your debts and income.

Our attorneys will help you navigate the Means Test. This includes completing Official Form B122A-1, Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income, the document that will determine what happens next. We encourage you to work with us through this process. Not all types of income must be reported.

Determine which Arizona exemptions you qualify for

Those who qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must still consider what filing would mean for them personally. The goal is to sell assets to pay off your creditors. However, some assets are exempt, meaning you can keep them and still file bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy exemptions in Arizona can be critical to helping you continue to build a strong financial future after your bankruptcy. The government wants you to be able to start over and build financial health. For that to happen, you need some assets.

When you meet with our bankruptcy attorney in Tucson, we will discuss all available exemptions and how they apply to your situation. Below are some examples of exemptions that may apply in your case:

Home exemption

Arizona’s home equity exemption is currently $400,000. That means that if your home has up to $400,000 in equity, you can keep your home as long as you keep up on your mortgage payments. If your home could be sold today for $700,000, but you still owe $400,000 on the home, you only have $300,000 in equity. This means you can file bankruptcy and keep your home. If, by contrast, you only owe $50,000 on your current mortgage loan, you would have $650,000 worth of equity. In this case, the court may pursue selling your home to pay off your debt.

Keep in mind that there are various ways to reduce this risk. Sales agent fees must be considered. You also have to consider if the home will sell at full value, which is limited. Our bankruptcy attorney in Tucson will help you to determine if you should keep your home.


Most of the time, your car is exempt during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This may be due to various scenarios. For example, if your car has equity that is under the limit required by the court, you can keep it. Under Arizona law, up to $15,000 worth of equity in a car is exempt. If you have more value than this in your car, you may be required to sell it.

However, there are other ways to protect your car. Our bankruptcy attorney will help you determine if other strategies exist to reduce your risk of losing your car, including through bankruptcy planning or redemption.

Other exemptions

Most people own other items that may or may not be exempt in a bankruptcy case like this. In every situation, our attorney will work with you to better understand what your financial losses could be. Here are some examples.

  • Furniture: You can keep furniture up to the $15,000 exemption rule.
  • Retirement funds: Your retirement account is fully exempt as long as it meets the IRS’s qualifications as a tax-advantaged retirement account.
  • Pensions: If you have a pension due to disability, or from a Roth IRA, or employment-related pension, they could also be exempt.
  • Cash: You will be able to maintain food and fuel exemptions for six months.

Keep in mind other exemptions may apply as well. However, if you own items that are above these exemptions, the court can seize them. For example, you may lose:

  • Second homes (in some situations)
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Numerous vehicles
  • High-end jewelry
  • High-end collectibles
  • Other assets

If you own any type of asset that is valuable, we highly recommend telling us about these now. The court will go back through your purchases and will document any purchases you made. They will also ask questions about your assets. Being open and honest is the best route. Let our Tucson bankruptcy attorney help to protect you and your assets to create the best possible route forward for you.

Credit counseling requirements

Another component of the bankruptcy process is meeting the credit counseling requirement. In short, individuals who wish to file bankruptcy must go through a series of educational steps to help improve their credit knowledge. The goal of this is to potentially help you avoid finding yourself in financial turmoil again.

When you file a petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, you must present a credit counseling certificate. This certificate must be provided by a U.S. Trustee-approved credit counseling agency. The process is not challenging, but you do have to complete it. Many of these courses can be completed online within a few hours.

Our bankruptcy attorney in Tucson will help you to navigate this component of the process. The key to remember is that it must be from an approved credit counseling agency.

Completion of necessary documentation and court petition

Once you are ready to file for bankruptcy, our attorney will help you complete the process. There is a formal set of documents and forms you must complete. These must be done according to the state and federal government’s rules. Mistakes, even simple miscommunications or typos, can lead to delays.

You can trust our Tucson bankruptcy attorneys to help you navigate this process to minimize any risks.

What Happens When You File Bankruptcy in Arizona?

Once you file bankruptcy, your situation can change substantially. Our goal is to prepare you every step of the way throughout this process. There are a few aspects that will happen right away once you start working with us.

Creditors stop calling

If a creditor calls you, provide them with our contact information. State you have retained an attorney. They cannot legally contact you after this point. The harassing stops.

Foreclosure is frozen

Bankruptcy will freeze any legal action against you. The bankruptcy court will then work to determine the best route forward in terms of continuing the foreclosure or reworking payments.

Wage garnishments are frozen

If you have wage garnishments pending or occurring, those will be frozen, depending on what they are and what provisions are set up.

At this point, you should stop using any of your credit cards or loans. The goal at this point, is to gather information and work with our Tucson bankruptcy attorney to move your petition forward. The process takes 3 to 6 months and provides you with a bit of a financial break. However, you should continue to make payments on any assets you plan to keep, including your mortgage, car loans, or other loans you have.

Disputes in Bankruptcy Court

After filing the necessary documentation, the court will give creditors an opportunity to come forward to make claims against you. During this process, your creditors, even those that you may not have included in the bankruptcy, have the legal right to move forward with action against you.

Our bankruptcy attorney in Tucson, AZ, will work closely with you throughout this process. All creditors will receive a notice from the court that you have filed for bankruptcy. They then have the ability to dispute your claims for any level of concern they have.

Creditors who you owe may want to pursue other legal actions against you. They will no longer be able to collect on this debt if the court discharges it through bankruptcy. That is why some may file legal action to dispute your action.

There are times when proceedings, settlement efforts, and trials can occur related to these debts. This is not always the case. Many times, no legal action is taken in any way.

What to Bring With You When You File Bankruptcy in Tucson at Our Law Office

When you visit our law office, bring with you any information about your debts possible. We need to give you accurate information and advice. To do that, we must be able to see all the information available. We encourage you to do the following:

  • Bring your state-issued driver’s license or identification. All parties to the bankruptcy must show proof of identification.
  • A list of all of your debtors. When possible, bring their name, the amount you owe, and their address. We may be able to pull additional information from your credit report. List the type of debt it is.
  • A list of your income. Provide us with what your income is, how often you are paid, and your employer’s information.
  • A list of your monthly living expenses. This should include your rent or mortgage payment, all utility costs, any other bills you pay each month, as well as allowance for food and necessities.
  • A list of all assets you own. Not all of these assets will make it onto your bankruptcy petition. However, as your attorney, we advise you to provide as much information as possible.

Once we have this information, we can work through the Means Test and then work with you to determine what property may be exempt. From this information, our attorneys will be able to provide you with guidance on whether or not you should file bankruptcy, as well as what type of bankruptcy may be best suited for your situation.

Let Us Know About the Challenges You Are Facing

We are your attorney. As a result, any information you provide to us is protected. Provide us with as much information as possible about your situation. That includes:

  • Any information that may provide insight into why this debt occurred or how it built up
  • Any data about significant changes in your life, including divorce, loss of a family member, changes in employment, business-related losses
  • Details about your debts, such as why they have increased
  • Limitations, including disability information related to your inability to work

When you meet with our bankruptcy attorney in Tucson, our legal team will also offer insight into all types of debt you have and whether or not they may be a part of your bankruptcy petition. If you have student loan debt backed by the federal government, back taxes you owe to the IRS, or owe child and alimony support, make sure to provide that information to our legal team immediately.

The Types of Debts That May Be Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When you meet with our attorney for bankruptcy evaluation, a core component of what we will do for you is fully understand your financial situation. You do not have to include all debts within your bankruptcy filing. If you wish to maintain the ownership of an asset (that fits within all exemptions) you may be able to keep that debt out of your bankruptcy.

We will evaluate all types of debt you have to help you determine what to include. Some examples of the debts you should consider including in Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona include:

  • Credit card debt: This includes any type of credit card debt you have. It is often discharged fully in Chapter 7.
  • Medical bills: Medical bills, whether they are from your or your dependents, may be included. This includes doctor’s costs, equipment costs, medication charges, hospital care, and much more.
  • Business debts: If you have personal liability for business debts, such as a car loan or a credit line, then this can be included in your personal bankruptcy filing.
  • Personal loans: Any type of unsecured personal loan, whether it is from a bank, specialized lender, online lender, or other provider, is often a component of this process.
  • Collection accounts: Most types of collections can be included as well. This includes past-due debts, old utility bills, debts from medical providers, or others who have filed a judgment against you or put you into a collection program.
  • Payday loans: Any type of short-term loan that is unsecured, including those you may have written a check for, may be included in your bankruptcy filing.

If you have older tax debt at the federal, state, or local level, mention that to us. We also want to help you with any other types of debts you have. Remember that not all types of debts can be discharged in bankruptcy.

The Benefits of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

While many people pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are benefits to Chapter 13. When you meet with our Tucson bankruptcy attorney, we will discuss this option with you. Some of the benefits you may have include:

  • Asset protection: Your assets are not seized or sold. Even if you own a significant portion of them, you will not lose them outright in bankruptcy.
  • Mortgage help: in some situations, the court will work with you to get mortgage payments caught up in Chapter 13 (something that is much harder to do in Chapter 7). If you want to remain in your home, this could be a very important decision for you. You may have 3 to 5 years to get caught up on this process.
  • Car loans: You can often keep your vehicle and, in some cases, negotiate lower interest rates or lower payments on it. You may be able to reduce what you owe to fair market value, which could be beneficial if you are upside down on your car loan.

If you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you still need financial help, our Tucson bankruptcy attorneys will work very closely with you to determine if filing a Chapter 13 works in your favor. Many of our clients find that this is the best long-term solution since it can protect your assets.

Contact Our Bankruptcy Attorney in Tucson Now

Want A Fresh Start can provide you with the hands-on support you need to determine if bankruptcy is the best decision for you and what legal steps you need to take to process it. Do not make this decision without all of the information you need. Contact our Tucson bankruptcy attorney now to discuss your case and know you are in good hands.


What is an automatic stay in bankruptcy?

An automatic stay is the legal terminology used once a person files for bankruptcy. Once you file, the automatic stay will:

  • Prevents any collection attempts from occurring
  • Freezes any foreclosure activity
  • Prevents any phone calls from your creditors
  • Stops all lawsuits until the bankruptcy moves forward
  • Stops all wage garnishments

Once you file, you obtain this right. However, our bankruptcy attorneys in Arizona can also help you to put protections in place sooner. Reach out to us now.

Does filing bankruptcy hurt your credit?

Yes, filing bankruptcy will create a notification on your credit report that lets creditors know you proceeded with this legal action. Bankruptcies will remain on credit reports for 7 to 10 years. During that time, you may find it difficult to obtain a new loan. However, many lenders begin to offer loans and credit lines to individuals within a matter of a few years or sooner after your bankruptcy discharge. This allows you to work towards rebuilding your credit.

Will my business be impacted if I file personal bankruptcy?

This is dependent on the structure of your business. If you own a corporation, this is typically separate from your personal income. We encourage you to work with our Tucson bankruptcy attorney to determine if there is any potential impact on your personal business and what steps you can take to protect your company.

How long does it take to file bankruptcy?

When you meet with our Tucson bankruptcy lawyer, we will provide you with the necessary information, help you with the Means Test, and provide you with insight into the credit counseling requirements. You can file within a matter of days. The entire process typically takes 3 to 6 months, though it may be sooner than this.

What if I am not sure if I should file for bankruptcy?

Questioning this is an understandable situation. That is why meeting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in Arizona is critical. We can explain the benefits and consequences based on your specific financial situation and your life. We encourage you to meet with us. Then, consider where you will be in 3 to 5 years if you file and where you could be if you do not file. Let us answer all of your questions for you.