Michigan Bankruptcy Laws from Michigan-Bankruptcy.com | Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyer Walter Metzen

 Detroit Bankruptcy Lawyer Walter Metzen

has prepared this comprehensive information bankruptcy site to help come to terms with consumer debt and bankruptcy. If consumer debt has you buried, if creditors are calling at all hours, if you have been threatened with lawsuits and other collection activities, you will find information in this bankruptcy site to help you.

This site is about credit management, debt relief,  Chapter 7 Liquidation Bankruptcy, and Chapter 13 Wage Earner Bankruptcy. DetroitBankruptcyLawyer.com Attorney Walter Metzen is an experienced  bankruptcy lawyer who  specializes in helping consumers with credit, debt, Chapter 7 Straight Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Wage Earner (Repayment Plan/Bill consolidation) Bankruptcy.

Detroit Bankruptcy Lawyer .com Attorney Walter Metzen Bankruptcy Law Office is conveniently located just one block from the United States Bankruptcy Court in Detroit Michigan. Suite 3156 Penobscot Bldg., Detroit MI 48226. The US Bankruptcy Court for the entire Metro Detroit area is located at 211 West Fort Street, Detroit Michigan 48226. Call 313-962-4656 or 888-Debt-Gone for a Free Consultation.   Certain basic concepts apply under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The case is commenced by filing a petition with the bankruptcy court. The petition must list all of your assets, liabilities and other information required under the code. You cannot pick and choose which creditors to include on the petition, but that doesn't mean you cannot keep your home or vehicle, as will be explained later. All creditors must be listed. You may file as an individual or as husband and wife. Married couples do not have to file together if substantially all debts are solely in one spouse's name.
Your creditors can force you into bankruptcy. This is called an involuntary proceeding. For the most part, involuntary proceedings are confined to business cases. Almost all consumer cases are filed voluntarily. Approximately 75% of the cases I file a Chapter 7 "wipe-out debt" cases, the other 25% are Chapter 13 "reorganization or repayment plans" in which the debtor (or husband and wife) make payments to a Chapter 13 Trustee for a 3 to 5 year time period. Most Chapter 13 cases I file are for debtors who are trying to prevent a foreclosure of their home or repossession of their vehicle.  Some Chapter 13 cases are filed because the debtor's are not eligible to file a Chapter 7 either because they have filed a prior Chapter 7 in the previous six year or they have too many assets or make too much money or because they could pay their creditors a good percentage of what they owe with a Chapter 13 plan without too much of a burden on their way of life. Some clients will file a Chapter 13 repayment plan even if they qualify for a Chapter 7 just because they want to pay their creditors. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 will stop creditor action such as a foreclosure or sheriff's sale, utility shut-off, vehicle repossession or wage garnishment. See below or link to my detailed frequently asked questions page for answers to more of your questions.  Feel free to e-mail me, come in to see me for a free consultation or call me locally at (313) 962-4656 or toll free at 888-Debt Gone or 888-4Walter.

The filing of the petition invokes what is known as the automatic stay. This means that your creditors are immediately prevented from doing anything further to compel collection of a debt. The harassing calls, garnishments, law suits, foreclosures, repossessions or shutting off of utility services are all stopped. The "stay" is designed to give you time to sort out your affairs free from the harassment of creditors.

In the petition, your debts are classified as either priority, secured or unsecured. Each is treated differently depending on which chapter is filed. Priority debts in consumer cases are usually limited to government tax liabilities and support obligations. Priority creditors have certain rights to payment over other creditors.

Secured debts are backed by property known as collateral, and typically consist of auto loans and mortgages. The creditor has a lien, or right to recover the property upon default. In most cases, liens attach to property by virtue of a written security agreement signed when the pledged property is purchased, or upon obtaining a loan.

Unsecured debts are almost everything else. They include credit cards, back utilities, medical bills, store charges and unsecured loans. Unsecured creditors do not have a lien or interest in your property. If you purchased certain property with a store charge or credit card, the seller cannot repossess that property on your default without a security agreement.


Detroit Bankruptcy Lawyer .com Attorney Walter Metzen Bankruptcy Law Office is conveniently located just one block from the United States Bankruptcy Court in Detroit Michigan. Suite 3156 Penobscot Bldg., Detroit MI 48226. The US Bankruptcy Court for the entire Metro Detroit area is located at 211 West Fort Street, Detroit Michigan 48226. Call 313-962-4656 or 888-Debt-Gone for a Free Consultation.Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Click here for a Warning if you are considering Filing a Bankruptcy or are facing Foreclosure on your Home.

Generally speaking, the chief alternatives to bankruptcy are some form of negotiation and settlement with one or more of your creditors, perhaps by making payments through a nonprofit credit counseling service. Anytime you are dealing with alternatives to bankruptcy, be sure that you do not put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, do not let a foreclosure sale occur or allow a judgment to be entered against you without first finding out your options under bankruptcy laws.

Nearly all large companies such as credit card issuers have limited or no resources for dealing with individual borrowers. Many of my clients relate to me that they have called and written to their creditors to attempt to work out a method of paying their debts. Most often, these people find that no matter how good their reason for wanting to work out their debts, and no matter how hard they try to pay their creditors what they can afford, the creditors simply will not �work� with them. This is because these creditors are vast bureaucracies that have no method and no personnel to deal with people on an individual basis. There are some limited exceptions, however. If your situation is like one of the following, you may want to try to work the problem out without filing bankruptcy:

  • Deed in Lieu of foreclosure. If you have one mortgage on a home or other piece of real estate and you cannot sell the property and simply wish to relieve yourself of the mortgage obligation, it is possible that you can negotiate a deed in lieu of foreclosure. This is an agreement where you give the property to the creditor, who, in turn, releases you from the debt. This saves the mortgage company the cost of foreclosing against you and allows you to walk away from the debt without further responsibility. You can try to negotiate this on your own, or you can hire an attorney to do it for you. Generally, mortgage lenders will not agree to this arrangement unless there is some equity in the property or the property is at least worth the amount that is owed. The mortgage holder will not accept the property if there is any other debt on the property, such as a second mortgage or a judgment lien.

    It is important to note automobile lenders most often will not release you from the debt upon surrender of the vehicle. You can expect that following the surrender, the vehicle lender will seek to collect the deficiency (the amount of the debt remaining after sale of the vehicle.)

  • Re-amortization of Past-Due Mortgage Balance. If there is a good reason why you fell behind in payments (such as temporary job loss, illness, or injury), a mortgage holder will sometimes consider adjusting the mortgage so that the past due amount is added in to the total and the term of payments is extended (maybe they will put the payments at the end of the loan). The creditor will generally consider this only where your debt-to-income ratio is acceptable and there is no other mortgage debt that is in arrears.

  • Negotiation of a Single Debt. If there is just one (or a few) old debts you are trying to clean up on your credit report, it is possible that the creditor or its collection agency will be willing to settle their debts with you for significantly less than the total amount that you owe. This is usually only true of older debts, which may have been bought from the original creditor by another company . Again, you can negotiate a settlement yourself, or hire an attorney to assist you and represent your interests. I usually don't do this because I've found it to be of little help to my clients unless they can afford to pay the creditor right away with a lump sum of money such as after getting a tax refund. Bankruptcy is usually simpler, quicker, cheaper and easier on my clients mental health.

  • Credit Counseling Services. Credit Counseling services can sometimes help, although most of my clients who have tried have failed and eventually just filed Bankruptcy. There are a number of nonprofit credit counseling services available in the yellow pages under �credit counseling. These services negotiate with your creditors to the extent that they are able. Generally, they can negotiate more favorable terms only with unsecured creditors (debts for which there is no collateral), such as credit card issuers. The credit counseling service attempts to get your unsecured creditors to settle for less than the full amount of the debt that you owe, and also tries to get the creditors to give you a lower interest rate. Some credit card companies will agree to these types of terms so long as they are getting their payments through the credit counseling service. However, other creditors are simply unwilling to work with credit counseling services, and the credit counseling service has no way in which to force the creditors to work with it. To be sure that you are selecting a reputable firm, be sure to ask whether or not you will be held responsible for late charges or other fees if the service does not make their monthly distributions on time. You can also ask for references from current or former clients. Unfortunately Credit Counseling Agencies have no real POWER to deal with your creditors.  When you file a bankruptcy the ball goes into your court.

  • Mortgage Assistance Companies and other Scam Artists. Unfortunately, there are a growing number of companies that send advertisements to people with pending foreclosure actions. These mortgage assistance companies, who get your address from the court records, promise that they can stop your foreclosure and help you avoid a bankruptcy. Please be very careful of these companies. The vast majority of the time, these companies simply prey on people who are in a desperate situation, taking advantage of your desire to keep your home and avoid bankruptcy. Typically, the mortgage assistance company will require a payment (usually one or two months mortgage payments) and will promise to obtain another mortgage loan to pay off your existing loan or to negotiate with your mortgage company to stop the foreclosure. They will wait until just before (unfortunately sometimes AFTER) the foreclosure sale to tell you that they were not able to help you, and that you should see a bankruptcy attorney. At that point, sometimes it is too late. You will be referred to a lawyer who has a good working relationship with the company, to whom you will need to pay even more money.

    If you choose to use one of these firms, be sure to ask for references of clients that for whom the company has been successful, and check these references. Also, do not put all of your hopes on this type of service until it is too late to file a bankruptcy that will stop the foreclosure.


  • "Do Nothing".  Your financial life may be so destitute that even if creditors got a judgment against you, it would be worthless. If you are older and receiving pension and/or social security and don't own many assets, you may be "judgment proof".  You'll probably still have to deal with creditor calls for awhile.

Free Bankruptcy Book

Bankruptcy Basics” is a free book prepared by the Bankruptcy Judges Division and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts as part of their Public Information Series. It is not prepared by the Bankruptcy Law Office of Walter Metzen.

This book should be used as a general overview of the bankruptcy process and not as specific legal advice. This book is not a replacement for the advice of a competent bankruptcy attorney, a fact this bankruptcy book itself states in its introduction. The Bankruptcy Law Office of Walter Metzen provides a free Bankruptcy attorney consultation, during which  you will be provided information based on your specific circumstances and current bankruptcy laws. Feel free to contact us by telephone at (800) 398-3328 or via email if you have any questions concerning the materials or filing for bankruptcy.

Please click the link below to review the book. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to review the materials.

Bankruptcy Basics



The Michigan Bankruptcy Law Office of Walter Metzen, offers each prospective client a free initial consultation to discuss your financial concerns as well as the possible need to file a petition for relief under the United State Bankruptcy Code. The purpose of the initial consultation is to inform you about the bankruptcy process in Michigan, whether you should file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 and how the United States Bankruptcy Code is designed to protect most if not all of your assets through exemptions.  In an effort to make the free consultation more productive, we ask that you bring certain financial information to the meeting, or better yet, complete and send the online Michigan Bankruptcy Consultation Form.


The list of creditors must be complete. It must include ALL of your creditors (including family members, taxes, car loans, mortgages and leases), in one column and the amount owed in the adjacent column. The monthly budget should contain a complete breakdown of your income and expenses.

In addition to the above, be prepared to provide our office with dollar values for certain assets, including your home (if you own), your vehicles, and any other substantial assets, whether real property or personal property. By providing us the opportunity to review your monthly budget and to gain some understanding of the value of your assets and how much you owe to your creditors, we will be better able to assess your situation and advise you appropriately. You may schedule an appointment by either completing the Michigan Bankruptcy Consultation Form, calling our offices directly at (313) 962-4656 or by requesting an appointment via email.


Contact a Detroit Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer that, not only fully understands the bankruptcy process, but also can realistically advise you of your options. Feel free to schedule your free initial consultation. During this time, we can discuss your case and I can help you take charge of your financial situation. CLICK HERE for a Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms

We are a Debt Relief Agency helping people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Let us help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

Bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen represents clients throughout Southeast Michigan, including the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Trenton, Troy, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Howell, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and all of the surrounding areas.