Knoxville Bankruptcy Attorney


The stress of financial difficulties can be a destructive force.  For many people, bankruptcy can provide an umbrella when the proverbial rainy day appears. The decision on when to file a bankruptcy is an important decision that must not be taken lightly. Many times people will rush into filing a bankruptcy petition without getting complete and trustworthy information. Alternatively, many people wait too long and waste valuable resources, many of which can be protected throughout the bankruptcy process. Everyone’s situation is different and it is a good idea to ask your attorney questions in order to determine when the best time to file for bankruptcy relief may be. Here are some warning signs that it is time to consider bankruptcy:


Do you have questions about filing for bankruptcy? Wondering if it’s the right thing for you? Call us today for a FREE consultation with an attorney. We can explain your options and help you determine if you should move forward or not. Call today!

Here are some warning signs that it may be time to file bankruptcy:

Are you facing some or all of these situations?  Call the McKellar Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

Casey CarriganHow Do I Get Started?

Many people have friends or family members who have filed for bankruptcy.  While these people can be good sources of information, you should not assume that a friend’s case is similar to yours.  To begin the process to file bankruptcy, your first step should be to contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area.  We offer free consultations at The McKellar Law Firm, PLLC.  We will discuss your monthly income, monthly expenses, the amount and nature of your debts, and what you hope to accomplish.  Based on this information, we can discuss the best course of action for your financial situation.  Obtaining a credit report can help you make sure you haven’t missed any debts.

If bankruptcy seems like a good option for you, then you will need to complete a credit counseling course prior to filing your bankruptcy petition.  Your certificate of completion will be valid for 180 days after taking the course.  These classes are available by telephone or online.  If you are filing jointly with a spouse, you both can take the course together.  The course takes around sixty to ninety minutes to complete, and most courses allow you to save your work and return later.  A list of frequently asked questions about the credit counseling course requirement can be found here.   Approved providers of this service can be found here.  Your attorney will advise you that you must take and complete a second course called the Debtor Education of Financial Management course after your case is filed.  Completion of the second course is required to receive your bankruptcy discharge of debts.

How Does Bankruptcy Help Me?

Gathering all of the necessary information and documents that your attorney needs from you to prepare your bankruptcy petition can be a difficult task.  However, the benefits of bankruptcy for many people are enormous and make the process worth all of the hard work.  What are some of the benefits of bankruptcy?  How does it help me and my family?  A major benefit is the discharge of unsecured debt following a successful completion of a bankruptcy.  Besides the discharge, there are many other benefits.  For starters, your creditors are prohibited from contacting you regarding the collection of a debt properly listed in your bankruptcy petition.  This provides you with relief from phone calls and letters. The creditor must either contact the court or your attorney, but cannot contact you.

Another benefit of bankruptcy is that you are generally able to return vehicles or other secured property that you cannot afford.  Are you upside down on a vehicle and can no longer make the payments on your auto loan?  Generally, qualifying debtors will be able to arrange for the return of the vehicle and relief from the debt still owed on it.

What if you want to keep property, but can’t afford the terms of the original financing agreement?  Many times, your attorney will be able to negotiate better terms, such as a lower monthly payment, a lower interest rate, or the reduction of the principal.

Won’t I lose personal property if I file bankruptcy? Probably not.  A big benefit of filing bankruptcy is that most of the time, you will not lose your personal property.  Exempt property is property that is protected by law from the claims of creditors.  Exempt property in Tennessee can include personal property up to $10,000.00, clothing, storage containers, school books, pictures, portraits, health savings accounts, pensions, tools of your trade, and a limited homestead exemption.

The Automatic Stay

How will filing impact my creditors?  The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as you file your bankruptcy petition, and it stops most debt-collection activity. During the stay, most creditors cannot file suit or pursue a suit already filed, contact you via telephone or mail, and usually must stop wage garnishments.  The bankruptcy clerk will give notice of your case to all creditors whose names and addresses are properly provided by the debtor.  The stay does not apply to all debts and does not include alimony and child support.

Do you have questions about filing for bankruptcy? Wondering if it’s the right thing for you? Call us today for a FREE consultation with an attorney. We can explain your options and help you determine if you should move forward or not. Call today!


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Do you need a lawyer in the Knoxville area to help you with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?  Chapter 7 is the most common bankruptcy filed by individuals with primarily consumer debt. Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as the “fresh start” bankruptcy option.  Many people who qualify for a Chapter 7 can have their unsecured debt discharged without losing any assets.

How do I know if I qualify for a Chapter 7?  Generally, there are two ways to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The first is to earn below the median income for a Tennessee family of equivalent size. Income will include any earnings from employment or other sources, including contributions to household expenses from others.

Even if you make over the median income for a family your size that does not necessarily mean that you won’t qualify for Chapter 7. Under the Bankruptcy Code, you may still qualify depending on your monthly expenses and the amount of surplus income that you have left over.  Your attorney will use the information you provide about your income and expenses to complete a Means Test to determine if you are likely to be successful in filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Do you need a Knoxville bankruptcy attorney for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?  Call us today for a free consultation with an attorney.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

Do you need a lawyer in the Knoxville area to help you with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is very different from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Depending on your financial situation you may be required to or prefer to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a wage earner’s plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. You will work with your attorney to propose a repayment plan to make payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee over three to five years.  Your plan payments will be paid directly to the Chapter 13 Trustee, who then distributes payments to creditors.  You will have no direct contact with creditors during your Chapter 13, unless a debt is specifically directed to be paid outside of the plan.

During this time, creditors will not be able to collect a debt directly from you if you have properly listed the debt in the bankruptcy petition.  Creditors file a proof of claim in your case in order to be paid by the Chapter 13 Trustee.

Chapter 13 is preferable to Chapter 7 in some situations.  Chapter 13 offers people a chance to save their home from foreclosure, because they are able to put off foreclosure proceedings and catch up on delinquent mortgage payments over time.  You must still make all mortgage payments that come due during the Chapter 13 plan on time, either as part of your plan payment or as a separate payment.  Another advantage of Chapter 13 is that you can extend payments on secured debts over the life of your plan, allowing in many cases for lower payments or interest rates.

Do you need a Knoxville Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney?  Call us today for a free consultation with an attorney.

Please click on the links below to learn more:

Do you need a Knoxville bankruptcy lawyer? Call us today for a free consultation.


This is a legal advertisement from a debt relief agency that provides bankruptcy assistance to consumer debtors as defined by 11 USC § 101(12A). These bankruptcy web pages are meant to provide general information about the bankruptcy process. The information on these web pages is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship with the McKellar Law Firm, PLLC. These web pages are presented for general information and education purposes only, and should not be used as substitute for legal advice from a bankruptcy attorney who has met with you to discuss your particular situation. We encourage you to take advantage of our free consultations.

The McKellar Law Firm, PLLC makes no representation about the results or success of your particular bankruptcy, should you choose to file. Each case is different. While web pages such as these can provide a general “roadmap” of the bankruptcy process, many factors will affect your unique case. Please call us at (865) 566-0125 to set up a free consultation regarding your case.