Client asks: Can I get rid of my parking tickets in a bankruptcy?
Lawyer answers: It depends on the type of bankruptcy case you are filing.
There are two kinds of bankruptcy cases that a person can file, Chapter 7 (debt elimination) and Chapter 13 (debt consolidation). A Chapter 7 case will eliminate MOST of your personal obligations on your debts. However, parking tickets are not discharged (eliminated) in a Chapter 7 case. Therefore, while a city like the City of Chicago, or other town, may not collect against you while the bankruptcy is pending, they can most definitely pursue you after you receive your discharge (case completion).
You can, however, receive a discharge of your parking tickets by way of a Chapter 13 reorganization of your debts. Municipal fines like parking tickets are called “unsecured” and so they will be treated like all the other unsecured debts (like credit cards and medical bills) and you will pay whatever percentage you are paying all the other unsecured debts. For example, if you have fines of $3000.00, and if you are paying 10 cents on the dollar to your unsecured creditors, you would pay $300.00 and receive a discharge on the balance of the $2,700.00 you owe. This is what Bankruptcy professionals call a “super-discharge.” It is rather super, don’t you think?!
The decision whether to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 case should be carefully weighed after carefully reviewing your financial situation and not simply based upon whether parking tickets can be eliminated. That is why a consultation with an experienced attorney such as an attorney from the Law Offices of Daniel J. Winter, is extremely important. Best of all, you can set up a free no-obligation first appointment with an experienced attorney just by calling our office.
Laxmi P. Sarathy
Law Offices of Daniel J. Winter
53 W. Jackson, Suite 725
Chicago, IL 60604