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Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Madison

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Badger Bankruptcy LLC logo
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Badger Bankruptcy LLC

2453 Atwood Ave, Suite 104, Madison, WI 53704
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Badger Bankruptcy LLC is a full-service law office helping clients in Madison with debt management issues. Jenna Morrison, the firm's owner, practices solely commercial bankruptcy. She assists clients in resolving disputes with creditors and represents them in filing chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies. The lawyer also works with clients to defend them against judgments and FDCPA violations and set up repayment plans under Wisconsin Statute §128.21. Morrison, who was born in Madison, started the firm in 2015.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (12)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (5)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (2)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Bankruptcy Law Services logo
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Bankruptcy Law Services

2453 Atwood Ave Suite 104, Madison, WI 53704
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  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Bankruptcy Law Services in Madison has more than four decades of experience in bankruptcy debt relief. The firm is led by Attorney Mike Rynes, a bankruptcy lawyer who has served Wisconsin residents since 1980. The company is a certified debt relief agency. It offers representation and legal advice to clients considering bankruptcy options and requiring debt relief. Rynes helps clients understand the exemption laws in Wisconsin, the Bankruptcy Code provisions, and tools for reorganizing debt.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (327)
Google
5.0 / 5 (4)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Brophy Law Office logo
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Brophy Law Office

118 E Washington Ave Ste 300, Madison, WI 53703
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Student Loan Debt
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Brophy Law Office is a bankruptcy law firm based in Madison, Wisconsin, that works with businesses and individuals undergoing financial distress. The agency represents clients from a wide range of industries, such as telecommunications, biotechnology, and retail. The team of bankruptcy lawyers in Madison drafts loan restructuring documents and forbearance agreements for businesses undergoing reorganization. Attorneys also help clients file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, negotiate with creditors, and liquidate real estate and other key assets.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Buss Law Offices, LLC logo
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Buss Law Offices, LLC

301 N. Third Street, Watertown, WI 53094
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Buss Law Offices, LLC serves clients throughout Madison. It handles bankruptcy cases, assisting people in understanding their legal options during the bankruptcy filing process. It handles chapters 7, 13, and 128 bankruptcies, putting an end to creditor harassment, wage garnishment, repossession, foreclosures, and evictions. It handles bankruptcy cases in four steps, which include consultations, stopping creditor calls, signing and filing, and reestablishing clients' credit. Todd C. Buss, the firm's principal, is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
4.5 / 5 (22)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Consumer First Legal Network logo
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Consumer First Legal Network

8253 Mayo Dr, Madison, WI 53719
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  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Consumer First Legal Network caters to individuals and families in Madison and its surrounding communities. It helps clients overcome debt and stop creditor harassment through bankruptcy, debt collection, or credit counseling. Its team members talk with clients regarding their creditors and the amount they owe to develop a strategy that works for them. They also offer litigation support, credit repair, and consumer protection. Harold E. Stafford, one of the attorneys from the firm, carries more than 12 years of legal experience.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

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5.0
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Debt Advisors Law Offices logo
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Debt Advisors Law Offices

2810 Crossroads Dr Ste 4000 M, Madison, WI 53718
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Debt Advisors Law Offices is a Madison-based bankruptcy firm with seven offices located throughout Wisconsin. The firm's services primarily focus on ending wage garnishment, foreclosure, and vehicle repossession by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Attorneys also provide clients with post-filing assistance, guiding them through the processes of applying for home loans and repairing their credit scores. The legal team may be able to claim exemptions for clients with veterans' benefits or federal disability.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.9 / 5 (49)
Facebook
4.3 / 5 (17)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Eastbridge Law Group, LLP logo
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Eastbridge Law Group, LLP

101 Dempsey Road, Madison, WI 53714
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Creditor Representation

Business Description

Eastbridge Law Group, LLP, serves clients in the Madison area. It provides legal representation to businesses and individuals with bankruptcy cases and handles chapter 7, chapter 13, and chapter 128 filings. The firm is also experienced in the areas of family law, criminal defense, estate planning, and immigration law. One of its attorneys, Nancy Thome, has been in the bankruptcy and estate planning legal field for over 25 years. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.6 / 5 (51)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (5)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. logo
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Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

1 E Main St Ste 500, Madison, WI 53703
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  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
  • Creditor Representation
  • Corporate Restructuring

Business Description

Godfrey and Kahn SC is a bankruptcy firm that has been serving the people of Madison, Wisconsin, for more than 60 years. With four regional offices, the firm represents clients in corporate reorganizations and informal workouts, assisting both secured and unsecured creditors. Agents also represent sellers and buyers of distressed businesses. The legal team has experience in most aspects of creditors' rights. Godfrey and Kahn practice labor and employment litigation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Murphy Law Firm logo
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Murphy Law Firm

5250 East Terrace Drive, Madison, WI 53718
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Madison-based Murphy Law Firm counsels and represents clients in their bankruptcy cases. It can help stop foreclosures and repossessions and reorganize debt. William Murphy, the owner of the law firm, has been practicing in the area of bankruptcy law since 2001 and has filed thousands of cases under chapter 7 (which can help eliminate debt all at once) and chapter 13 bankruptcy (which handles debts via secure payments without interest charges).

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
5.0 / 5 (3)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Murray Law Office logo
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Murray Law Office

Suite 800 10 East Doty Street, Madison, WI 53703
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  • Credit Card Debt
  • Debt Settlement
  • Repossession

Business Description

Murray Law Office has been helping clients in Madison in reducing or eliminating their debts under the bankruptcy code since 1993. It assists clients in filing for bankruptcy, which stops several creditor actions, such as collection calls, foreclosure, garnishment, and repossession. Jim C. Murray represents clients in Southern Wisconsin courts and the federal courts. Murray has won state and federal appeals and jury trials. Murray can also craft a strategy that suits clients' legal needs, whether resolving a debt issue through settlement or litigation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (4)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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––
Muter Law logo
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Muter Law

908 8th Street, Ste 1, Baraboo, WI 53913
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Muter Law represents Madison residents. The firm was founded by Misty Muter to help clients lessen their stress from bankruptcy, family, and criminal law cases. Its attorneys provide legal advice to help resolve debts on mortgages and loans. They analyze their clients’ financial circumstances and help them file for a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. Jesse Leichsenring, a lawyer of the firm, has been in practice for over two decades, during which he served as the Wisconsin Dells municipal judge for four years.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.5 / 5 (27)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Neider & Boucher logo
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Neider & Boucher

401 Charmany Dr Ste 310, Madison, WI 53719
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Neider and Boucher is a law firm that was founded in 1995 in Madison, Wisconsin and provides bankruptcy services to credit unions, banks, and other financial institutions. Its bankruptcy attorneys in Madison offer assistance with creditors' rights issues and lien foreclosures, taking legal action where necessary. The firm handles mortgage foreclosures, collections, and repossession services for creditors in business and consumer matters. Neider and Boucher also offers litigation in dispute resolution and international business transactions.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Pittman & Pittman Law Offices, LLC logo
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Pittman & Pittman Law Offices, LLC

222 N Midvale Blvd. Ste 16, Madison, WI 53705
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Pittman and Pittman Law Offices LLC is a bankruptcy firm in Madison and La Crosse, Wisconsin, that has served farmers, businesses, and individuals for over 45 years. Its bankruptcy services solve creditor harassment and wage garnishments by allowing individuals to discharge debts in exchange for assets. Pittman and Pittman also handles Chapter 13 proceedings, providing repayment plans for clients seeking to restructure their finances. The firm's Chapter 12 filing services help agricultural business owners avoid farm liquidation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (28)
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (19)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Detail
Rogers & Westrick, S.C. logo
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Rogers & Westrick, S.C.

93 N. Main St., Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Rogers & Westrick, S.C., provides legal services to individuals, families, and business owners in Madison and nearby metros. One of its practice areas is bankruptcy law, helping clients resolve chapters 7, 13, and 128 disputes. The legal office represents debtors during court proceedings and assists them in processing the needed documents and developing debt relief strategies. Its team also litigates family law issues related to alimony, divorce, and child support and custody. The firm brings over 20 years of industry experience.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (8)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Rolsma Law Firm logo
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Rolsma Law Firm

1821 Milton Avenue #2, Janesville, WI 53545
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Rolsma Law Firm helps people from Madison and nearby areas who are seeking representation in chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. It helps individuals and businesses prevent their creditors from taking legal actions, such as repossession, wage garnishment, and foreclosure. The firm also handles personal injury cases. Its principal attorney, Carl Rolsma, has been practicing law since 1994. He aims to provide reliable bankruptcy advice and representation by regularly attending meetings about the latest developments in bankruptcy law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.7 / 5 (13)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (8)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Schleisner Law Office logo
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Schleisner Law Office

23 N. Main Street, Janesville, WI 53545
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Schleisner Law Office is a female-owned firm representing individuals and businesses in the Madison metro. The firm handles bankruptcy matters such as filing for chapters 7 and 13 proceedings and helping clients recover from debt. Its lawyer also takes on debt consolidation, providing clients an alternative to bankruptcy with monthly payment plans to consolidate unpaid debts, including department store cards, credit cards, and overdue utility bills. Schleisner Law Office has over 26 years of resolving clients' legal problems.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (12)
Google
4.2 / 5 (9)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Zaleski Law Firm logo
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The Zaleski Law Firm

10 East Doty Street, Madison, WI 53703
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Located in Madison, the Zaleski Law Firm is a bankruptcy law firm that has been providing legal representation to individuals seeking bankruptcy relief since 1993. Steven W. Zaleski has experience in handling foreclosures, eliminating debts, and preventing harassment from creditors. He offers consultations where he talks about the clients' best options along with their possible results and files either a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case for them. Zaleski's firm caters to clients from Adams, Columbia, Dane, Grant, Green, Lafayette, Rock, and Sauk Counties.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Usman Law Firm, LLC logo
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Usman Law Firm, LLC

515 Junction Road, Madison, WI 53717
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Usman Law Firm, LLC, aims to protect the rights of clients against auto insurance companies and abusive debt collectors. The founder, Zeshan Usman, is an award-winning bankruptcy lawyer who is experienced in helping clients ease financial burdens, including debt and tax problems. He can assist in filing chapter 7 and chapter 13 and in the subsequent proceedings. His other practice areas are personal injury claims and cases involving car and automobile accidents, dog bites, hazardous property and premises liability, and medical malpractice.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (325)
Google
4.9 / 5 (10)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (2)

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Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Watton Law Group logo
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Watton Law Group

301 West Wisconsin Ave. 5th Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53203
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Bankruptcy

Business Description

For over 20 years, Watton Law Group has been helping the people of Madison and nearby areas with debt or financial difficulties. Its lawyers protect clients from creditor harassment and help them determine whether filing for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is suitable to their situation. They also handle class action and consumer protection cases. Michael J. Maloney, one of the firm's partners, is in charge of its bankruptcy department. He is admitted to practice in the state courts of Wisconsin, Missouri, and Utah.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (394)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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West & Dunn Attorneys at Law logo
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West & Dunn Attorneys at Law

114 East Main Street, Suite 211, Waunakee, WI 53597
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

West & Dunn, Attorneys at Law, has been working with the people of Madison and the neighboring communities since 2016. Its attorneys have a variety of practice areas, including bankruptcy law. They help individuals and businesses overcome financial challenges by filing chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petitions. The legal team acts as clients' advocate and advisor at each stage of the process. In addition to bankruptcy law, the firm devotes a significant portion of its practice to processing veterans' disability claims.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a bankruptcy attorney do?

Bankruptcy attorneys help clients understand whether they qualify for bankruptcy and what their best options are. They also prepare and file petitions, answer questions during the proceedings, and educate clients about potential best steps for a positive bankruptcy outcome. Bankruptcy attorneys might also file motions or paperwork if creditors dispute the bankruptcy, or to stop creditors from taking collections actions forbidden by the bankruptcy.

What happens when you file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal process that individuals, married couples, or businesses can enact when they are no longer able to pay creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, filers are allowed to reduce debt to more manageable levels to best pay off money owed.

Once the bankruptcy process is initiated, debt collectors can no longer seek repayments outside of the arrangements detailed in the bankruptcy settlement. Some forms of bankruptcy result in the liquidation of assets to pay back debts, while others allow filers to retain most of their possessions and investments. Many types of unsecured debt can be managed with bankruptcy filings, but not all.

Can you file bankruptcy on student loans?

Under most circumstances, student loans aren't dischargeable and aren't included in bankruptcy proceedings. In rare cases, it may be possible to eliminate student loans through bankruptcy, but only if the courts determine that continuing to pay the loans would impose an undue hardship. Meeting the criteria for undue hardship is challenging, and most bankruptcy filers don't qualify.

What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a blanket term that refers to any kind of dishonest bankruptcy proceeding, which can include:

  • Hiding assets by transferring them to another person or entity
  • Intentionally omitting assets when reporting to the court
  • Destroying or withholding required documents
  • Knowingly making false statements to bankruptcy trustees or creditors

How long is bankruptcy on public record?

How long bankruptcy stays on public record depends on the kind of bankruptcy filing in question. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the record for 10 years as there isn't necessarily a repayment component. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the record for seven years as some obligations are repaid following filing based on the terms of a discharge settlement.

Does bankruptcy clear tax debt?

Bankruptcy can clear tax debt, depending on the circumstances. Taxes are dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not Chapter 13, and only if the tax debt is:

  • Federal income tax debt related to current properly filed tax returns
  • Honestly incurred with no fraud or evasion
  • At least three years old
  • Assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy filings

Existing liens are not eliminated with bankruptcy.


Can they take my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In many cases, it's possible to keep a vehicle following Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Motor Vehicle Exemption allows filers who own their vehicles outright or who are up to date with payments to keep their cars. However, those behind on making car payments are required to arrange a repayment plan. Otherwise, the vehicle may be repossessed as a part of the proceedings.

How bad is it to file bankruptcy twice?

Although possible, due to the damaging nature of bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy more than once isn't recommended. Filing multiple times puts a serious burden on one's credit report, making it harder to get a loan, buy a house, buy a car, or even open credit cards.

Note that filing for bankruptcy isn't something that can be done at a filer's leisure. There are time limits following bankruptcy cases that dictate when it's permissible to file again. For example, after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filers must wait at least eight years before filing Chapter 7 again or four years before filing Chapter 13.

Can anyone file bankruptcy?

Anyone can file bankruptcy, but there are limitations regarding which form of bankruptcy is permissible. Qualifying for Chapter 7 requires a means test that evaluates income, debt levels, and income left over each month after paying basic obligations. Income over the median set by the court and monthly income that allows meaningful payments toward unsecured debt can disqualify filers from Chapter 7, which is generally the preferred form of bankruptcy due to the possibility of a full discharge. Anyone can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the terms are less favorable. In most cases, some debts must be repaid following a successful filing. Chapter 13 is also more likely to result in asset forfeiture.

How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Bankruptcies are noted on credit reports. How much a bankruptcy might drop a person's credit score depends on how high the score was to begin with, but generally speaking, the hit can be as much as 100 to 200 points. Often scores are already dropping because people filing for bankruptcy may have already missed payments on debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are listed on credit reports for seven years from the filing date, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies are listed for 10 years from the filing date. This is because Chapter 13 bankruptcies require at least partial payment of debts owed.

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy petition causes an automatic stay. This legally stops creditors from taking further action to collect debt, including garnishing wages or foreclosing on property. Going through a bankruptcy successfully means that debts included in the bankruptcy are discharged and don't have to be paid back, except as provided in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Bankruptcy can help someone recover from financial duress so they can make better decisions and improve financial situations in the future. Disadvantages can include temporary lower credit scores and limitations on spending and financing.

What's the difference between debt settlement and bankruptcy?

Debt settlement occurs when people negotiate with individual creditors. The creditor agrees to take a payment that's lower than what someone owes and call the debt “paid in full.” Bankruptcy is a legal process that causes debts to be dismissed after someone proves they don't currently have the means to pay their debts as owed. Typically, someone can't enter into bankruptcy and also settle some debts, because the court would see that as favoring one creditor over another.

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