Bankruptcy is a court proceeding that can give individuals and entities much relief from overwhelming financial pressures. Under Illinois bankruptcy laws, bankruptcies can take various forms and can lead to partial or full discharge (a/k/a forgiveness) of debts or to financial restructuring that allows an individual or entity to better pay off its creditors.

Types of Bankruptcies

Six different types of bankruptcies exist. The type that a person or entity chooses depends on their unique circumstances.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy for individuals and involves the liquidation of the debtor’s assets to pay creditors. The debtor is the person who owes money and is filing for bankruptcy. Creditors in Chapter 7 actions are those who hold the debtor’s debt.

It is important to note that under Illinois bankruptcy laws, not all debts are dischargeable through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Non-dischargeable debt remains after bankruptcy proceedings and may include:

  • Student loans in most cases
  • Federal, state, and local taxes
  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Court fees
  • Government-mandated restitution and fines
  • Certain condominium debt from dues and fees
  • Debt incurred through fraud
  • Certain cash advance debts
  • Divorce debt
  • Debts from illegal or fraudulent activity, such as embezzlement

Certain debts from personal injury and wrongful death damages may also be non-dischargeable.

The main reason an individual would file for Chapter 7 is to completely wipe out all or most of their dischargeable debts for a fresh start. The filing also immediately stops various financial actions that may be taken against a debtor, including foreclosures, repossessions, wage garnishments, and collection agency actions.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 is generally used to reorganize businesses and corporations in a way that makes them better able to service their debt. Some high-net-worth individuals may also take advantage of Chapter 11, but this is not typical. Regardless of who uses this type of bankruptcy, the court and the creditors must approve of the restructuring plan before it goes into effect.

Chapter 12

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is for family farmers or family fishermen who bring in a regular income. This chapter allows them to create a repayment plan for their creditors that lasts between three to five years and allows them to remain in possession of their assets.

To qualify for Chapter 12, a married couple must receive more than 50% of their income from the farming or fishing operation. Additionally, at least 50% of the fixed debt must be somehow associated with the farming or fishing operation.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another type of bankruptcy popular with individuals. Under this chapter, debtors become subject to a repayment plan that allows them to reasonably service their debt. Hence, the plan is based on the debtor’s current earnings and earning potential for the near future.

The terms of Chapter 13 bankruptcies require debtors to pay their creditors in full if possible. If a debtor cannot service the entire debt, they must pay all of their disposable income to their creditors over the time of the bankruptcy plan, which may be between three and five years.

Disposable income is considered to be any money left over after you pay for your basic life necessities.

To be eligible to file for Chapter 13, you must have less than $419,275 in unsecured debt and less than $1,257,850 in secured debt. Unsecured debt is debt without collateral, such as credit card debt and medical debt. Secured debt is debt backed up by collateral, such as home and car loans.

The reason Chapter 13 is so attractive to some is that it allows debtors to retain their assets instead of having to liquidate them. It also allows individuals who truly want to pay off their debts a way to do so.

Other Types of Bankruptcy

The remaining two types of bankruptcy are Chapter 15 and Chapter 9 bankruptcies. Chapter 9 bankruptcies are reserved for government entities such as school districts, cities, and agencies. Under the chapters’ provisions, they can enter into an approved repayment plan with creditors to service their outstanding debt.

Chapter 15 is a newer type of bankruptcy that is designed primarily to deal with bankruptcy issues involving debtors, claimants, creditors, and assets belonging to more than one country. It is, hence, a lesser-known and utilized form of bankruptcy compared to the others.

We Are Ready to Help

Bankruptcy can be life-changing and should be considered only after consulting with an experienced Illinois bankruptcy lawyer. At the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, we are ready to help you explore your options for getting a grasp on your financial situation and creating a plan for your future.

Contact us at any time for a free consultation — get help understanding Illinois bankruptcy laws from a bankruptcy attorney who cares.


Exterior of a police car in Illinois.

Do you know your rights if an Illinois police officer stops you? The Fourth Amendment protects you from illegal search and seizure. And in some cases, “unlawful search” means that you don’t have to identify yourself just because a law enforcement officer asks. However, some questions arise when people ask about the stop-and-identify laws in Illinois. Today, the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, address common misconceptions about these laws.

What Is a Stop and Identify State?

A stop-and-identify state is one with laws that permit police officers to order someone to identify themselves by name if the officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person committed a crime. However, if the police do not have reasonable suspicion that one has committed or is about to commit a crime, the individual in question does not have to state their name. Not every state has this law, but Illinois does, so you must know what you can and cannot do if you are confronted by police and asked to identify yourself.

Your Fourth Amendment Rights

Your Fourth Amendment rights require warrants to be issued only if probable cause exists; this amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures.

In several landmark cases, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer asking for names during a stop based on reasonable suspicion does not violate the Fourth Amendment. Two examples include Terry v. Ohio (1968) and Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada (2004).

So, in Illinois, if a crime has just been committed and police are looking for suspects, you must disclose your name if you’re stopped and if you resemble the description of a suspect.

That said, there may be some confusion about precisely what you must say. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination can extend to identifying oneself to the police. In Illinois, if you are asked to identify yourself to the police, you must comply; if you are pulled over for a traffic stop, you must produce your driver’s license to establish your identity.

So, what does this law mean if you are suspected of or have been charged with a crime?

When Can Police Officers Make You Identify Yourself?

Legally, the police can ask your name whenever they wish, but you don’t have to comply every time, and there are some situations in which you do not have to show them your ID card.

For example, Illinois does not have a law that requires residents to carry an identification card (such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID card). Nor does it have a law that requires you to produce an ID card to the police if you have one. Remember, the only situations in which you are lawfully required to identify yourself to police are if they have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime and:

  • You are in a public place; and
  • The officer identifies themselves as the police.

In addition to your name, an Illinois police officer can ask your address and specific questions about actions you took, such as:

  • Why were you running?
  • Are you armed?
  • Why were you leaving the place where the crime was committed?

While you may not have to legally answer in some situations, if you do answer the police, you must give your real name. Otherwise, you may be charged with obstructing a police investigation. If you’re driving in Illinois, though, and are stopped, you have to identify yourself.

What to Say if You’re Asked to Identify Yourself

Remember, you have the right to remain silent when police ask you questions. You also have the right to ask to speak with a lawyer. You do not have to identify yourself unless:

  • You are pulled over while driving;
  • There is reasonable suspicion that you were involved in a committed crime; or
  • There is reasonable suspicion that you were preparing to commit a crime.

Remember, when questioned by police, you are within your rights to remain silent and ask for an attorney.

Do You Need an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you’ve been accused of a crime because you failed to identify yourself or were arrested because you resembled a suspect, the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, can help. Here, our seasoned attorneys understand police techniques very well and are dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights when police interrogate you.

If you have further questions about stop-and-identify laws in Illinois, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

Man doing research on laptop: what you need to know before hiring a lawyer

When you’re looking to hire a lawyer, you’ll most often begin with a consultation. During this time, you and your potential attorney discuss the specifics of your situation. To determine the eligibility of your case, your lawyer will have a lot of questions for you! But it’s equally important that you come prepared with your own questions, too, before you make the big decision to hire. Read on to learn what you need to know before hiring a lawyer. The following questions are an excellent place to start!

1. How long have you been practicing?

Before hiring a lawyer, ask how long they have been practicing law. The issue you need help with may best be handled by a lawyer who has years of experience, or it may very well be handled by a beginner. It all depends on your unique situation.

2. How many cases have you handled that were similar to mine?

Knowing whether a lawyer has handled similar cases to yours can help you determine if they are the right fit for you. For example, suppose you need help with a car accident personal injury case. In such a case, it is best to hire a lawyer who regularly handles  those types of cases.

3. Are my goals realistic? And what is the likelihood of achieving those goals?

A good lawyer should tell you if you have unrealistic goals and give you alternative options. A good lawyer will not pursue your goals if they are unachievable and will provide their honest opinion even if it isn’t what you want to hear. Now is a good time to set reasonable expectations. Like many things in life, generally, if what the lawyer says sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Are there alternative ways of solving my legal problem?

Always ask a lawyer if going to court is your only option. A good lawyer should tell you if your case can be resolved through other less expensive and time-consuming options such as mediation and arbitration.

5. What is your approach to representing a case?

Sometimes, you may wish to settle your case outside of court, but you need the help of an attorney. In situations like this, it’s important to ask how a lawyer plans to approach your case. For example, suppose yours is a personal injury case, and you only wish to settle your case outside of court if the at-fault party’s insurance company gives you a fair settlement. In such a case, if the lawyer you are meeting with settles all their cases outside of court and has never litigated a case, they may not be the right fit for you. In such a case, you need a lawyer who is ready to fight for you before a judge or jury.

6. If I hire your firm, will you be the lawyer handling my case?

During your initial consultation with a law firm, you might be surprised to learn that the person you are meeting is not a lawyer; they may be a “lawyer” salesman. You must ask this question to ensure that you are talking to the actual lawyer who will handle your case. Before signing the dotted line, you should always meet the person you’ll be working most closely with.

7. What is your fee structure and billing process?

This is one of the most important questions to ask a lawyer before hiring them. Possible fees might include;

Even though it is often impossible for a lawyer to give an exact figure, having an approximate figure can help you determine if you can afford the lawyer and budget accordingly.

8. Who else in the firm will handle my case?

Other people might be involved in your case, and you must know who these people are and how their hours will be billed. Usually, the hours of the other people who assist your lawyer with your case will be billed at a lower rate than that of your lawyer. For example, your lawyer could involve other lawyers, paralegals, and junior attorneys.

9. How long should I expect my case to take?

It can be challenging for a lawyer to tell you exactly how long your case will take, but they can give you an estimated timeframe. Knowing this timeframe can help you make an informed decision.

10. What should be my biggest concern?

Most cases have bad facts that can influence the outcome. After listening to you explain the details of your case, a lawyer should be able to identify any bad facts in your case and tell you how you can mitigate any negative effects those facts could have on your case.

Get the Help You Need Today

Now that you know what you should ask before hiring a lawyer, we hope that you can go into your consultations feeling more confident. At The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, we proudly serve Montgomery County, Illinois, and the surrounding areas, including Macoupin County. Whatever your legal needs, our attorneys will fight to help ensure your rights are protected. Get in touch today to request an initial consultation.

In Illinois, a person gets a criminal record when arrested. This is true even if the person is not charged with a crime or convicted. Any arrest, whether a criminal charge or conviction, goes on a person’s criminal record, which the public can view. Being arrested, charged, or convicted can leave a stain on your permanent record, which can adversely impact you for the rest of your life – personally and professional. Fortunately, it is possible to expunge or seal criminal records in Illinois.

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When you’ve been injured in an accident, figuring out who’s at fault and how much you’re owed can be both confusing and frustrating. In the State of Illinois, it’s important to understand how the state’s modified comparative negligence law, sometimes called the contributory fault law, can contribute to the outcome of your claim and your final settlement amount. To learn more about your rights and how to best protect your ability to recover your full settlement amount, call the Law Office of Glenn & West, LLC directly today. We offer free consultations.

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At the Law Office of Glenn & West, LLC, we know that being involved in a car accident can be an upsetting experience. When you’re in a car accident, the shock can leave you feeling paralyzed about what to do next. Knowing what first steps to take after a car accident in Illinois can be a comfort, help you to check off everything that needs to get done, and may expedite the claims process. Here’s a list of steps to take after a car accident. For more help navigating your car accident claim and getting the settlement you deserve, call our law firm directly today.

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Being involved in a catastrophic accident is an overwhelming experience. Not only may the accident initially be shocking, painful, and upsetting, but it could also leave you or a loved one with serious long-term disability and harm. At the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, our catastrophic injury attorneys will work with you to help you understand your right to damages and to recover a fair settlement or verdict that fully compensates you for all of your economic and noneconomic losses. If you or a loved one has been involved in a catastrophic accident or incident, our law firm can help. Call us today to learn more about your options and the settlement process.

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In a moment’s notice, a car accident can occur. In a matter of seconds, a severe crash that leaves you with injuries and damages may happen. A crash like this can be shocking, upsetting, and cause anxiety about the future. Most people who are involved in accidents that are caused by the fault or negligence of another party wonder what their rights are and whether they have grounds to bring forth a lawsuit for damages.

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All drivers in Illinois have a responsibility to drive safely and follow the rules of the road. Statistics have shown that nearly every motorist in the country will be pulled over by a police officer for a traffic violation at least once in their lifetime.

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After an accident or incident wherein you or a loved one are injured, a civil insurance claim or civil lawsuit can be filed against the person or business that are at fault for that happening, which is known as the negligent party. If you are successful with your insurance claim or lawsuit, you can collect financial compensation, known as damages, to recover for medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of normal life, lost wages, emotional distress, etc. The damages available in a certain case will depend on the facts of a case and the nature and severity of the injury. There are several types of personal injury damages that could be available in your case.

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