Firm Overview

Detroit Bankruptcy Attorney Walter Metzen

In order to effectively address your debts and explore the options you may have for relieving that debt, you need the assistance of an attorney with the skill and devotion to handle only bankruptcy cases. For over 14 years I, Walter Metzen, have been helping individuals file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Michigan. I am a Board Certified Specialist in consumer bankruptcy from the American Board of Certification and possess the expertise needed to realistically assess your case and provide you with the necessary guidance.

When you come to my office to discuss your case, you will not be meeting with an assistant or a paralegal; you will meet directly with me. I take a very hands-on approach with my clients and cases, being involved in your bankruptcy case every step of the way. I am not a lawyer who is concerned with taking on as many clients and resolving as many cases as possible in a short period. I devote the necessary time and attention to each client and case, often taking on fewer cases to focus on the quality of the representation I provide.

My office is located just one block from the United States bankruptcy court in downtown Detroit. This location is a convenient location because you do make an appearance in court if you file bankruptcy.

Contact a Detroit bankruptcy attorney that can help you decide the best course of action to take in pursuing the debt relief you deserve. I offer clients flexible appointment times and same day appointments for your convenience. Also, a free initial consultation is provided so you can speak with me about your situation without cost or obligation.

Why is it legal to file bankruptcy?

More so than in any other time in our country's history, our economy is based on consumer debt. In fact, in this age of multibillion dollar corporate bailouts, easy credit and relentless bombarding of seductive messages cajoling us to "charge, consume, buy" it is not surprising that so many people are drowning in debt.

For many of us, this debt is insurmountable and is causing family problems and feelings of hopelessness and even suicide. With credit card interest rates of 18-27%, many feel like modern day indentured servants. Many times, the debt is occasioned by unforeseen events such as loss of a job or medical bills, but more often it is simply poor planning. Nevertheless, in instituting our bankruptcy laws, Congress recognized that responsible, well-intentioned people could from time to time run into financial problems. By allowing you to recover from your debt burden you will be able to start afresh, look to the future and become a more productive member of society. This is good for you and good for society as a whole.

Bankruptcy - An Overview

Even the hardest workers and the most diligent bill-payers can find themselves with more debts than they can pay as they become due. In such cases, filing bankruptcy may provide a solution to what seems like an insurmountable problem. If you or someone you know is facing serious financial challenges, it is very important to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Once considered a last resort, bankruptcy has evolved into an accepted method of resolving serious financial problems. The bankruptcy lawyer's goals are to help debtors make a fresh start and ensure that creditors get paid. A skillful attorney can guide you through the complicated legal maze of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy law is primarily federal in origin and therefore varies little from state to state. The United States Constitution grants to Congress the power to establish uniform bankruptcy laws throughout the United States, which ensures consistency and predictability in how bankruptcy proceedings are conducted. The individual states do, however, retain jurisdiction over certain debtor-creditor issues that are not addressed by and do not conflict with federal bankruptcy law, such as which property remains exempt from creditors' claims.

Commercial and Consumer Bankruptcy

Both businesses and individuals may file for bankruptcy. Commercial bankruptcy is a remedy available to businesses that are unable to pay their debts. Options include liquidation, in which many of the business's assets are sold and the proceeds are divided among the creditors, and reorganization or restructuring, in which the business continues to operate according to a plan that allows for at least partial payment to creditors. Consumer bankruptcy, by contrast, is a method by which individuals may be able to get out from under insurmountable debt and make a fresh start, albeit with a negative impact on their credit ratings. As in commercial bankruptcy, there are two options: liquidating assets to pay off creditors, and filing a wage-earner plan that allows the debtor to retain more assets while working to pay off his or her debts. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you choose the right course of action for your particular situation.

Chapter 7 Liquidation

Bankruptcy law provides two basic forms of relief: (1) liquidation, and (2) rehabilitation, also known as reorganization. Most bankruptcies filed in the United States involve liquidation, which is governed by Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. To qualify for Chapter 7 in Detroit, an individual debtor has to satisfy a financial means test. In a Chapter 7 liquidation case, a bankruptcy "trustee" collects the debtor's "nonexempt" property (as opposed to the property that the debtor is allowed to keep and that is not subject to the creditors' claims) and converts it into cash. The trustee then distributes the resulting funds among the various creditors according to an order of priority described in the Bankruptcy Code. Not all creditors receive the full amount owed through this process; in fact, some may receive no payment at all. When liquidation and distribution are complete, the bankruptcy court may discharge any remaining debts of an individual (non-business) debtor. If the debtor is a corporation, it ceases to exist after liquidation and distribution, and there is therefore no reason for further discharge because the creditors cannot seek payment from an entity that no longer exists.

Chapter 11 or 13 Reorganization

In a rehabilitation or reorganization, the option often preferred by the courts, creditors may be provided with a better opportunity to recoup what they are owed. This type of bankruptcy is governed by Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 generally applies to individual debtors with excessive or complex debts, or to large commercial entities like corporations. Detroit Chapter 13, by contrast, generally applies to individual consumers with smaller debts. Farmers and municipalities may seek reorganization through the Code's special chapters, Chapters 12 and 9, respectively. Reorganization provides debtors with a greater opportunity to retain their assets if they agree to pay off their debts according to a plan approved by the bankruptcy court. If the debtor fails to adhere to the plan, however, the court may still order liquidation.

Whatever the Chapter, the petitioning debtor must first undergo an individual or group briefing regarding credit counseling and budget analysis skills.

"Voluntary" and "Involuntary" Bankruptcies

Most bankruptcy cases are filed by the debtor and are thus considered "voluntary bankruptcies" (although few would "volunteer" to be in this position). Once a bankruptcy petition is filed, the debtor is immediately entitled to relief from creditors through the bankruptcy procedure known as the "automatic stay." The automatic stay freezes all debt-collection activity and forces creditors to allow the bankruptcy court to determine how payment will be made.

Not all bankruptcy proceedings are voluntary, however. Under Chapters 7 in Michigan and 11, creditors, too, have the option of filing for relief against the debtor, in which case the proceeding is called an "involuntary bankruptcy." Involuntary bankruptcies are allowed only when certain minimum thresholds are met; for instance, there must be a minimum number of creditors and a minimum amount of debt. The debtor has the right to file a response to an involuntary petition, after which the court will determine whether the creditors are actually entitled to relief. If the court dismisses an involuntary bankruptcy filing because it has no merit, the creditors may be ordered to pay the debtor's attorneys' fees, damages for any losses the debtor experienced because of the bankruptcy, and even punitive damages to punish the creditors for the frivolous or abusive filing of a petition. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide essential advice whether you are a debtor considering voluntary bankruptcy or facing an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding, or a creditor seeking relief through an involuntary bankruptcy.


Lawyers specializing in bankruptcy law in Detroit Michigan can help both debtors and creditors overcome obstacles to the repayment of debt. Their expertise often extends beyond bankruptcy to include debt repayment and collection options that can circumvent the need for a bankruptcy filing. Experienced bankruptcy attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to help their clients get out from under formidable debt and emerge as productive citizens, and can also assist their creditor clients in collecting what is rightfully theirs.



Filing a Personal Bankruptcy is a financial decision based on your amount of debt, your income, your assets, and your present ability to repay debts.  It should be a last resort after you have explored other options.  If you have explored those options but realize that you will never be able to pay all of your creditors,  you may be a candidate for Bankruptcy.

When the expected time period for the repayment of creditors, in full, exceeds the time it would take to rebuild credit, bankruptcy should be given serious consideration. A good bankruptcy attorney or lawyer could help out with this process. We have been helping Michigan residents file personal Bankruptcy for over 10 years. Instead of struggling with minimum payments for months or years and ending up in the same place you are today, you can use that time to rebuild credit and save money for the future.

If you are in a situation in which you have accumulated more debt than you will be able to repay in the foreseeable future, then you probably will benefit greatly from filing bankruptcy and taking a debt-free fresh start.

By filing bankruptcy with qualified attorneys, you give yourself a chance to rebuild and re-establish credit and staying in line with the law. Many people get too caught up in worrying about how they’re going to incur future debt, when the focus should be on the best way to deal with the debt they have now.

We are a debt relief agency that provides bankruptcy assistance. If you need relief from debt, the best thing you can do is call us as soon as possible at 313-962-4656 or toll free at 888-4Walter or 888-777-FILE in order to set up an appointment. There is no charge for the first office interview and evening appointments are available. We normally recommend that you come in as soon as possible so that your rights can be secured without delay. Many people postpone or put off consultation with a qualified specialist only to make major blunders such as borrowing more money to pay off debts. It is best to have the free consultation instead of waiting to see us as a last resort. When you come to see us, we look at your budget (income and expenses) and analyze the debts involved and advise what course of action to take. Walter Metzen is a Board Certified Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification and specializes in Chapter 13 payment plans and Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 in Detroit Michigan works well for employed persons who can make some type of payment. Chapter 7 is also available for cases where a payment plan is not feasible or appropriate. We will recommend the best action for your case.

With Chapter 13, the payment plan is usually a LOT LESS than what one is paying without the help Chapter 13 offers! We can usually consolidate all debts at a payment that is affordable, and nothing will be lost or given up. The home, car and belongings are protected by the filing of Chapter 13. Also there is automatic protection from creditors upon filing. This means that harassment stops, no one can garnish wages, take property, repossess the car or truck, foreclose on the home, etc. But one needs to file a case in order to get the automatic protection.

On completion of the Chapter 13 plan debts are wiped out, paid, discharged, etc. Chapter 13 can usually pay off debts much more quickly because in most cases the interest and penalties are stopped on your charge and loan accounts. Payment amounts are generally reduced. When you visit us, we can explain how it applies to you, but the relief usually is very dramatic.

In most cases, you do not need to bring money to get your case started. This is true for most Chapter 13 cases since attorney fees are included in the payment. The payment is set based on your budget....your ability to pay. That is why we need to go over your income and expenses in detail. Our office is unique in that we have a computer program which calculates your budget of income and expenses while you watch it on the monitor. You can see the income and expenses broken down as we type it in, and see just where your money goes each month. This enables us to calculate how much you can afford to pay toward your debts very quickly, while you watch us. You just need to know how much you make in a typical week, and how much you spend on house payments, rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, gasoline, etc. House payments and rent are generally not included in the chapter 13 plan unless you are behind. If your mortgage is past due, a chapter 13 can help catch it up and stop a foreclosure from occurring if the case is filed on time. Car payments are usually included in the chapter 13 plan and the car is paid off as part of the plan. Generally, no one can repossess or seize your car or other property once your chapter 13 is filed. Your wages, earnings, bank accounts, and personal property are protected by the Chapter 13 "automatic stay" against creditors.

Chapter 7 is "straight bankruptcy" and discharges most debts without making payments and is appropriate when you cannot afford a payment plan under Chapter 13 or when your circumstances do not warrant a payment plan. The relief under Chapter 7 is very dramatic since the debtor receives an "automatic stay" against creditors.

There is no payment plan under a Detroit Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most debts are discharged. We can discuss which chapter is best for you.

Information to Bring to the First Interview:

When you meet with us, bring as many of your pay-stubs for a typical work week or biweekly pay period from the past 2 months that you can locate....and if you are married, your spouse should come also, if possible. Sometimes we file for just one spouse, but usually both spouses are on the debts and both need protection . Bring us ALL debts....the NAMES, ADDRESSES, ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND APPROXIMATE BALANCES of EVERY creditor to whom money is owed, if you have a recent credit report bring it, if not, we can get it upon payment of your initial retainer fee.  These debts would include car payment and house payment information, and all bills, charge accounts, debts, lawsuits, collection letters, etc. We need the balances owed on all your debts as best as you can estimate them. Exact amounts are not important; approximate amounts are sufficient. We also need to know how much you have earned for the year to date and the prior 2 calendar years. We also need to know the value of your property so bring in a tax statement showing Equalized Value or appraisals on any real estate you own. It is also necessary to list the name and address of your spouse if you are married and your spouse is not filing with you. Information must also include the name and address of anyone on debts with you such as cosigners or guarantors of your debts. If you have cosigned for someone else, or someone has cosigned for you, their name, address and the name and address of the creditor need to be included in the information we prepare.

These contents are general and should not be relied on as legal advice for your case. Every case is different. That is why you should speak to us about your situation as soon as possible. The sooner we can help, the better we can do, usually. There are some deadlines that are important, like foreclosure dates, repossession auctions, etc. If one waits too long, the property is lost for good. It is much easier for us to protect what you have, than to try to get it back for you once it is seized by a creditor! So it is best to consult quickly. Also, the longer one waits, the more interest and late charges are added to balances. Chapter 13 can stop interest and late charges on most debts, so, again, delay generally is not good.

We are conveniently located in Suite 3156 of the Penobscot Building, 645 Griswold Street, Detroit Michigan 48226.


Walter Metzen-Bankruptcy Lawyer-(313) 962-4656-Suite 3156 Penobscot Building, Detroit Michigan 48226-Serving the Entire Metro Detroit Area and Southeast Michigan for over 10 years


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.
 Content Footer

Walter Metzen
645 Griswold, Suite 3156
Penobscot Building
Detroit MI 48226
Map & Directions

Phone:(313) 962-4656
Fax:(313) 962-4241
Email:Contact Us
Board Certified Specialist, American Board of Certification