The process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a difficult one, yet it’s made easier with the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney. You can reach out to a lawyer in your area who specializes in this practice area, then once you hire them, there are several other steps to complete the process.
Determine if Chapter 7 is Right for You
Since there are several types of bankruptcy an individual can file, it can be confusing to figure out which would apply to your situation. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can assist you by going over some details of your situation to determine if you should get a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or something else entirely.
After it’s decided that this category is ideal for your specific case, you can move on to the other steps confidently.
Give Your Attorney Documents
Your bankruptcy lawyer will tell you exactly what documentation they need in order to proceed with your case. This includes details about your household income, your living expenses (such as shelter, food, transportation, utilities, and medicine), secured debt, credit card debt, assets, and any investments. In many instances, you’ll also have to fill out a questionnaire.
Take a Course on Credit Counseling
It’s necessary that you complete a credit counseling course prior to filing for bankruptcy. You can do this over the phone or online. Once you’ve done this, you’ll get a certificate from the company that shows you’ve successfully completed the course. You must give this to your lawyer, and they will file it with the court.
Review Your Schedules and Petition
Your lawyer will prepare your bankruptcy petition and schedules after they have your documentation and proof of having taken the course. You’ll go over the petition and schedules with your attorney to ensure that everything looks to be correct, make any necessary changes, and then sign this paperwork under penalty of perjury.
File the Petition
At this time, you would file the official bankruptcy petition with the court. It’s crucial that you present all of the schedules and statements that you were required to include. Today, this can be done electronically from your lawyer’s office. If you don’t have all necessary documentation with your petition, it can delay or put a stop to the whole process. This is why it’s a good idea to work with a bankruptcy lawyer who will look over everything and know that you’re doing this step properly.
Granting of an Automatic Stay
After your lawyer files your case, you’ll have an automatic stay protection invoked right away. What this means is that you shouldn’t receive any intimidating calls, letters, or other communications from your creditors after this point. This should give you some peace of mind and allow you to move forward with a plan that allows you to pay off as much debt as possible without the hassle of having to deal with creditors on your own.
Not only will you not get any communications from creditors, but any lawsuits that have been filed against you about your properties and assets including foreclosure will be stayed or postponed. This offers you some measure of comfort knowing that you can have some control over how you repay your debt and that you may be able to keep your home, along with some other assets.
Attend a Creditors Meeting
Upon filing, you’ll have a trustee appointed to your case. This individual will send you a notification of the upcoming creditors meeting. The title can be misleading since most creditors won’t attend this type of meeting, but they would be invited. The person who files for bankruptcy must go to the meeting, answer questions from the trustee, and also give them any of the supporting documents.
Attend a Financial Education Class
There is one last step to the actual process and that’s to take a bankruptcy financial management class. The goal of this course is to guide you how to manage finances appropriately after you’re awarded bankruptcy. It can be taken over the phone or may be completed online. You’ll get a certificate and need to file this with the court.
Granting of a Discharge
Once you meet all requirements and get court approval, you will be granted a discharge of eligible debt. This can vary depending on the type and amount of debt you have, as well as what kind of arrangement is made with the creditors. This may not happen until a few months after your file for bankruptcy.
Trust in a Local Bankruptcy Attorney
If you’re considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll want to have an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at Adam Law Group on your side. You’ll benefit from the quality workmanship offered by the legal team. A bankruptcy doesn’t have to be a devastating situation when you have dedicated legal professionals to help you through the process.