The sequence of events in a bankruptcy case varies based on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The following information is a basic guide for filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
- Determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the best option for you. Filing for bankruptcy is not always the best solution, so it is best to discuss your situation with an attorney so that you can learn about all of your alternatives. With the right legal advice, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you.
- Next, if you have decided to proceed with filing for bankruptcy, we will provide you with a Welcome Package which details all of the documents which include 1) Documents Required to File Bankruptcy, 2) Client Instructions. You will want to gather the necessary documents to file your bankruptcy case; This includes tax returns, paystubs, bank statements, and any statements that you have received from creditors. Once you have gathered this information, you will want to promptly provide the documents to your attorney.
- Prior to officially filing for bankruptcy, you will need to complete an online credit counseling course. We will provide you with the necessary information in order to get this done as easily as possible.
- Your attorney will then prepare a bankruptcy petition for filing. This petition explains your current financial situation and demonstrates why you are filing for bankruptcy. Information regarding your creditors, income, and personal property will also be included. This information will actually be filed electronically with the federal court system.
- After your bankruptcy case is filed, a notice of the automatic stay will be sent out to your creditors informing them that you are now protected by the bankruptcy code and laws. This protection will prevent creditors from suing, garnishing, or even calling you or sending bills in the mail.
- Approximately 30 days after your bankruptcy case is filed, there is a meeting called the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The meeting itself will only last 10-15 minutes, but you are required to attend with your attorney. You will answer questions under oath by a bankruptcy trustee and potentially creditors. If you are absent for this meeting, your case will be postponed and you and your attorney will need to explain why your case should not be dismissed. At the hearing the Trustee may request additional documentation from you that you will need to provide quickly.
- For approximately 30 days after the Creditors’ Meeting, your creditors and the trustee will be able to object to any property exemptions that you have claimed or whether any or all of your debts should not be discharged. This is usually a result of fraud or some improper action taken by your prior to filing.
- The last step of your bankruptcy case that you will actually have to be involved with is taking a financial management course. This is similar to the first Credit Counseling Course and will be conducted by the same company you used previously. Your attorney will take care of the rest of the details from this point forward.
- Within 3 to 4 months from the initial date that you filed for bankruptcy, you will receive a discharge, completely eliminating any dischargeable debts that you might owe.