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Consumer Bankruptcy

Our Resource Center provides useful information regarding bankruptcy, including general steps you go through when filing for bankruptcy, some frequently asked questions, and resource links.

*option 1 – new faq page
Sequence of steps taken in bankruptcy

Pre-filing meeting

Under federal law, before you can file bankruptcy you must attend a pre-filing counseling session to determine whether there are any viable alternatives to doing so. You receive a certificate upon completing the session, which shows you met the pre-filing counseling requirement. The certificate must be filed with other paperwork when you file for bankruptcy.

If you cannot afford to pay for the session, you must request a waiver from the court.

Meet with a bankruptcy lawyer

While you can file bankruptcy on your own, the laws and requirements for filing correctly are complex. Meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine your qualifications for filing and which type of bankruptcy best suits your situation.

File bankruptcy documentation

There are forms and documentation that must be filed when submitting a petition for bankruptcy. Documentation must be filled out correctly and the paperwork is extensive, usually between 40-80 pages. Once filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, and creditors can no longer attempt collection.

Creditor notification

The court will notify creditors that you are filing bankruptcy. In some cases of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you or your lawyer may notify the creditor.

Creditors meeting (341 meeting)

Usually the debtor meets with the trustee assigned to the case rather than the bankruptcy judge. The trustee asks questions to determine repayment and discharge of debts. Creditors may attend the meeting to state their case for repayment or repossession of property. However, in the majority of cases, creditors do not attend the meeting.

Pre-discharge education course

A personal financial management course must be completed within 45 days from the date the Creditors meeting (341 meeting) is held. The classes can be done in a face-to-face meeting, over the phone, or on the Internet. The purpose of the course is to educate you on various topics that can help you avoid future financial problems. Upon completion of the course, you receive a certificate which your lawyer will file with the court before your discharge hearing.

Discharge meeting and paperwork

The debtor is discharged, and all the debts (with some exceptions) are written off. After the meeting, the court sends discharge paperwork and an approved certificate, making the discharge official.

FAQs

Does bankruptcy stop creditor harassment?
Will people find out about my bankruptcy?
What are the income restrictions for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
How often can you file bankruptcy?
What is a discharge?
How long does it take to receive a discharge?
 
Does bankruptcy stop creditor harassment?

Yes, under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, once bankruptcy is filed, creditors may not pursue debt collection through calls, wage garnishment, or lawsuits. An automatic stay goes into effect that stops creditor harassment.

Will people find out about my bankruptcy?

When you file bankruptcy, it becomes part of public record, and the credit bureaus report your bankruptcy, which remains on credit reports for 10 years. Despite these facts, most people do not realize you filed bankruptcy.

What are the income restrictions for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
According to the “means test,” your income must not be greater than the state median income, using your gross average income for the past six months (not including unemployment or social security benefits) as the income period.

How often can you file bankruptcy?

Chapter 7. You must wait eight years after a chapter 7 discharge before you can file chapter 7 again.
Chapter 13. You must wait four years to file chapter 13 after a chapter 7 discharge. You must wait two years after a Chapter 13 discharge before you can file chapter 13 again.
 
What is a discharge?

A discharge is a release from personal debt for specific debts discharged in the bankruptcy. The release is permanent and you no longer owe money for those debts. Creditors cannot try to collect the debts. This is the “fresh start” through bankruptcy.

 How long does it take to receive a discharge?

The average time for Chapter 7 is three to six months from the date of filing. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are three-year and five-year plans, and the discharge is granted after the repayment plan is completed.

Resource Links

- Bankruptcy Process
- U.S. Bankruptcy Courts
- Bankruptcy Basics for Cases filed on or after Oct 17, 2005
- Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BPACPA)
 
Arrange a free consultation

If you are in financial distress, find out how to deal with debt as soon as possible. Getting legal assistance can often help relieve your worries. Arrange a free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys. Call 877-823-1264 or contact us online today.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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