While the idea of bankruptcy is scary, our office will explain your options and walk you through the process. You are not alone and we will help you to your fresh start.
Here is an overview of what the process looks like with our office.
Basics of what will be covered in your consultation.
What you will need to bring to your consultation.
Important things to keep in mind throughout the process.
Filing bankruptcy can help a person by discarding debt or making a plan to repay debts. A bankruptcy case normally begins when the debtor files a petition with the bankruptcy court. A petition may be filed by an individual, by spouses together, or by a corporation or other entity.
All bankruptcy cases are handled in federal courts under rules outlined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
There are different types of bankruptcies, which are usually referred to by their chapter in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Individuals may file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, depending on the specifics of their situation.
Municipalities—cities, towns, villages, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts may file under Chapter 9 to reorganize.
Businesses may file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 to liquidate or Chapter 11 to reorganize.
Chapter 12 provides debt relief to family farmers and fishermen.
Bankruptcy filings that involve parties from more than one country are filed under Chapter 15.
Bankruptcy Basics provides detailed information about filing.
Seeking the advice of a qualified lawyer is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences. Individuals can file bankruptcy without a lawyer, which is called filing pro se. (United States Courts)
What are the steps?
1. Consultation - Meet with an attorney to discuss your specific situation. There are a lot of factors that can have an impact on your bankruptcy.
2. Retain - Make a payment towards your bankruptcy. Our office will consider you "retained," at this point you can direct creditor calls to our office.
3. Pay in full - Our office does not start work on a bankruptcy until you are paid in full.
4. Provide documents - Our office will need all of the documents listed. The paralegal will let you know if more information is needed.
5. Credit Counseling - You will need to take an online course before your bankruptcy is filed. Click here to visit our Bankruptcy Client section.
6. Signing - Once the bankruptcy petition is prepared, the paralegal will contact you to come in and sign.
7. Debtor Education - You will need to take another online course after your bankruptcy is filed. It is best to use the same company as the first course.
8. 341 Meeting of the Creditors - You will meet with the Trustee to answer some simple questions. Our office will be with you.
What will my consult cover?
There are four section to the paperwork:
1. List of ALL debts
2. List of EVERYTHING you own and the value
3. 25 questions that have to be answered
4. Monthly budget
All answers are under oath and must be truthful and complete.
Categories of Debt:
1. Yucky - student loans, etc.
2. Collateral - mortgage, vehicle loans, rent to own items, etc.
3. No Collateral - credit cards, lines of credit, store credit, etc.
Chapter 7 - 'No collateral' debts are wiped out in 90 days. Choose which collaterals you want to keep.
Chapter 13 - 'No collateral' debts are wiped out in 3-5 years. Choose which collaterals you want to keep.
What to bring to my consult?
Driver's License/State Issued Identification for all adults in the household
Social Security cards for all adults in the household
Bank statements for the past 2 months
Tax Returns for the past 2 years
Proof of all income for the past 60 days (i.e. award letters for social security and food stamps, pay check stubs, etc.)
Copies of bills that are owed
Information on retirement accounts
Deeds for property you own
Tax valuation, appraisal, or market analysis for any property you own
Information on any lawsuits you are involved with
If divorced in the past 8 years, a copy of the Final Decree/Marital Settlement Agreement
Completed Budget (given by attorney)
What to keep in mind?
* If you decide to file bankruptcy with our office and your situation changes, please contact our office immediately.
* If you have questions, please ask.
* Please provide all documents and information as soon as possible.
* We are here to help you.
* We understand life happens, but please keep in contact with our office. If you retain our office, you will receive an invoice each month that details the money you have paid to us. This is not a bill. We are just keeping track of your payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can Filing for Bankruptcy Do for Me?
Filing for Bankruptcy will make the creditors stop harassing you, stop garnishments, AND help give you a fresh start.
What Can Bankruptcy Not Do?
Generally, Bankruptcy will not help with Child Support Obligations and Student Loans. Our office can give more specific information for your situation at your consultation.
How Much Debt Do I Have To Have Before Filing For Bankruptcy?
There is no minimum amount you have to owe, but if Bankruptcy is not in your best interest, our office can help you figure out a plan B.
Are There Different Types Of Bankruptcies?
Yes. *copy and paste from U.S. Court info*
What Property Is Exempt in Chapter 7?
Filing a Bankruptcy does not mean you have to give up everything you own. In a Bankruptcy, there are two lists of things that are “exempt” or “protected.” During your consultation with our office, we will discuss what the best options are, based on your situation.
What Will Happen To My Home And Car If I File Bankruptcy?
If you owe money on your car or home and you want to keep them, you will have to continue making payments. Filing a Bankruptcy will not allow you to keep those items while making the debt go away. As far as what you can keep, there are dollar amount values of what can be “exempt” or “protected.” Our office will go over the values with you during your consultation.
Can I Own Anything After Bankruptcy?
Absolutely! Filing a Bankruptcy does not mean you have to give up everything you own. Bankruptcy is designed to help get you out from underneath the crushing debt and give you a fresh start to build a bright future.