Chapter 7 bankruptcy or "total bankruptcy" means that after the process is complete, you will be totally absolved of all debt. When no other options are doable for your situation, this is likely the route you will choose. It is important to stick to a strict guideline so that the entire process goes over smoothly. The first step is choosing an attorney. You need a qualified law firm that is experienced in handling these types of cases and that you trust to take care of your situation. After you have chosen who will represent you, you must follow these steps.
First you will be required to participate in creditor counseling. This will educate you on how to avoid future debts and it must be administered by a certified professional. No one wants to make the same mistake twice. This is the principle behind this step. Next you will have to draft a petition to be looked over by you and your attorney. Your attorney will help you gather all your necessary financial information so a plan can be formulated. You cannot know what you are entitled to seek until you have evaluated all your finances. Once you sign the final draft you can send it in. After about a week's time, the petition will become recognized by bankruptcy court at which point you will receive a case number.
Now that you have a case number, you are waiting on the date of your first court hearing which will typically be around 30 days later. Simultaneously, an automatic stay is placed on your account. An automatic stay basically tells creditors to "back off" because you are in the process of filing. This prevents them from any attempt to collect from you. Once it comes time to appear in court, you do not have to be intimidated because your attorney will prepare you for how to respond to the questions of the bankruptcy judge.
Even with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have the option of keeping debts, although you are allowed to rid yourself of all of them. In order to do this you must file a Statement of Intention 30 days after you actually file. If you choose to keep some you will have to reaffirm that during your hearing. At this point, creditors will usually manipulate a plan for you so that you can afford the payment you chose to keep. There is then a two month time period which at the end of you should receive a "notice of discharge." When you get this letter, you can finally breathe easy because your debt has officially been absolved.
To receive help in handling Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, contact a South Texas bankruptcy attorney from Malaise Law Firm.
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