It is recommended that you consult with a Board-certified Bankruptcy Attorney that can guide you through the Bankruptcy process. It is important to note that every situation is different and the process varies for each individual. The following are basic steps when filing for Bankruptcy.
Step 1: Make an appointment to consult with a Board-certified Bankruptcy Attorney to discuss all your options.
Step 2: You will need to collect all necessary documents for your attorney to review. The importance of gathering and organizing all financial documentation is essential when filing for Bankruptcy. Failure to do so can cause your case to be dismissed by the court. Your Attorney will advise you on what types of documentation is required by the court.
Step 3: Debtor (person filing for Bankruptcy) is required to complete pre-filing credit counseling during the six months before filing Bankruptcy. The counseling must be conducted by non-profit, government approved counseling agency. The course covers personal financial management which must meet the Bankruptcy Code compliance rules. The course last approximately 90 minutes. The topics covered are:
o Why a person files for Bankruptcy
o Cause of financial problems
o What are the options for resolving the financial problems
o Analysis of your current budget and assistant to develop a new budget
o Once you have successfully completed the course, you will receive a completion certificate that must be files with the court, along with your Bankruptcy petition.
Step 4: Regardless if you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must complete a Means test. The means test is used to identify debtors who may have financial resources to pay back a portion of their debts to creditors. Your attorney can provide further information regarding this test.
Step 5: Bankruptcy begins by filing the official petition, schedule of your financial status and statement of financial affairs with the Bankruptcy court, and paying a filing fee.
Step 6: Once you have filed your bankruptcy petition, you will need to attend the meeting of the creditors. This is usually 30 days after filing for bankruptcy. This is a mandatory meeting. The Bankruptcy trustee will conduct the meeting. This meeting is short and you will be asked questions regarding the paper work you filed with the courts.
Step 7: Before your debt can be discharged, you are required to complete a Personal Financial management Course. It must be conducted by an approved debtor education provider. You will receive a completion certificate that must be filed with the court before your bankruptcy can be discharge.
Step 8: Discharge occurs once the court has ruled the debtor is legally relieved from most debts and creditors cannot collect those debts. Certain debts are not discharged; child support, alimony, certain types of taxes and student loans.
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