The bankruptcy process is relatively simple. Upon retaining our services, we will begin working and preparing the bankruptcy documents.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy consists of several forms, including a petition; schedules of assets and liabilities; a schedule of current income and expenditures; a statement of financial affairs; and a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases. Therefore, preparing all of the documents takes approximately 10-14 business days to complete. If you have an urgent situation and require your bankruptcy documents prepared immediately, please notify us so we can discuss making the necessary accommodations.
Once your bankruptcy documents are prepared, you will review, sign and file the bankruptcy petition with the court. This step is simple, as you can file the bankruptcy documents via U.S. Mail or in person, along with the court's filing fee unless you qualify for it to be waived.
Upon filing your bankruptcy petition, the court will notify your creditors via U.S. Mail and will schedule a "Meeting of Creditors" which is also known as a "341 Meeting" with your assigned Trustee. You will need to be available to attend this meeting and it is normally scheduled 21-40 days after filing the bankruptcy petition.
In most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, except where cases have been dismissed, converted, or where a deadline has been extended, the formal order discharging the debt is issued approximately 60 to 90 days after the Meeting of Creditors has occurred.
For a more in-depth explanation of what a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is and the process involved, we encourage you to visit the United States Court's website: Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy Basics | United States Courts (uscourts.gov)
1) Take the pre-filing credit counseling course. Before you file for bankruptcy, the court requires you to take a credit counseling class by an approved vendor. The certificate of completion for this course becomes part of your bankruptcy petition package. You may take this course online. It typically takes an hour to complete. We will be happy to provide you with links to affordable vendors or you may see a complete list of approved vendors on the court's website.
2) Complete an easy questionnaire. We will gather information from you regarding your income, assets, creditors, etc, in order to prepare the bankruptcy schedules. We may request additional items such as paystubs, etc. After receiving the fully completed questionnaire and requested documents, we will begin processing and preparing your documents within two (2) weeks.
3) File your petition with the bankruptcy court. You may hand deliver or mail your package to the bankruptcy court along with your court filing fee (if applicable).
4) Take the post-filing Debtor Education Course. Again, this course may be taken online and you will email your certificate of completion to the you.
5) Mail copy of tax returns to Trustee. When you receive your Meeting of Creditors Notice from the court providing you with the date of your Meeting of Creditors and the name of your Trustee, you should mail a copy of your last two (2) years' tax returns to the Trustee. The Trustee may request additional items from you such as bank statements, divorce decree, auto titles, etc. Please follow any requests made by your Trustee.
6) Attend the Meeting of Creditors. This meeting typically lasts 5 - 10 minutes, where you meet with your assigned Trustee and answer questions regarding your case. After this meeting, you will typically receive your final discharge in 60 to 90 days. Sometimes, but not often the court may request you attend a hearing to discuss other matters such as Reaffirmation Agreements, etc. These hearings typically last just a few minutes.