If you are struggling to manage your debt, you may be at your wits end. If you have found negotiating with creditors unsuccessful or credit counseling ineffective, your next step may be speaking with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most common types of consumer bankruptcy. Still, many consumers worry about the process of filing bankruptcy, how long the process takes, and what they will have to do.
There are a series of steps or processes that you must complete in order to file for bankruptcy. There is no legal requirement that you hire an attorney, but it is recommended since bankruptcy is a formal legal process. Any deviations from the process or legal rules could result in your case being dismissed. You can avoid possible obstacles by working with a skilled bankruptcy attorney.
Process for Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The general process for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy may include the following:
In order to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must show that you have completed bankruptcy counseling within the last 180 days. You must complete counseling through a court-approved agency.
Pass a “Means Test”
A means test examines your financial situation to determine your income. In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet state income standards.
File a Petition
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are filing a petition with the court. You must file your petition and provide the court with information about your income and expenses, as well as your most recent income tax return. When you file the petition, you must pay the filing fees, which is generally around $335.
Once you file your petition, you will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee. This person will take over managing the process.
Meeting of Creditors
You and your bankruptcy trustee will meet with any creditors who choose to attend the meeting. At this meeting, you will answer a series of questions under oath. The questions relate to your debt, financial situation and property.
Examine Nonexempt Property
Property that is nonexempt can be sold, with the proceeds going to your creditors. This property includes items like jewelry, collectibles or equity you have built in personal property.
Financial Management Course
You must complete a financial management course within 60 days of the Meeting of Creditors. You must complete the course through a court-approved agency, and provide a completed form certifying completion.
When you receive a discharge of debts, creditors can no longer attempt to collect money from you. Remember, however, that debts not discharged can still be collected.
All of this takes place, generally, within 80 to 100 days from when you file the petition. It is important to complete all steps of the process completely, in accordance with state laws.
Get Help with Your Bankruptcy Questions
If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact Daic Law to speak with our skilled attorney. We can help you understand your rights and your best options to resolve your debt and take control of your financial situation. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us by calling 877-893-6040. At Daic Law, we help clients with debt defense, debt collection lawsuits, and bankruptcy. If you live in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio or surrounding areas, we can help you!