What Is A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case? How Does It Work?
Bankruptcy, it’s a word that most people find repugnant, but should it be so maligned? The fact of the matter is—bankruptcy provides significant relief to many Americans annually. If you’re drowning in debt and see no way out, bankruptcy may be the only way for you to start over with a clean slate. Many Americans face hardships, from medical conditions to severe accidents, business failures, and more; there are many ways that debt can pile upon you, sometimes quickly. In most cases, you can find relief through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. In a Chapter 7 you can often get to that ‘clean slate’ faster than a Chapter 13, but both offer advantages and you’ll want to discuss all your options with your bankruptcy attorney. A Chapter 7 is a commonly selected option for many people, and as your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney we can help you find a way to get your finances working for you, again.
I outline what will be needed when you visit our office (or another’s lawyer’s office).
This blog provides some basic information about Chapter 7 and how it works.
Many people are fearful of any legal process, and at first it can seem intimidating, but when you hire an experienced law firm, you’ll find the process can go smoothly and easily. If you choose to work with our firm, Robert J Adams & Associates, you can count on our 40 years of experience. We have worked with hundreds of clients facing bankruptcy and helped them achieve favorable outcomes that provided relief; we can help you too.
Chapter 7: An Overview
The purpose of Chapter 7 is to discharge certain debts and provide a ‘fresh start’ to individuals suffering from insurmountable debt. After a Chapter 7 is completed, you will no longer owe these debts; it’s that simple.
To file bankruptcy, an individual must first receive Credit Counseling. The cost is about $10 and is often completed via the internet. About half our clients complete it in our office, but you may complete it at home if you so choose. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete and is comprised of a series of questions. If you take the course on a computer that has an internal camera it will take your photo with a copy of your driver’s license. NOTE: If you choose to complete the course by phone, I Pad, or other tablet, the cost is $50. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can explain how the course works, and answer any questions you may have.
A Chapter 7 case cannot be filed until we have your certificate of completion. The certificate is valid for 180 days.
Regarding the Credit Counseling, some participants have stated they felt it was of little use to them, but it is absolutely a requirement in order to file for bankruptcy, so it’s just something that you must do. The course makes no assessment one way or the other as to whether you can or cannot file for bankruptcy; it’s simply a requirement that must be adhered to.
When You Visit Our Office
When you visit our office you’ll meet with a member of our staff right away. During the meeting they will:
- Ask for information such as your name, address, etc.
- Help you acquire a free credit report, which will be printed and given to you
- Make a record of all your creditors, including amounts owed
Next, you will sit down with one of our lawyers, and he or she will:
- Discuss your financial problems, your situation, and what you hope to achieve
- Talk to you about your various options
- Make sure your debts are in the proper categories
- Inform you if there are any problems, keeping in mind that problems are rare
- Discuss certain options in detail, for example, if you have a car note—do you want to keep it or give it back? Sometimes clients are not sure and that’s OK. You have time to consider your options.
- Explain the schedules that must be completed, and complete them for you
Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can answer any questions you may have.
We do everything we can to make it simple!
If you have questions or concerns just ask at any time. We want you to be comfortable and confident when you file Chapter 7.
We never take a penny unless you decide to hire us. And when you do hire us, we’ll find a way to work with your budget.
As your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, after we have compiled everything we need and you are satisfied, a Chapter 7 case is then filed. You, of course, have to review and sign the documents.
When the Chapter 7 case is filed, it will initiate an Automatic Stay. This means creditors are not legally allowed to bother you any longer.
About 20 to 40 days after the case is filed there will be a Trustee’s meeting. One of our lawyers will be with you at the meeting.
The purpose of a Trustee’s Meeting is to see that all documents are in proper order. A trustee will look for assets over and above creditor liens and exemptions provided in law. These are areas that we have already discussed with you in detail, so the Trustee’s Meeting should only last about 5 minutes.
For 99% or more of all filers, this is essentially the end of the case for them.
Before you filed your case you were required to complete Credit Counseling. Now, after the case is filed, you will have a docket number, so at this point you will be required to complete Debtor Education. This course can be completed over the internet and costs about $10. The course is compulsory in order to get a discharge, so don’t forget to do it.
About 4 months after the Chapter 7 is filed a formal Order of Discharge is entered.
And, your Chapter 7 is now history!