Chapter 7

Chapter 7 articles:

  1. The new bankruptcy law passed in 2005 (BAPCPA)
  2. Discharging Debts Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  3. Will I Lose My Home or Car in Chapter 7?
  4. Is All Credit Card Debt Dischargeable Under a Chapter 7?
  5. Can I Use Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to Stop Foreclosure?
  6. How Does a Reaffirmation Work?
  7. Can Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Help With Medical Bills?

Procedure for Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

          The most common form of bankruptcy is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a “straight bankruptcy.”  From October 1st, 2010 through September 30th, 2011, over one million Chapter 7 bankruptcies were filed in the United States.

            You are probably wondering what you have to do in order to file your Chapter 7.  The procedure for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is actually quite simple.  You will not have to spend much money or put much time and effort into seeking relief from your overwhelming debt.

The first thing you will want to do is schedule a consultation with an attorney.  You can do this by calling The Licker Law Firm, LLC at 636-916-5400 or emailing us at tobias@lickerlawfirm.com.  The Licker Law Firm has five convenient locations and we take both evening and Saturday appointments.  The initial consultation is free and lasts about 30 minutes.  Your attorney will assess whether or not filing a Chapter 7 will be beneficial given your current financial situation.  They will also answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.  If your attorney thinks filing a Chapter 7 will be in your best interest, you will begin to move forward with gathering the documentation necessary for your petition for relief under Chapter 7.

The Licker Law Firm’s attorneys and paralegals will assist you in collecting documents for your bankruptcy.  There is a short questionnaire you will be asked to fill out.  Your attorney will require a copy of your most recently filed tax returns and as few as 2 months worth of pay stubs.  There is a credit counseling course that must be completed before your case can be filed.  This course can be done online or over the phone through an independent agency and typically takes about an hour.  Upon collections of these documents (Credit Counseling Certificate, questionnaire, taxes and pay stubs) we will draft your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition and Schedules.  Once your petition is completed we will contact you and you will come in to one of our offices to sign and review your petition.

At this point your petition is ready to be filed.  Bankruptcy petitions can be filed electronically, so your case will be filed and assigned a case number within a matter of minutes.  Once your case has been filed the Automatic Stay is imposed and creditors are no longer allowed to contact you.  At the time of filing a Meeting of Creditors date and location will be assigned by the Court.  At this point there is a second credit counseling course that must be completed.  It is similar to the first course and should be completed as soon as possible.

Your Meeting of Creditors is also known as a “341 Meeting.”  You will meet with your Trustee and he or she will ask you questions confirming your identity and the information provided in your petition and schedules.  Your attorney will be present with you at this meeting.  It is necessary that you attend your 341 Meeting.  They typically last about 10 to 15 minutes, although there will be other debtors on the docket.

After your Meeting of Creditors is concluded you will receive your Order of Discharge in about 60 days.  The Order of Discharge essentially means you are no longer liable for any unsecured debts you incurred prior to filing your bankruptcy.  This is an important document and should be kept in a safe place so you can access it in the future if needed.  Once you receive your Order of Discharge your case will be closed shortly after.  You now will have successfully completed the process of filing your Chapter 7!  It is really that easy!

Chapter 7 Questions and Answers:

I received a notice of commencement of a voluntary bankruptcy case from someone who owes me money, what do I do?

If you received the “Notice of Commencement”, it means that the person who owes you money filed a bankruptcy case. If that is a chapter 7 you don’t need to do anything at this point. If it is a chapter 13 you would need to file a proof of claim with the bankruptcy court in which you write down what the debtor owes you. If you have questions or need help with filing a proof of claim, please contact us. Most chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are no-asset cases. For that reason, creditors do not file claims until they receive a notice from the court directing creditors to file a claim. The court will mail out this notice after the trustee files a notice of assets which means that the debtor has unexempt assets the trustee can recover for the creditors.  If you think that the debtor incurred the debt through fraud or you have other information that might be important for the trustee, you can either contact the trustee or attend the meeting of creditors in which you can ask questions or provide information to the trustee.

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