We understand that the decision to file a bankruptcy can be very stressful. At LeBaron Law Offices, we can guide you through the process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe out your debt and gain a fresh start.
First, our office will meet with you for a free consultation where we will analyze your financial situation, making note of your debt and income. We will then be able to determine if a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will be best for you. Keep in mind that some debt is not dischargeable such as child support obligations, student loans, and taxes. We will also discuss your property. Each state has exemption laws that determine what types of property or how much equity in certain property you are entitled to keep. Most people that file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to keep their home and vehicle. If you have property that is guaranteed as collateral for a loan, you will have the option to redeem the property by paying a lump sum payment or reaffirm the property by continuing to make monthly payments that are worked out with the creditor. Once you retain our office, we will present you with a binder of information and a questionnaire to complete with a list of documents you will need to provide to our office such as paystubs and taxes. You will also be required to take a pre-filing credit counseling that can be taken online. We will use the information you fill out on the questionnaire to prepare your bankruptcy Petition, we will also pull your credit report for you as part of our fee.
When your Petition is complete, we will schedule you for a signing appointment to meet with the attorney or paralegal to sign the forms. The forms are filed electronically which officially starts the case and gives you a case number. Once the case number is in place, all collection activity against you must be stopped per the bankruptcy’s automatic stay protection. (FYI: Emergency filings are available.) Approx. four (4) weeks after the Petition is filed, you will attend a short 341 meeting or Meeting of the Creditors. The purpose of the meeting is to meet with the bankruptcy trustee who will review your case. Creditors may also attend the meeting if they have questions, but rarely do. The trustee may ask for additional information at the meeting which he will give a deadline to provide.
After the hearing and you have provided any additional information that the trustee has asked for, you will need to wind up any matters you may have with a secured creditor such as signing reaffirmation agreements or making arrangements to surrender property. Then you will need to complete a post filing credit counseling course which can also be taken online. The certificate of completion for the course is due within 30 days from the date of the 341 meeting. The case will then be discharged and you will receive a Discharge Order which means you no longer have a legal obligation to pay the debts and the creditors have no legal right to demand it. The entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes about three to four months.