The Bankruptcy Process


Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy has many questions and concerns when deciding whether filing is the right choice for them. The Malaise Law Firm are knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys who can explain any part of the bankruptcy process to you in easy to understand terms, and answer all of your questions. For a brief overview on what is involved in a bankruptcy filing, we provide you with the following information for a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

CHAPTER 7

Prior to filing you must gather all of your income and expenses to provide to your attorney in order to have us prepare the Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs. All assets and liabilities must be noted. You must also participate in a mandatory Credit Counseling course prior to the filing. Once your petition is filed, creditors will no longer be able to contact you.

About 30 days after filing, a Trustee meeting will occur to meet with your creditors and liquidate your non-exempt assets to help pay your creditors. Creditors may object to any discharge of your debt, but this rarely occurs. A financial management course must be completed prior to your final discharge being granted by the court. Following a 60 day period when anyone can object to the discharge – with all other requirements completed – your Notice of Discharge will be mailed to you within 4-6 weeks. This formal discharge will eliminate all of your non-exempt debts.

CHAPTER 13

As with Chapter 7, mandatory Credit Counseling must be completed prior to filing, and all of your income and expense information must be obtained for your Petition and other documents. As Chapter 13 involves restructuring your debt and paying it back within 3-5 years, a Statement of Financial Affairs and Plan must be filed with the Court. The plan must outline how each debt is going to be handled within the time frame allowed by Chapter 13. Your disposable income must all go to pay for these debts. This amount is determined by IRS allowed expenses and can sometimes be a hardship to live within the means.

Certain creditors must be fully paid back, while other debts can be negotiated. About one month after your filing, a meeting with the Trustee is held to review your paperwork and your repayment plan. As with Chapter 7, your creditors will have a certain amount of time to object to the plan. At a later date a Plan Confirmation Hearing will be held to discuss any objection or changes to the plan. Once your Plan is approved, the first payments to your creditors are due within 30 days. All payments must be made timely or you risk falling out of bankruptcy protection, allowing creditors to once again pursue you for full payment. At the end of your Plan, the Trustee will process your discharge, however a financial management course must be completed prior to the final filing.

Guiding You Through the Bankruptcy Process

Filing for bankruptcy is complex and involves much legal paperwork, timelines and coordination with the Trustee and the Court. Attempting to file without the benefit of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer could result in delays and debt left out of the bankruptcy protection. When you retain the Malaise Law Firm, you can feel confident that all the necessary actions have been taken care of. Our office strives to provide you with sound financial advice and a quick resolution to your debt handling.