How does the bankruptcy process work?

For your initial consultation with me, you will need to bring with you information on your debts (including your credit card debt, any lawsuits, foreclosures or repossessions, tax, student loans, or medical bills) and about property you own (bank accounts, real estate, cars, retirement accounts, etc.). I will review your financial situation with you and discuss the benefits of various options available to you including bankruptcy.

If you decide that you want to file for bankruptcy, I will prepare all the necessary documents including the Bankruptcy Petition. When your case is ready to file, we will then meet again so that you can carefully review these documents before I file them with the Bankruptcy Court.

After the Bankruptcy Petition is filed, your creditors are prohibited from harassing you and all lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments and attachments are stopped immediately. The Bankruptcy Court will mail a notice to this effect to all of your creditors after your Petition if filed. The Bankruptcy Court also sets a date for meeting of creditors meeting (also known as a Section 341 Creditors Meeting).  This creditors meeting is scheduled about one month after your Bankruptcy Petition is filed and usually lasts only 5 to 10 minutes.  You will be required to attend the creditors meeting and I will be right next to you to guide you through it.  At the creditors meeting, the trustee assigned to your case will ask you questions about your assets and your outstanding debt. Although all of your creditors are invited to attend, in most cases, they usually do not.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually complete in about three to four months. When you complete your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Court will issue your Discharge and close your case. The Discharge prevents your creditors from ever collecting on discharged debts.

The process is very similar if you file a Chapter 13 reorganization, except that the Discharge is not issued until you complete all the payments required under your reorganization plan (usually between three to five years).