• Bankruptcy Help for Consumers

    Chapter 7

    The purpose of a Chapter 7 case is to give you a fresh start. You list all of your creditors and all of your assets on papers that are filed with the court. The court grants you a discharge of your debts, which means that you no longer have a legal obligation to pay them. You also make a list of your belongings, or assets. Most of your assets are exempt, which means they are protected by law. But if you have any valuable, unprotected assets, it is possible that they will be taken and sold to benefit your creditors. In most cases,however, with proper legal advice before you file, you do not lose any property at all.

    To get the case started, you need to follow these simple steps:

    Meet with an attorney to determine if bankruptcy is the best alternative available in your circumstances.

    Take a credit counseling course from an accredited agency. We can direct you to such agencies.

    Meet with an attorney to review all of the bankruptcy paperwork. The bankruptcy petition, statements and schedules are filed at that meeting and a case number is assigned.

    After your case is started, you will need to do the following:

    Attend a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. This meeting is scheduled approximately one month after the case is filed.

    Take a financial management course before the discharge can be granted by the court.

    If you comply with the requirements set forth above, along with anything else you are directed to do by the trustee or the court, the court will grant you a discharge of your debts approximately 60 days after your meeting with the trustee.

    Chapter 13

    A Chapter 13 case allows you to protect your property, like your home and vehicles. It immediately stops foreclosure sales, repossessions and other actions by creditors to take your property. It is designed to allow you to take control of your finances by consolidating your debts and even adjusting them as necessary to set up a monthly payment you can afford to make. Typically, a chapter 13 consolidation lasts for three to five years. All of your debts are included in the repayment plan, including taxes and student loans. Some debts, like student loans, may not be paid in full by the end of the Chapter 13 plan.

    To get the case started, you need to follow these simple steps:

    Meet with an attorney to determine if bankruptcy is the best alternative available in your circumstances.

    Take a credit counseling course from an accredited agency. We can direct you to such agencies.

    Meet with an attorney to review all of the bankruptcy paperwork. The bankruptcy petition, statements and schedules are filed at that meeting and a case number is assigned.

    After your case is started, you will need to do the following:

    Attend a meeting with the chapter 13 trustee. This meeting is scheduled approximately one month after the case is filed. You are required to make your first plan payment before this meeting.

    Continue to make the monthly plan payments until the plan is completed. This process typically lasts from 3 to 5 years.

    Take a financial management course sometime before you make the final plan payment.

    If you make all your plan payments and comply with the requests of the trustee and any orders of the court, you will be awarded a discharge of your debts.