Steps to Get Out of Debt
PREPARE &FILE PETITION
Free Initial Consultation
When you set up an initial consultation, we will send you a very easy interactive form to gather information about your debts and assets. You can see the form here. If you are ready to get started, fill it out and we will contact you for the initial appointment.
At that appointment, I will discuss your options and give you my opinion as to what you should do. If bankruptcy is not the best option, I will tell you. If it is the best option, I will discuss which chapter is best for you and why. You will leave that appointment with a clear understanding as to how a bankruptcy would benefit you.
There are a few documents that will be needed to complete you bankruptcy.
1. Last six months pay stubs from you (and your spouse if married). If you have any other income, verification of that income (for example, social security, pension, etc.)
2. State and Federal tax returns (with W2 and/or 1099. for the last two years.
3. Last three months bank statements.
4. Driver's license (or state ID) and social security card.
You will also need to take two counseling classes, one before you file and then one after. Those classes can be taken at any approved provider. However, we will send you an invitation to the class that we prefer. Once completed, they will send us a certificate of completion which is need to be filed with your bankruptcy.
We will run credit reports for you. We will give you a list of all creditors on your report and ask you to bring in any bills that are not on that list. Most often, hospital debts do not appear on your credit report and you will need to bring them in. It is important to get all creditors listed.
Prepare and File Petition
After we have all of the requested information, we will complete your bankruptcy petition. The petition is usually 60-70 pages long. Not to worry, we do that work for you. A member from our staff will call you to discuss any information that may be missing or if we have questions regarding the information you submitted. You will then be set for a final appointment with Attorney Fugate to review each of the schedules. When we are confident that the petition is accurate, we will have you sign the petition.
We will also coordinate a date for the filing of the petition. We want to make sure that on the day we file the petition, your bank accounts are less than $400 if you are filing by yourself and $800 if you are filing jointly.
Once the petition is filed, we will send you an email giving you some important information. The email will include your court date, the address for court, you case number (you will need this to take your second class), and if you have filed a Chapter 13, your payment amount and address to send it.
Usually the only hearing that you will have to attend is called the 341 meeting of creditors. Although its called a meeting of creditors, very rarely do creditors show up for the hearing. That hearing will take place approximately 30-45 days after the filing of your petition. At the hearing the trustee assigned to your case will ask your questions regarding your petition. The trustee is looking to see if there are any assets that might be available to creditors and also making sure that your petition is not in violation of the bankruptcy laws.
Most hearings are very short (10-15 minutes). An attorney from our office will be there to represent you at that hearing. The questions that you will be asked most likely we would have asked you several times when preparing the petition. For that reason, we will have you well prepared for the hearing. Occasionally there are issues that arise from that hearing. Those issues will be resolve outside of the hearing between our office and the trustee.
In Chapter 7 cases, assuming there are no issues, you will receive a discharge in the mail in approximately 2 months after that hearing and your case will be closed shortly thereafter. In a Chapter 13 case, your case will remain open until the plan is completed (usually 3-5 years). Assuming you complete the plan payments, you will receive a discharge and the case will be closed shortly thereafter.
So...What are you waiting for?
Now that you know filing bankruptcy is not difficult, why not start the process of getting out of debt today. In the old days, I would say that help is just a phone call away. Now it is just a click away. Click the button below and we will be in contact with you very shortly.