Chapter 7, bankruptcy is usually a straightforward case. You file your papers with the court, follow the bankruptcy laws and attend money management courses, meet with the trustee and creditors and then in three to six months you will receive a discharge on all of your qualifying debt.
Any person who resides in the United States can file for bankruptcy. If the judge or trustee feels that you are hiding assets or abusing the bankruptcy system, they can dismiss your case. Also, if your income is higher than the state you live in median income, your bankruptcy case may be transferred over to a Chapter 13 case.
First, you will fill out and file a petition with the courts. You will also be asked to submit all of your income and expenses, your debt, and addresses of all of your creditors. Your lawyer will advise you on any other documents you must give to the courts at that time or in the near future.
When you file the petition with the court, an automatic stay instantly goes into effect. This stops all creditors actions being taken against you to collect on your debt. The automatic stay also stops foreclosures, evictions, utility shut-offs, vehicle repossessions, wage garnishments and harassing phone calls and letters.
Meeting of the Creditors
A couple of weeks after filing the papers with the court, you, your lawyer, the trustee, and rarely your creditors, will meet in an informal setting to discuss your finances. This meeting can last from a few minutes to an hour.
If no one contests your documentation, the trustee will determine and seize any non-exempt property. The trustee will give notice of intent to sell the property, you or any other party can object to the sale. Generally, due to the number of exemptions you are allowed, you will not have to forfeit any of your assets to the trustee.
Before your bankruptcy can be completed, you must attend an approved credit counseling course, and a pre-discharge debtor education course, these can be taken online.
For more information on how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can benefit you, contact a Cincinnati bankruptcy attorney.