Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Put simply, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the process someone can use to wipe out his or her debts in exchange for possibly having to give up some of their assets to be liquidated and used to pay creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcies are often referred to as “liquidation” bankruptcies. However, in most cases, debtors are able to keep their assets and not have to give up anything, even a house or a car in the right circumstances. We can tell you what assets you would be able to keep in bankruptcy during a free consultation.

Means Test

Not everyone can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debtor (you) must first show the Court that you qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy through a financial test called the “Means Test.” The bankruptcy “means test” determines whether your income is low enough for you to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a nutshell, the “means test” is a formula designed to keep filers with higher incomes from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Those with income too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 would still be able to file for bankruptcy protection but would have to file a Chapter 13. The “means test” can be a bit complicated, but our attorneys can quickly tell you whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7.

Automatic Stay

Most debtors who come to our offices are looking for help in preventing creditor lawsuits, ending garnishments, stopping harassing creditor phone calls, and getting a fresh start. When a debtor files for bankruptcy a “stay” is put in place which prevents the collection efforts of creditors including garnishments and lawsuits. The “stay” is meant to give debtors some breathing room while they go through the bankruptcy process. Most creditors are aware of the automatic stay that comes with the filing of a bankruptcy and know that a violation of the automatic stay can be extremely bad for them. We can help defend against creditor actions by filing your bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Filing

The most time-consuming part of the bankruptcy process is the preparation of all the documents that must be filed with the Court in order to get the automatic stay. The paperwork required for the “means test” alone is enough to cause most debtors to simply through their hands up in defeat. Those debtors that do manage to fill out the paperwork almost always fail to file everything required and sometimes have their cases dismissed simply because they didn’t know all the rules. We do. We know what forms you need and how to fill them out. And because we file everything electronically with the Court, you don’t have to worry about trying to hand deliver your petition paperwork directly to the Court.

Meeting of Creditors

For most debtors, the hardest part about bankruptcy is the “unknown” or what to expect once everything is filed. After a debtor’s petition is filed with the Court, a person called a Trustee is assigned to the case to represent the debtor’s creditors. A meeting with the Trustee is automatically docketed and the debtor must meet with the Trustee in person to discuss the petition. This meeting is called a 341 Meeting of Creditors. This may sound scary but in fact, it’s very routine and quick. Most of these meetings last 5 minutes or so; just long enough for the Trustee to ask the Debtor some basic questions about the information in the petition. Our attorneys will always be with you at your creditor meeting and prepare you on what to expect before the meeting.

Discharge

After the 341 Meeting of Creditors, creditors have 60 days to file any objections they may have about their debt being discharged by the Court. The objections must have some sort of legal basis and can’t simply be because the creditor feels that it’s “unfair” for their debt to be discharged. We work with you before you even file your bankruptcy to identify any debt that might have a chance at not being discharged so that we can plan accordingly. After the creditor objection period has passed, the Court will issue a discharge of debts. The discharge prevents creditors from ever again trying to collect on that debt and allows the debtor a truly fresh start.

Cost

You can get started with us for as little as $100!

We tell this to everyone who comes in our doors, watch out for the cheap bankruptcies. It’s very easy to find advertising for bankruptcies as low as $299, but as with everything in life, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Those clients who come in our doors that have tried the cheap bankruptcy route all report the same things: little to no contact with the attorney, bait and switch tactics, no return phone calls, no one going with the debtor to the 341 Meeting of Creditors, incorrect paperwork, paperwork not filed, etc. We charge a flat fee rate beginning at $1,500 (plus costs) which can be paid in installments. We believe in being upfront with our clients from start to finish.

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