Once a debtor has met with a bankruptcy attorney and has determined that they qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filing process may begin. Initially, your bankruptcy attorney needs the fees associated with the filing process which includes attorney’s fees that start from $1500 and go up to $3000, filing fee of $299 and class fees of $100 for each debtor.
Your bankruptcy attorney will also require a list of documents needed to complete the Chapter 7 petition and schedules. These documents include; title and registration to all vehicles, deed to all properties, 6 months of paystubs, 6 months of bank statements, 4 years of tax returns, financial retirement statements, divorce documents within 6 years (including child support orders), judgments/lawsuits filed w/in the previous year, current life insurance policies, and receipts for purchases over $600 in the previous 3 months
Once submitted, the debtor’s Chapter 7 petition and schedules will be completed within a 2 week period. During that time the bankruptcy lawyers and paralegal will contact debtor(s) to address any issues regarding the filing. In that time the debtor must take a mandatory Credit Counseling course (either online or telephonic). Once the class is completed the debtor must file the Certificate of Completion with the bankruptcy court. The debtor’s bankruptcy attorney can file the certificate electronically. Once the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and schedules are completed the bankruptcy attorney will review the documents with the debtor(s). Debtor(s) sign the documents under the penalty of perjury and the bankruptcy attorney files with the court. Debtor(s) must ensure that all creditors are listed, all assets are disclosed completely and income is accurate.
After the Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, and throughout the pendency of the bankruptcy, debtor(s) bankruptcy attorney will communicate with the Trustee assigned to the case to address any concerns.
Approximately 30-45 days after the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and schedules are filed debtor(s) must attend a mandatory 341 meeting of creditors. Debtor(s) will be given notice in the mail of the date and time of the hearing. Prior to the court hearing the Trustee assigned to the debtor(s) case will request documents from the debtor. Debtor(s) must ensure to submit these documents with the Trustee in a timely manner prior to their hearing. On the day of the hearing debtor(s) should appear early to meet with their bankruptcy attorney. The bankruptcy attorney will prepare them outlining the standard procedure and questions asked. It is vital that debtor(s) appear with their IDs and Social Security cards.
If debtor(s) fail to submit requested documents prior to the hearing or appear without an ID or Social Security card the Trustees may either dismiss their case or continue it to another time.
After the 341 meeting of creditors, debtor(s) have 45 days to complete the second mandatory Debtor Education course. Again, debtor(s) must file the certificate with the bankruptcy court. Approximately 60-90 days after the meeting of creditors the Bankruptcy Court will issue debtor(s) discharge. This discharge will come in the mail so it is important that debtor(s) keep their current address on file in the court. Upon receipt of the discharge paperwork the case is complete.