The Process Of Your Debt Getting Filed
Step 1. Initial consultation: We do a phone consultation or an in office meeting to explain the process of bankruptcy, whether chapter 7 or chapter 13 is more appropriate for your situation. This is the free consultation.
Step 2. Retainer: You sign a retainer agreement that I draft which will explain the fees and what you have hired me for. You also need to make some sort of payment towards the bankruptcy fees. Once this is done we have a contract that explains the services that will be rendered and you are now my client
Step 3. Documents: I send you all the forms that you will need to fill out as well as the documents that I will need to keep on file in order to proceed with your case. I will need 6 months of pay stubs, tax returns, copies of your last 3 months of bank statements, deeds, titles to cars etc and then I will have the necessary data to put your case together.
Step 4. Credit Counseling: You will need to take the first required credit counseling course which are offered via internet or phone and have that document sent to you or me for my file as we put this into the petition.
Step 5. Review of file: Once I have all the documents I will review them and see if anything is missing or if there is any additional information that I need based on something that comes up in your file.
Step 6. Putting together the petition: I put together the petition for you to review
Step 7. Review by you: I send you a PDF version of the petition or you come into my office to review the petition. After you assure me that you understand everything in the petition and that it is correct. You will need to sign all the signature pages and fax them to me or drop them off at my office.
Step 8 Finalization: Once you have signed the petition and reviewed it with me then we file your case. In order to file a chapter 7 case your fees to the court of $299 must have been paid and my attorney fees must have been paid as well otherwise I am a creditor and am relying on your word to pay me and you have no obligation to since you are filing bankruptcy and I must list myself as a creditor. If it's a 13 your initial payment must be made as agreed to in our retainer and then the rest of the payments will come through in the chapter 13 plan when the trustee pays me from the distribution that he makes to your crediotrs.
Step 9 Case is filed: I electronically file your case and then the automatic stay goes into effect preventing creditors from pursing any legal action or collection against you. All calls should cease if they have not already. Once you tell a creditor that I am retained they should stop calling you. Once your case is filed, if they continue to call you then we can seek damages. Within a day or two of me filing the case we will have a case number which I will email you and a trustee hearing which should be around one month from the filing date.
Step 10. Trustee hearing: I show up with you at the 341 meeting of creditors where you are examined under oath as to the assets and liabilities etc that we put into your petition. This is usually a very simple hearing which lasts 5 minutes and is more of a formality. You must bring your social security card and a valid ID or the meeting of creditors will not take place.
Step 11. Discharge: About 2 months after the hearing you should get a letter from the bankruptcy court declaring that your debts have been discharged. The process is now over and you move on with your Fresh Start.