WHAT IS THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS AND TIMELINE
Bankruptcy can be a somewhat complicated process and thus it is always suggested you seek the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney to help you through this process. In order to file bankruptcy, you must prepare the appropriate bankruptcy petition and schedules and other statements that the Bankruptcy Court requires to be filed. In a general sense, you fill out a petition and schedules that list your monthly income, monthly living expenses, all of your assets (which are the items that you own), and all of your creditors. Prior to filing your bankruptcy, you must complete a credit counseling class. That class usually is provided online or over the phone. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you find an approved class. Once the petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. This stay stops any creditors from further attempts to collect any debts or stops them from any further harassment.
Typically, after the petition is filed there is a First Meeting of Creditors that you must attend. This hearing is scheduled approximately 4-6 weeks after the filing of the bankruptcy petition. At that hearing, the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to your case questions you, under oath, as to the aspects of your petition and any other questions he or she may have in order to properly administer your bankruptcy case. If you are in a Chapter 13 Plan, your first payment to the Trustee is due 30 days after the filing of your Chapter 13 Petition. Within 45 days after that hearing, you must have completed a financial management course which will allow you to receive your Discharge. After the First Meeting of Creditors, certain deadlines have to run but in a typical case approximately 120 days after the filing of your case you will receive your Discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you do not receive your Discharge until all of your Chapter 13 Plan payments have been completed.
Once you receive your Discharge, the next step is that the Trustee assigned to your case will file a report with the Bankruptcy Court requesting that his or her services be terminated and your estate be closed. The timing of the filing of this closing statement depends on the circumstances of your case. In cases where no assets are being administered by the Trustee, this closing statement may come shortly after you receive your Discharge. If there are assets that a particular Trustee must administered in your case, then the closing statement is not filed until the administration of those assets has been completed.
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