The Bankruptcy Filing Procedure
There are several legally required steps involved in filing for bankruptcy. Failing to complete them can lead to the dismissal of your case.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, people are required to complete a credit counseling session and acquire a certificate to file with their bankruptcy petition. The counselor needs to review your personal situation, offer guidance on budgeting and debt management, and review alternatives to bankruptcy. You can find the names of government-approved credit counseling agencies in your area by calling the federal bankruptcy court closest to you or by going to its website.
Filing for bankruptcy involves submitting a bankruptcy petition and financial statements showing your income, debts, and assets. You will also be required to submit a means test form, which determines whether your income is low enough for you to qualify for Chapter 7. If it isn't, you will have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. You will also need to pay a filing fee, though it is occasionally waived if you can prove you can't afford it.
You can acquire the forms you need from the bankruptcy court. If you enlist the services of a bankruptcy lawyer, which is usually a good idea, they should also be able to supply them.
When you have filed, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will schedule a meeting of creditors, also referred to as a 341 meeting for the section of the bankruptcy code where it is mandated. This is a chance for the people or companies that you owe money to ask questions concerning your financial situation and your plans, if any, to repay them.
Your case will be determined by a bankruptcy judge, based on the information you have supplied. If the court decides that you have tried to conceal assets or committed other fraud, you might not only lose your case but additionally face criminal prosecution. Unless your case is really complicated, you typically will not need to show up in court before the judge.
After you have declared bankruptcy-- but before your debts can be dismissed-- you need to take a debtor education course, which will provide guidance on budgeting and money management. Again, you will need to acquire a certificate showing that you have participated. You can get a list of approved debtor education providers from the bankruptcy court or from the Justice Department.
Presuming the court decides in your favor, your debts will be cleared, when it comes to Chapter 7. In Chapter 13, a repayment plan will be approved. Having debt cleared means that the creditor can no longer attempt to collect it from you.
When to File for Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy law exists to assist individuals who have taken on an unmanageable amount of debt-- often as a result of large medical bills or various other unanticipated costs that are no fault of their own-- to make a fresh start. However it is not an easy process and does not always lead to a happy ending.
So before filing for bankruptcy, make sure to examine all your options and be ready for some of the negative consequences explained above. If you determine that bankruptcy is your only reasonable option-- as hundreds of thousands of Americans do every year-- keep in mind that the blot on your record will not be permanent. By using credit cautiously in the future and paying your bills on time, you can start to rebuild your credit and gradually put bankruptcy behind you.
For More Information About Filing Bankruptcy in Newport Beach, California, Contact Thomas K. McKnight LLP At (800) 466 - 7507 or Visit Our Website at TKMLLP.Com for a Free Consultation!