The Process for Filing Bankruptcy
BEFORE YOU FILE
- You will need to provide to your attorney a complete list of your assets, your debts, income from all sources, a budget, and some other information. Your attorney will likely have a questionnaire for you to complete. It is important to accurately complete this questionnaire.
- There is an online class, called Consumer Credit Counseling, or Pre-Filing Course, that needs to be completed. This costs between $10 and $25. The link to approved agencies can be found here.
- Pay your attorney's fees. In a Chapter 7, all fees must be paid prior to filing. In a Chapter 13, a portion of the fees will be due prior to filing, with the rest to be paid through your Chapter 13 plan.
- Pay the filing fee (Ch. 7: $335.00; Ch. 13: $310.00) In some circumstances, the filing fee can be paid in installments, or waived.
- Meet with your attorney to sign the bankruptcy petition and schedules.
DURING THE CASE
- Within (2) weeks of filing, you must provide your attorney, who will provide to the Trustee, your most recently filed tax returns, bank statements covering the date of filing, (2) months of pay advices/proof of income, and a declaration.
- Approximately one month after filing, you must attend the Meeting of Creditors (Section 341 Meeting).
- Complete a second online course, called the Financial Management, or Pre-Discharge Course. The link to approved agencies can be found here.
- If you are in a Ch. 13, your first plan payment is due within (30) days of filing. During the case, keep your attorney informed of changes in income, address, marital status, or other important life disruptions. Additionally, just before your discharge, you will need to complete a Domestic Support Obligation Certification, stating that either you owed no support at the time of filing, or that you are current on your support.
AFTER THE DISCHARGE
- In a Ch. 7, a discharge usually occurs approximately 90 days after filing. In a Ch. 13, a discharge occurs at the completion of your plan, between 36 and 60 months from filing.
- If you receive the following property within (6) months of filing your Ch. 7, you must inform the Court through your attorney: (1) Inherited property; (2) Life insurance or death benefit; or (3) Property interests acquired through a property settlement or divorce decree.