The Bankruptcy Process
The bankruptcy paperwork that is filed with the Bankruptcy Court is over 50 pages long. Bankruptcy is complicated enough that it is recommended to use an attorney to help you through it. First, meet with an attorney to understand what your obligations will be and to provide your financial information. In the paperwork you will identify your assets, debts, income, and other personal information. With this information you will either decide to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Once you are ready to file your case, you must do what is call a “credit counseling course”. It is an hour-long course required by the Bankruptcy Court that explains bankruptcy and go over credit and budgeting basics. This course must be completed prior to filing.
After your case is filed you must also complete the required hour-long course on “personal financial management”. After your case is filed you will have to attend a 341 meeting of creditors, about 3-6 weeks after the filing date. This hearing is with the bankruptcy trustee who oversees cases on behalf of the government. Their job is to ensure the integrity of the bankruptcy process by checking that your paperwork matches the reality of your situation and no fraud is occurring.
If you are in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your case will then remain open for 90 days after the hearing to allow for any objections. Once that period is over, and no objections are filed, you will obtain a discharge of bankruptcy.
If you are in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will being making your monthly payments to the Trustee. These payments are made over a period of either 3 or 5 years. If you make all your payments, you will receive the discharge of bankruptcy.