What's Happening? Understanding The Bankruptcy Process

Posted on: 7 November 2017

One of the best parts of a chapter 7 bankruptcy plan is the reliability of the process and the relative expediency of it all. Unlike a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, which is really more of a debt reorganization plan, a chapter 7 filing could be completely done in as little as a few months. For a heads up on how the process works in most cases, read on.

1. Get your paperwork together: Your bankruptcy attorney will need a lot of documentation from you, so get ready to rifle through your files and compile some information. You cannot get debt relief without a filing, so the sooner you comply with the requests, the sooner your bankruptcy can be filed. The documents listed below will be used to fill out your bankruptcy package, which will consist of information about your debts, your property and more.

  • Names, addresses, account numbers and balances of all of your debts, from credit cards to bank loans to mortgages.

  • Proof of your income, using either pay stubs or tax returns if self employed.

  • Your most recent tax return.

  • Other miscellaneous but pertinent financial documents, such as child support orders or investment information.

2. Take the class: You must comply with two educational requirements related to bankruptcy, and one of them must be completed prior to a filing. The first one is a credit counseling class, and can be done up to 180 days before you file.

3. File your chapter 7 bankruptcy: Your attorney will file your bankruptcy with the closest federal court. You may need to provide some of your creditors with your case number and your attorney's information for the first week or so after your filing, but if you listed the creditor on your bankruptcy matrix, they will soon be informed of your filing and cease all collection activities.

4. Attend the creditor's meeting: This is likely your one and only bankruptcy appearance, and it is often scheduled a month or so after your initial filing. Be sure to bring government-issued picture id, your Social Security card and a copy of your bankruptcy paperwork with you to the meeting.

5. Take the other required class: This class must be completed before your bankruptcy is final, and it is mainly concerned with educating you about financial matters such as making a budget, how to use credit more wisely, etc.

6. Your bankruptcy is discharged: You will receive the final petition in the mail and you can now begin working toward a better financial future.