Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharges (eliminates) most general, unsecured creditors. This would include things like credit cards, personal loans, auto deficiency balances, medical bills and some taxes. Essentially, a Chapter 7 filing illustrates an individual’s inability to enter into some form of payment plan with creditors. The debtor’s “bankruptcy petition” has specific, logical, household expenditures that provide the framework for a legitimate discharge of debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most efficient form of bankruptcy; however, it is always best to consult an attorney to discuss your unique financial situation and determine which course of action would be most appropriate for your situation.
The electronic filing of the bankruptcy petition triggers the Automatic Stay under 362 of the Bankruptcy Code. The Automatic Stay is one of the most important provisions of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. The Automatic Stay protects a debtor from all collection activities including: lawsuits, wage garnishments, foreclosure, sheriff sales and general harassment.
Keep in mind that MOST common assets are EXEMPT, or PROTECTED. For instance, the Federal Bankruptcy Code provides exemptions for things like a homestead (residence), vehicle, household goods and pension. However, proper exemption planning can be difficult at times and improper usage can be disastrous. It is critical to have experienced counsel review the available exemptions PRIOR to the filing of the case.
It is important to keep in mind that there is no true “typical” or “routine” bankruptcy filing. I have seen many advertisements on the internet indicating that the process is “easy” or can even be done without an attorney. I can tell you that this could not be further from the truth. The Bankruptcy Courts and the Federal guidelines are very stringent and there is very little “wiggle room” associated with the deadlines and procedure. Unfortunately, I have seen many individuals waste hundreds, if not thousands of dollars following a “do-it yourself” bankruptcy plan. More importantly, I have seen individuals lose assets with improper exemption planning. Most problems I have seen could have been avoided altogether with competent legal representation. Normally my clients enter my office with a life full of chaos, the last thing they need is to lose assets or pay several hundred dollars for a dismissed bankruptcy case.
In general, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes APPROXIMATELY 5 months from filing to discharge. However, here can be a variety of circumstances which can trigger further investigations by the Court, which would obviously lengthen the process. At the initial consultation, I am usually able to tell my clients how long a case will last based on my past experience. You can be sure that my office will walk through this process step-by-step. We realize you have never been in this situation before and we take each client’s case slowly to ensure all questions are answered in a timely manner.
Filing for bankruptcy can be complex, as there are several rules and procedures involved. Contact Foster Law Offices today for your free, personalized consultation.