First, schedule a meeting with a Board-certified bankruptcy attorney to discuss all of your options.
Step 2 entails gathering all required documents for your attorney's examination. When registering for bankruptcy, it is imperative to collect and organize all financial documentation. Failure to do so may result in the court dismissing your case. Your attorney will advise you on which types of documentation the court requires.
Step 3 requires the debtor (person applying for bankruptcy) to complete pre-filing credit counseling within six months prior to filing for bankruptcy. The counseling must be administered by a government-approved, non-profit organization. The course covers personal financial management in conformance with the Bankruptcy Code. The duration of the course is roughly 90 minutes. These subjects are covered:
o Reasons for declaring bankruptcy
o Cause of financial difficulties
o What options exist for resolving the financial issues?
o Evaluation of your current budget and assistance in developing a new one
o After effectively completing the course, you will receive a certificate of completion that must be filed with the court alongside your bankruptcy petition.
Step 4: Whether filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must complete a Means test. The means test is used to identify debtors who may be able to repay a portion of their debts. Your attorney can provide you with additional information about this test.
Step 5 is the filing of the official petition, schedule of your financial status, and statement of financial affairs with the Bankruptcy court and payment of the filing fee.
Once your bankruptcy petition has been submitted, you will be required to attend the meeting of creditors. Typically, this occurs thirty days after registering for bankruptcy. This is a required engagement. The trustee in bankruptcy will administer the meeting. This meeting is brief, and you will be asked questions about the court documents you filed.
Before you can receive a debt discharge, you must complete a Personal Financial Management Course. It must be administered by an authorized provider of debtor education. You will receive a certificate of completion that must be submitted to the court before your bankruptcy can be discharged.
Once the court has ruled that the debtor is legally relieved of most debts and creditors are unable to collect those debts, the debtor is discharged. Certain debts, including child support, alimony, certain tax categories, and student loans, are not dischargeable.
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