Generally, the entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes approximately three to four months from when your case is filed until your case is closed. The filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335. In addition to the filing fee, you must complete a credit counseling course prior to filing and a financial management course after filing. These courses may be completed online with a cost of $10 per course.
The typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy process includes:
- Initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney
- Completion of necessary forms
- Pre-Petition Credit Counseling
- Review, Sign and File Petition and Schedules
- Financial Management Course
- 341 Meeting of Creditors
Initial Consultation With A Bankruptcy Attorney
To begin a bankruptcy filing, it is strongly recommended that you meet with an attorney with specific bankruptcy experience to explain in more detail the rules, guidelines, qualifications and process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy as it applies to your specific situation.
Completion of Necessary Forms
We have developed worksheets for our clients to complete that will enable us to analyze their financial situation and complete the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements. You should be prepared to list your debts and assets and provide proof of your income for the six months prior to filing your case.
The 2005 bankruptcy laws require that you complete a credit counseling course with an agency approved by the United States Trustee. We have partnered with MoneySharp Credit Counseling so that when you complete the course, we receive a copy of your completion certificate to file with the court.
Review, Sign and File Petition and Schedules
Once you have completed and returned the worksheets we provide you, we will prepare all of the materials necessary for filing. When the documents are prepared, you will come to our office to review and sign the Petition and Schedules. Once you have signed everything, we will file the petition with the Bankruptcy Court.
Financial Management Course
Once your case is filed, the Financial Management Course Certificate must be filed within 45 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. We recommend that this course be completed immediately after filing. We have partnered with MoneySharp Financial Education so that when you complete the course, we receive a copy of your completion certificate to file with the court.
341 Meeting of Creditors
Shortly after you file bankruptcy, you and all the creditors you list will receive a notice that a “creditor meeting” has been scheduled. This meeting typically occurs three to four weeks after your case is filed. A bankruptcy trustee will be assigned to oversee your case and conduct this meeting and will ask you questions, under oath, about your bankruptcy and the information contained in your schedules and statements. Creditors rarely attend this meeting, but if they do, they may question you as well.
The final stage of the bankruptcy process is discharge. This typically occurs three to four months after the initial filing. The court eliminates all of your debt, except:
- Debts that automatically survive bankruptcy such as child support, most tax debts, student loans, etc. (unless ruled otherwise by the court)
- Debts the court has declared non-dischargeable due to fraud.