Steps for Filing for Bankruptcy

1. Filing your bankruptcy petition

Whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, a voluntary bankruptcy will commence when the bankruptcy petition is filed with the appropriate bankruptcy court. Petitions can be filed jointly with a spouse or separately. An automatic stay or temporary injunction will begin on this day. The automatic stay will prevent your creditors from continuing their harassing creditor actions. An automatic stay can also stop a home foreclosure, property repossession, bank account levies and wage garnishment.

2. Pay the filing fee

All filing fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy must be paid when the bankruptcy petition is submitted. Under some conditions the application fees may be paid in installments.

3. File a List of your Creditors

When you file your Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition you must also provide a list of your creditors. Your list must include the creditor’s names and addresses.

4. File all bankruptcy schedules

For both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the filer must complete all of the appropriate schedules, including schedules which list the filer’s assets and liabilities, executory contracts, unexpired leases, statement of financial affairs, and current income and expenditures. Schedules must be submitted within15 days from the date the bankruptcy petition is filed.

5. File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan

If a debtor is filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy they must submit a bankruptcy repayment plan within 15 days from the date the bankruptcy petition is filed. The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan will outline the creditors and how each creditor will be paid.

6. The court mails a Notice of Commencement of Case

After the debtor submits the petition, the court must mail a Notice of Commencement of the case. This is generally done within 18 days of the submission of the bankruptcy petition. The notice will notify all the creditors and the debtor of the bankruptcy meetings, and the deadlines for objecting to the debt discharge. Creditors may also have a chance to file their Proof of Claims.

7. Debtor must file a Statement of Intention for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Debtors must file a Statement of intention (a copy is submitted to the trustee and the creditors) within 30 days of filing their Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition. This statement notifies the court of whether the filer intends to reaffirm the debt and continue to make payments, to redeem the property by paying the balance of their debt or if they wish to surrender the property.

8. Chapter 13 plan payments must be made

Filers who have filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy must begin making their debt payments for their debt repayment plan within 30 days from the date the bankruptcy is filed.

9. Hold the 341 Creditor Meeting

A meeting of the creditors must be held within a reasonable time after the bankruptcy petition is held. The 341 Meeting is generally held 6 weeks after a bankruptcy petition is filed. The debtor must attend the meeting. Creditors have the option of whether they wish to attend, but failure to attend does not eliminate their right to challenge the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge or the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan.

10. Deadline to file an objection to claim of exemption

This deadline is 30 days after the 341 Meeting and allows either the bankruptcy trustee or any other interested party to object to the debtor’s exemption for their property.

11. Discharge entered for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

The time for an objection of a discharge expires after 60 days from the first date of the creditor’s meeting. Trustees may, however, ask for the discharge to be discarded if the filer fails to give the trustee their non-exempt property.

12. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge

Most Chapter 7 filers can expect to have their debt discharged within 60 to 90 days after the 341 Meeting of the Creditors.

13. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharge

Plan payments can last from 3 to 5 years and the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will be complete, if the conditions of the plan are met, within a maximum of 5 years.

Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is time to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. Bankruptcy laws have changed and it may be more difficult to complete a bankruptcy on your own. Find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who can answer your bankruptcy questions.

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Beth L. is a content writer for Better Bankruptcy. Good content and information is one of many methods we utilize to bring you the answers you need.