In this post we describe the bankruptcy process in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 so you know what to expect when you come see us.
1. You get in touch. Give us a call at 612-564-4025. We can often get you in the same or next day. Your first meeting will be about an hour long. As soon as you decide to hire us, we spring into action, organizing your paperwork and preparing your case. At this point, you can send your debt collectors directly to us—no more endless phone calls.
2. We prepare your case. It generally takes us three weeks to file your bankruptcy petition—a collection of relevant documents and an asset inventory. Once we file your case, collection activity—such as letters, calls, lawsuits and foreclosures—stops immediately. As we prepare your case, we help you choose the best type of bankruptcy for your unique situation—Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
3. We help you choose what type of bankruptcy is best for you.
- You might choose Chapter 7 if: 1) Your expenses are way higher than your income, leaving nothing extra to pay your debt; 2) You don’t own a home, or if you do, you’re up to date on your mortgage payments; 3) You don’t own many valuables.
- You might choose Chapter 13 if: 1) You can afford to repay some of your debt, but not all of it; 2) You’re behind on your mortgage or you’re underwater with a second mortgage; 3) You have valuable assets, such as home equity, that you want to hold onto.
4. Will I have to go to court? In bankruptcy, you generally don’t have to go to court. Instead, you meet with a bankruptcy trustee a month after your filing date. The trustee evaluates your financial situation. We make sure you’re well prepared, and we’ll be by your side to make sure it all goes smoothly.
5. Finishing your case in Chapter 7. Chapter 7 usually lasts three to four months. Your bankruptcy is typically completed 60 days after meeting with the bankruptcy trustee. Once your case is finalized, your debts are wiped out forever.
6. Your Chapter 13 payment plan. In Chapter 13, you’ll make monthly payments for three to five years to pay off your debt. We’ll be your lawyers the whole time, in case you need help or your financial situation changes. Once you make your last Chapter 13 payment, your remaining debts are wiped out.
7. Rebuild credit. People who put in some effort to rebuild their credit after bankruptcy can usually make their score rise a lot faster than people who just wait for their credit to fix itself. We meet with all our clients free of charge after the bankruptcy is over to see how we can help clean up your credit report and give you tips for building new credit.