What to Expect in Your Chapter 7
Typically, you will meet with the attorney two times in the office before your case is filed to review, prepare and sign documents. You must pay attorney fees and court filing fees before a case will be filed for you.
Documents that must be provided to your attorney before a case can be filed include the following:
- Titles to all vehicles
- Verification of income from all sources for 6 months (wages, social security, pension, unemployment, etc.)
- Recorded mortgages, Recorded Deed, Tax bill showing SEV, and mortgage statements
- 2 months bank statements
- Proof of insurance for vehicles and house
- Cash Surrender Value for Whole Life Insurance Policies
- Investment balances
- Creditor statements/collection letters/lawsuit documents
- Last 2 year’s tax returns
You must also complete the first of two credit counseling sessions with an approved credit counselor. This first credit counseling session may be a combination of internet and phone answers/counseling and takes approximately 45 minutes. It is mandatory that every person filing a bankruptcy must complete this counseling and obtain a certificate. Information about approved counseling agencies and costs are contained in this website.
Unless there is need for an emergency filing, this office files cases on the 1st and 15th of the month.
One hearing is mandatory in a Chapter 7, and this is called “The Meeting of Creditors”. This hearing is held 30-45 days after the case is filed. You must bring your drivers license and social security card to this meeting and appear ½ hour before the scheduled time to go over your case with me or my associate attorney. Your second credit counseling certificate (a financial management course) is due at this hearing.
The meeting is a question and answer which typically lasts 5-10 minutes, and is presided over by the Trustee assigned to your case. It is rare in a Chapter 7 for a debtor to ever be in front of the judge. The Trustee’s role is to see if you have any non-exempt assets that can be liquidated for the benefit of creditors, and to ensure that you qualify financially for a Chapter 7. You are not usually required to say much beyond “Yes” and “No” answers, although you are sometimes questioned about transactions before the bankruptcy, your assets, and what caused you to file your case. You must indicate that you read and understood the “Bankruptcy Information Sheet“. You must indicate at this hearing that you read and signed your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs and testify as to their accuracy. You must also disclose any changes, errors or omissions at this time.
Most creditors do not appear, with the exception of credit unions and car creditors seeking “reaffirmation” of debt.
After the hearing, creditors have 60 days to object and the Trustee has 30 days to object. This is rare, but the 60 days must expire before you will be granted a discharge of your debt. If no objections are filed, the court will grant a discharge of dis-chargeable debts. Shortly thereafter, you will be sent a notice that your bankruptcy case has been closed.