Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney in Michigan

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How much will it cost & how long will it take?

Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is executed over three to five years, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process can be completed in a matter of months. More specifically, you could expect it to take 4-6 months. This includes participating in a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course, filling out all of the necessary paperwork, filing your petition with the court and attending the "creditors meeting." After all is said and done, you can expect to pay about $300 in filing and administrative fees—as well as a small fee for the credit counseling course. Once your bankruptcy has been resolved, however, you will be legally absolved of the obligation to repay most, if not all, of your debt.

Can anyone file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

The short answer to this question is, no. While Chapter 7 is the most widely used form of bankruptcy, certain measures have been taken to ensure that only those facing the direst of financial situations can actually file. That being said, you will be required to take a means test to determine whether or not you qualify. The means test will evaluate your income and expenses, deducting specific monthly expenses from your current monthly income. The figure that is left over will be deemed your "disposable income"—which is the monthly sum of money that you should, ideally, be able to contribute to repaying debt. The higher the number, the less likely it will be that you qualify.

What information will I need to provide on the forms?

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to fill out a petition and numerous different forms. Once your paperwork has been completed, you will submit it to the bankruptcy court in your area—the purpose of which is to give the court a better idea of how you are faring financially. This means that you will need to describe the following information in detail:

  • Any property that you currently own
  • Your current income & living expenses
  • All debts that you have incurred
  • Property you wish to claim as an exemption
  • Money you spent during the previous 2 years
  • Property you sold in the previous 2 years

Can creditors still contact me after I have filed?

Once you have officially filed your bankruptcy petition with the court, a judge will issue an "automatic stay." This court order will immediately prohibit creditors from continuing their collection efforts—which also means that you cannot be subject to any further wage garnishments, repossessions or foreclosures. All efforts must be stopped until your bankruptcy case has been resolved, giving you the peace of mind that you need during this time. If a creditor attempts to contact you, you should immediately inform them that you have initiated the bankruptcy process. If this behavior persists, however, let a Michigan bankruptcy attorney step in.

Will I be required to appear in bankruptcy court?

Typically, those who file under Chapter 7 will only need to appear in court once. One to two weeks after filing your petition, a "creditors meeting" will be scheduled. During this court visit, you and your lawyer will meet with the bankruptcy trustee who has been assigned to your case and/or any of your creditors who wish to attend. The bankruptcy trustee will then question you about why you are filing for bankruptcy, whether or not you have listed the accurate values of all property that is included in the petition, whether or not you have transferred money to relatives or friends before filing, etc. Since they are acting on behalf of your creditors, they will want to ensure that your debts are repaid in the fullest amount possible.

Will all debts be wiped out during bankruptcy?

Once your bankruptcy trustee has taken measures to liquidate non-exempt assets and repay creditors, the bankruptcy court will discharge any remaining debt. This includes credit card debt, medical debt, business debt, etc. It is important to understand that not all debt is dischargeable, however, as certain debts will always survive bankruptcy. These may include:

  • Child & spousal support
  • Student loans
  • Government fines
  • Parking tickets
  • State & federal taxes
  • Housing & rental fees

Will I need to hire a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer?

When dealing with any type of complex legal matter, it is always advisable that you rely on the advice of an experienced legal professional. While filing for bankruptcy may seem fairly cut and dry, it is important to understand that your financial stability could be on the line. For this reason, Hensel Law Office, PLLC encourages you to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. My name is Thomas Hensel, and I have been practicing law since 1999, personally managing every single case for my clients. This means that you will never be passed off to a secretary, paralegal or associate attorney when you work with my firm. As a Madison Heights bankruptcy attorney, I will be by your side throughout every step of the bankruptcy process.

If you are interested in scheduling a free bankruptcy consultation with me, call today for fast support. You can contact my firm locally at (586) 939-4800 or toll-free at (888) 258-0651. I am even available to meet in the evening or on the weekend, in addition to regular business hours. I am focused on making this experience as convenient and painless as possible for you. That being said, there is no reason why you should wait any longer to retain the professional assistance that you will need!