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What to Expect When Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

What to Expect When Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Are you drowning in debt? If so, you may significantly benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which could take anywhere from 3 to 5 years, this process would allow you to get out from underneath your debt in a matter of months. Since you would be required to liquidate certain non-exempt assets and use the proceeds to repay your creditors, you could expect to find relief in a mere 4 to 6 months. That being said, however, it is also important to understand that this form of bankruptcy is not right for everyone. Certain measures have already been taken to limit the amount of people who are eligible to file under this chapter, so you must first determine whether or not you qualify. From there, the following concerns can be addressed by your Michigan bankruptcy lawyer.

#1: How much will it cost?

  • When all is said and done, you can expect to pay about $300 in filing and administrative fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will also need to pay a small fee for the mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course. If you cannot afford the course, you can request a fee waiver.

#2: How long will it take?

  • Typically, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process will take about 4 to 6 months. This includes the time it will take to complete the credit counseling course, fill out the necessary paperwork, submit your petition with the bankruptcy court, attend the creditors meeting, etc.

#3: What information will I need to provide?

  • When filling out your bankruptcy petition and the corresponding paperwork, you will need to include information about the property that you own, the debts that you have incurred, the property that you wish to claim as an exemption and your current income / living expenses.

#4: Can creditors still contact me?

  • Once you have filed your bankruptcy petition with the court, creditors will be strictly prohibited from contacting you until your case has been resolved—as a judge will issue an automatic stay almost immediately. If they continue their collection efforts, you can take legal action.

#5: Will I need to go to court?

  • Most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will only need to appear in court once. This will be at the time of your creditors meeting, or 341 hearing, which will be scheduled approximately 1 to 2 weeks after filing your bankruptcy petition. You should have an attorney present.

#6: Will all of my debts be discharged?

  • While most of your debt will be wiped out at the conclusion of your bankruptcy, it is important to understand that certain debts cannot be discharged by the court. These include things like child support payments, federal and state taxes, government fines and student loans.

#7: What happens at the creditors meeting?

  • Approximately 1 to 2 weeks after filing for bankruptcy, you will receive notice that a creditors meeting has been scheduled. Along with your lawyer, you will meet with the bankruptcy trustee and/or any creditors who wish to appear, and answer specific questions about your case.

#8: Will I lose all of my property?

  • While Chapter 7 bankruptcy will require you to liquidate non-exempt assets, it is important to understand that state and federal exemptions will allow you to protect certain types of property—including your home, car, personal belongings and retirement benefits.

#9: Should I hire a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer?

  • If you have decided to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is highly recommended that you retain the help of a Michigan bankruptcy attorney from Hensel Law Office, PLLC. When you call our office today at (888) 258-0651, you can schedule a free initial consultation.

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