When it comes to filing consumer bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, the two chapters that most of the cases are filed for are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. And even though there are many common facts about these two types of bankruptcy, you also need to know about the specific details of each chapter. In this article, you will get to know about chapter 7 bankruptcy from our experienced Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer.
Chapter 7 is a more rapid form of bankruptcy. It typically only takes about six months to conclude while chapter 13 concludes in 3-5 years. However, chapter 7 bankruptcy has a lot of bottlenecks that you have to cross to qualify as the filer.What You Need to Do Before Filing Bankruptcy
The first and foremost thing that you have to do is to go for credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy. This way it will be determined that for your financial issues, bankruptcy is the only option. The source of this credit counseling should be approved by the Department of Justice. After completing the credit counseling, you should file for bankruptcy.
Now, while filing for bankruptcy, you are probably wondering should you really get a lawyer or you can do it all by yourself. Well, as it is a quite complex procedure, you should get the help of an experienced Pittsburgh bankruptcy lawyer. The U. S Bankruptcy Court says on its website that,
“It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly. The rules are very technical, and a misstep may affect a debtor’s rights. […] Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences — hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.”The Process of Bankruptcy Filing
Now, as you have hired a lawyer, you are free from huge pressure. Now, it is time for you to know about various forms. The forms will include:
- Petition for Bankruptcy: Voluntary Petition (B1)
- Schedule A: Real Property (B6A)
- Schedule B: Personal Property (B6B)
- Schedule C: Property Claimed as Exempt (B6C)
- Schedule D: Creditors Holding Secured Claims (B6D)
- Schedule E: Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims (B6E)
- Schedule F: Creditors Holding Unsecured Nonpriority Claims (B6F)
- Schedule I: Income (B6I)
- Schedule J: Expenses (B6J)
- Statement of Financial Affairs (B7)
- Statement of Means Test Calculation (B22A)
This list of documents is not all exhaustive. There are some additional forms too that will contain information regarding waived fees, codebtor, and confirmations that you have completed federal credit counseling requirements.Bankruptcy and Statement of Intention
Once your lawyer submits all of these documents and files the case, the court will grant an automatic stay. This is an injunction that will effectively prevent your creditors to pursue you for debts.
After a few weeks, you and your creditor will receive the letter, the Notice of Commencement Case that will inform you about meeting dates and deadlines.
The next thing that you will have to do is submit a Statement of Intention. This will contain your intention about what you will do with your property and use it for paying back your creditors. The copies of this will go to the creditors and the trustee who is assigned to handle the case.
After the filing of the case, you will get a timeline of 45 days to fulfill the terms.Meeting of Creditors and Debtor Education
The meeting of the creditor is referred 341 hearing that happens between 21 to 40 days of the bankruptcy filing. The attendees of the meeting will include you, your lawyer, your trustee, and your creditors.
The meeting will be the place for reviewing your paperwork. The trustee will see the documents including tax returns, mortgage paper, bank statement, or any other financial documents. They will also ask you questions like:
- Why are you filing for bankruptcy?
- What is your status and marital status?
- Do you have any obligations like a child or spousal support or alimony?
- What is the breakdown of your monthly expenses?
After this is over, your creditors and trustee will get 60 days for placing an objection. If that doesn’t happen, you will get your discharge.
After this, you will have to complete a course for debtor education that will teach you about basic financial management.
For more details on Bankruptcy, come to us at Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Law Group today.