Understanding the bankruptcy process includes knowing what steps are involved to ensure a successful outcome. Reviewing your options and planning ahead can help save time and reduce stress.
The following helps give you an idea of what to expect and what actions you should plan to take in an effort to complete the filing process in the best way possible:
- Seek an experienced bankruptcy attorney to review your situation.
- Determine which bankruptcy chapter to file that would be a good fit for your unique situation. Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers protection of assets if you have little or no income. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan that helps you keep secured assets (such as a house or vehicle) while making payments on unsecured debt.
- Make sure credit counseling requirements are met upon filing. Credit counseling courses offered by approved sources will present the debtor with a certificate of completion when finishing the course that is presented to the court.
- Take time to complete paperwork and provide information requested. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will ensure paperwork is in order before filing but be sure to present additional details if they are needed upon request. Review filing fees and don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unclear on information being presented to you.
- Plan to attend your court date. You'll be interviewed by the trustee but creditors may also be present with the opportunity to ask you about your situation. The meeting helps determine the next step for your filed petition (basically if debts will be discharged or note changes that need to be made regarding your petition).
In the end, if all goes well you'll receive a discharge. In Chapter 7 your debt is forgiven and in Chapter 13, you'll learn of your discharge after your final payment has been made.