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Should I File?

Bankruptcy Attorney in Los Angeles

What do I need to do to file a Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is a detailed and time consuming action. It takes an experienced lawyer carefully reviewing your options in order to obtain the best results for you. Below is a brief outline of some of the basic steps that will occur in the two most common filings, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

CHAPTER 7

  • Mandatory Credit Counseling is required prior to filing your case. This costs approximately $50 and can usually be done online. Our office can provide you with information on how to obtain this counseling. Any payment plan worked out by the counseling service must also be filed with the court.
  • Your preliminary legal documents (Petition, Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs) are filed with the Court. At this point you will get assigned a case number. Most creditors will no longer be able to contact you once this filing is done.
  • Mandatory Trustee Meeting - About one month after your case is filed the meeting is held to briefly meet with each debtor. The Trustee, which is appointed by the Court, will liquidate your non-exempt assets so as to distribute them to your creditors. Certain assets are exempt up to a certain amount. Our office will let you know what these limits are.
  • Objections by Creditors - Your creditors have a certain amount of time in which to object to the discharge of their debt. There are certain time restrictions in which this must be done, and most debtors rarely object.
  • Financial Management Course - You are required to complete a financial management course before receiving your discharge. You must have completed this course and submitted the certificate of completion to the court by a certain date after meeting with the Trustee. If you do not complete the course, you will NOT get a discharge.
  • Discharge - If no one objects to your discharge within the 60 day period and you have completed all the other requirements, then you will automatically get your Notice of Discharge in the mail about 4-6 weeks later. This will discharge all your debts with the exception child support, alimony, certain taxes, student loans, and some others. Our office will assist you in determining which debts are not dischargeable.

CHAPTER 13

  • Mandatory Credit Counseling is required prior to filing your case. This costs approximately $50 and can usually be done online. Our office can provide you with information on how to obtain this counseling. Any payment plan worked out by the counseling service must also be filed with the court.
  • Your preliminary legal documents (Petition, Schedules, Tax Returns, Statement of Financial Affairs and Plan) are filed with the Court. At this point you will get assigned a case number. Most creditors will no longer be able to contact you once this filing is done.
  • Filing your Plan - A plan for a scheduled repayment of your debts needs to be presented to the Court. All debts need to be paid back within 3 to 5 years. Your disposable income must all go to pay for these debts. This amount is determined by IRS allowed expenses and can sometimes be a hardship to live within the allowed means. Certain creditors must be fully paid back, while other debts can be negotiated.
  • Mandatory Trustee Meeting - About one month after your case is filed the meeting is held for the Trustee to analyze your papers and your Plan. Your income must be proven to the court so as to ensure maximum payments to your creditors.
  • Creditors will have a certain period of time to object to the Plan.
  • Your creditors are required to provide proof of their claim in order to be paid through your Plan. They have a limited amount of time in which to do this.
  • Plan Confirmation Hearing - The court will hold a hearing to confirm your Plan. Any objections or amendments to the Plan can be made at this time.
  • Payments - Your first payment according to your Plan is due 30 days after your case is filed. You attorney will explain how to make these payments. If you miss any payments your case may be dismissed, which can result in losing any assets you may have been able to retain and your debtors will now once again be able to proceed against you.
  • You must continue making your payments throughout the duration of your plan and provide the Trustee with yearly tax returns.
  • Discharge - Once all payments are made according to your Plan, the Trustee will begin to process your discharge. This could take several months. You must receive the Discharge Order from the Court for your debts to validly be discharged. You also need to complete a financial management course before receiving your discharge. You must have completed this course and submitted the certificate of completion to the court by a certain date after meeting with the Trustee. If you do not complete the course, you will NOT get a discharge.

Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer

As you can see, filing for Bankruptcy is complex and involves much paperwork and coordination with the Trustee and the Court. It is not recommended that you attempt to file this on your own. Your best interests need to be safeguarded by an experienced attorney to handle all the intricacies for you. We urge you to contact Pacific Attorney Group to handle your Bankruptcy.

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