How Do I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?


I believe that it is important for you to understand the bankruptcy process, so that you can make an informed decision.  These are a few key pieces of information about how your chapter 7 bankruptcy will work.

The process may seem complicated at first, but I can guide you through it and make sure that you understand what is happening each step of the way.

Free Initial Consultation

The free consultation is an opportunity for me to assess your situation and explain your options.  This is also your opportunity to decide if bankruptcy is right for you, and if I am the right lawyer for you.

I will ask you to bring six months of pay stubs for both you and your spouse.  If you don’t have all six months of pay stubs, just bring as many as you can find.  If you are self-employed a profit and loss statement is fine.  You should also bring your most recent bank statement, your most recently filed tax return, any threatening letters from lawyers or collection agencies, and any summons and complaints that have been served on you.

We will go over your financial situation and any areas of concern that you have.    This is your opportunity to ask any questions that you have and to give me any information that you think is relevant.  Don’t worry if you forget something, you can always call or email me your questions.  At this point, I will go over your options and give you my recommendation for taking care of your debt.

If you like what you hear at the consultation, I will prepare a written fee agreement so that you understand your rights and my obligations.  You can choose either to pay in full immediately or to use a payment plan.  The payment plans are set up to be affordable and to get your case filed as soon as possible.

Preparing The Chapter 7 Petition

The bankruptcy petition is what I file with the court to start your bankruptcy.  It includes a list of your property,  a list of your debts, your income, your expenses, and your financial history.  It is important for the petition to be accurate and complete.  We will work together to complete the petition.  It can be a confusing process, but you can always call or email if you have questions.

During this time, you will do your credit counseling course.  Congress requires that you do credit counseling before you file bankruptcy.  You can do it online or over the phone in less than an hour.  It is not a test.  As long as you make an honest effort to complete it, you are fine.

Filing the Chapter 7 Petition

The bankruptcy case does not start until you sign the petition and I file it.  Once the petition is complete, we will schedule a time for you to come in and sign the petition.  Once you have signed the petition, I can file it online.   Online filing is done instantaneous and is done through the bankruptcy court’s secure server.

At the signing meeting, we will review the petition for accuracy.  The objective is to always file an complete and accurate petition that does not require any amendments.  This is also your opportunity to ask any last questions about filing bankruptcy.  If you decide that you do not want to file bankruptcy you must tell me before I file, because, once chapter 7 is filed it cannot be voluntarily dismissed.  If you feel like you need more time, we can always reschedule.