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The Bankruptcy Process


For many people, the decision to file bankruptcy is actually the hardest part about the process. To make that decision easier, it is a good idea to understand in advance the sequence of events you can expect when you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • Investigate your options. Many people want to avoid bankruptcy at all costs, so first they explore and consider alternatives such as getting a second job, selling assets, getting a second mortgage, undergoing credit counseling, following a debt consolidation program or seeking debt settlement.
  • Make the decision to file bankruptcy. A large part of the decision to file bankruptcy is strictly about math — a business decision, so to speak. However, for many people, emotions, morality, principles and frank discussions with a spouse will play a large role, as well. Our clients very often come to us after realizing that the benefits of bankruptcy outweigh any negative aspects.
  • Take the means test to determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7. An experienced lawyer can help streamline this step considerably. Talk to us at Bird & Van Dyke, Inc. – A Professional Law Corporation to learn how we can help. Other factors may help determine whether you should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • Gather documentation of all your debts, all your income and all your assets. This may take some time. If necessary, you can retain our law firm with a partial payment upfront, and then make payments toward your attorney’s fees and court fees over a few months.
  • Complete required credit counseling. This can be accomplished with an approximate one-hour phone or Internet session in your home.
  • Sit down with your bankruptcy law attorney and complete the bankruptcy filing. This will be done in the attorney’s office. Your bankruptcy filing can be filed with the court by computer over the Internet.
  • Be alert for notification of when to appear for the 341 creditors’ meeting. You will be notified of your court appearance (341 creditors’ meeting) by regular mail. Your attorney will appear at the hearing with you. At the 341 hearing you must provide the appointed trustee a photo ID and proof of your Social Security number. At the 341 creditors’ meeting you will be asked about questions regarding your assets and debts. Once again, your Bird and Van Dyke lawyers will attend this hearing with you.
  • Complete the debtor education requirement. This is a separate matter from the credit counseling and can be completed any time after your case is filed. The debtor education session is designed to help you manage your budget after bankruptcy.
  • Wait for a notice of discharge of your debts in the mail. After a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing you will receive your discharge of debt notification after approximately 105 days. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can take three to five years to complete. Once you receive the discharge, your bankruptcy is complete.

We Offer 341 Creditors’ Meeting Preparation And Much More

We’re here to answer your questions. To speak with one of our Stockton bankruptcy attorneys about the bankruptcy process, contact Bird & Van Dyke online or call our Stockton office at  888-915-0422.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.