Filing for Bankruptcy

What to Expect When Filing for Bankruptcy

A Timeline of Typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When a person is interested in filing for bankruptcy, these are the usual steps:

  1. A phone call to our office usually allows a quick 5-10 minute free consultation with the attorney in which you quickly outline:
  • what you own (car, house, 401k, etc.)
  • what you make (wages, social security, child support, etc.)
  • what your living costs are (rent, car payment, insurances, daycare, etc)
  • who you owe (credit cards, mortgages, taxes, medical bills, student loans, etc).
  • and, any special problems, like garnishment, foreclosure, repossession, etc.
  1. If your situation allows for a simple bankruptcy, or straight bankruptcy, the attorney usually will invite you to fill out an application form which can be sent to you by mail, or obtain online from this website.
  1. Upon delivery of the Application Form to the attorney in person you are given a free consultation and determination of whether you can proceed with a low cost bankruptcy under Chapter 7, the fees and costs are quoted for you, and you are able to decide your options.  In some cases, the Application Form can be sent to the attorney (mail, fax or email) and the analysis can be done by phone.
  1. After making the decision to file a bankruptcy a retainer fee is paid, the case prepared (about a 50 page document to be signed by the client before it can be filed), and various documents must be supplied to the attorney (tax returns, pay stubs, copies of car titles, mortgages, etc.) and the client must obtain a Credit Counseling Certificate from an online website or an 800 phone number.
  1. After the case is signed, the documents assembled, and the fees paid, the case is filed. When a case is filed, all garnishments must stop immediately. A letter is mailed by the Court to all of your creditors, and it gives you notice of your court date, which is about 30 days later.  The hearing is held in the same building as the Law Office of Mark McLoughlin. You will come to his office for a short meeting then go to the hearing room together. There, in your turn with the dozens of other people who are scheduled for the same day, you, with your attorney, will have your meeting with the trustee, lasting usually 5 to 7 minutes, in which the information contained in your filed written case document is confirmed by you to be true. The entire process at court usually takes much less than an hour.
  1. After a two month waiting period, the court then issues to you by mail, and to all of your creditors, notice that your dischargeable debts have been discharged and the case is closed.