The majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are not complicated. In fact, the bankruptcy Chapter 7 process typically lasts around four months to six months. Those who file Chapter 7 rarely make any court appearances even though they must attend one non-court appearance in front of their court-appointed trustee. Most cases typically end with a discharge of many or even all of the individual’s debts.
Several main steps are included in the bankruptcy Chapter 7 process.
One of the first steps in the process is mandatory credit counseling. Anyone who files for Chapter 7 must receive credit counseling from a bankruptcy court-approved agency. The counseling must occur within six months before an individual decides to file.
Individuals must then file a series of documents and paperwork that includes forms such as schedules, the bankruptcy petition itself, and income and expense forms. Individuals must also inform the court of other information such as the property that you can claim as an exemption.
After you have filed your petition, your automatic stay begins immediately. An automatic stay prevents your creditors from trying to continue to collect debts from you. You can speak with a qualified attorney in your area to learn more about an automatic stay.
In addition, the court will assign you a trustee who will act as an administrator over your case. The main job of the trustee is to maximize your assets to distribute among the creditors, check your paperwork for any inaccuracies and look for any possible areas of fraud.
The 341 Hearing
Bankruptcy filers must also meet with his or her creditors. The court does not consider this meeting a court hearing. Your bankruptcy trustee runs this meeting. During this hearing, the trustee will ask you several questions about your finances and your petition. Although your creditors have a right to be there, most of the time they do not appear.
Finally, your bankruptcy discharge will occur within three to six months after you begin the bankruptcy Chapter 7 process. After the discharge, your automatic stay will end and your case will be closed a short time after.
Are you in the North Georgia area and looking for bankruptcy and/or debt relief services? Contact us for a free consultation.