If you are having trouble making mortgage payments, paying bills, or dealing with credit card balances, we may be able to help. We can advise you of your rights and options, and, if appropriate, represent you in various types of bankruptcy proceedings which may enable an orderly elimination of your debt or a complete fresh start.
We will begin our analysis with an initial consultation, at no cost to you, to review your situation and explore your options. If we determine that bankruptcy proceedings are appropriate, you will need to take a mandatory thirty minute credit counseling course, online or by telephone, through a certified credit counseling agency. We will provide you with a list of certified agencies at our initial meeting.
When you have completed the credit counseling course and we have drafted the petition based on the information you have provided, we will call you back into our offices for a careful review of the petition with your attorney. When both you and your attorney are satisfied that the petition is accurate and complete, we will file the petition with the federal court. It is important to remember that you are immediately protected from creditors upon filing of the petition by an automatic “stay” provision.
The court will then issue what is known as a “341” hearing date, usually about four to six weeks from the date of filing the petition. Both you and your attorney must appear for the hearing. The hearing is very informal and is meant to give creditors an opportunity to raise their objections and allow the appointed trustee for the bankruptcy court to ask questions regarding the petition. If a petition is thoughtfully prepared and reviewed and there are no creditors present (creditors rarely make an appearance) the hearing can take as little as five minutes.
At any time after filing, you will also have to complete a post-filing debtor education course, which is also available online or by telephone. Again, this course will take approximately thirty minutes. This course must be taken within thirty days after your 341 hearing.
After your 341 hearing, the court will allow thirty days for creditors to file objections to your bankruptcy discharge, which again, is a rare occurrence. At the end of the thirty days, if there are no objections, the court will issue your discharge.