If you feel lost when researching Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, this quick guide is for you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is defined by bankruptcy that relieves a debtor from his or her debts through the liquidation (the exchange of valuable assets like a home, car, television, etc. for cash) of assets and subsequent distribution of these assets to creditors.
DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.
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Who Can File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Individuals, partnerships, corporations, or other business entities can qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. However, not every individual, partnership, and corporation can file for bankruptcy.
In this post, we will focus only on individuals and how Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can affect them.
There are a few requirements and restrictions on what an individual must do in order to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
- First, someone seeking relief through Chapter VII Bankruptcy must be subject to a means test.
- Here is a link to the US Government’s mean test calculator: https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/form_b_122a-2.pdf
- Secondly, a debtor must appear before the court and comply with court orders at least 180 days before the debtor wishes to file. Failure to do so will result in the case being dismissed without relief to the debtor.
- A person who wishes to seek relief under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy must also receive professional credit counseling from a credit counselor that is approved by the court. This must happen at least 180 days before the debtor files. Failure to do this will result in the debtor’s case being thrown out and he or she will receive no relief.
How To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
An individual begins the process of filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by submitting a petition to the local bankruptcy court (click here to view an official bankruptcy court map). In addition to this, the person seeking relief must fill out several forms disclosing the entirety of their financial situation and history. These form include:
- Schedules of assets and liabilities.
- Schedule of current income and expenditures.
- Statement of financial affairs.
- Schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.
The debtor will then have to pay several court and service fees for filing. This is mandatory for everyone seeking debt relief under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy unless the individual’s income is less than 150% below the poverty level as defined by Bankruptcy Code.
If the debtor is married, he or she will have to fill out this information for his or her spouse regardless of whether or not they are filing jointly.
21 – 40 days from the date of petition, the case trustee (an impartial individual who is assigned by the state or federal government to administer the case and liquidate the debtor’s nonexempt assets) will meet with the creditors of the debtor. Here the trustee will subject the debtor to an oath and then the creditors will be able to ask any questions regarding the individual’s financial matters and property.
Helpful Chapter 7 Tips
It is very important that the debtor cooperates fully throughout the bankruptcy process with the bankruptcy court and the trustee assigned to the debtor’s case. This is especially true when the trustee calls the meeting of creditors.
Though the questions that will be asked will be difficult, complicated, and can sometimes be embarrassing, the debtor must submit fully to his or her oath of honesty. This will be to the ultimate benefit of the debtor and will hopefully end in his or her financial relief.
Additionally, If the debtor then recognizes that a different chapter of bankruptcy is more applicable and beneficial to the situation, he or she may be able to convert the case to the appropriate chapter so long as it has not already been converted from another chapter.
Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be a scary process added on top of an already tumultuous time. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer who is competent and compassionate can help relieve your stress during the filing process and can help you get the financial relief that you need. Contact David S. Clark today and get started on the road toward financial freedom!
DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.