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Bankruptcy Timeline

The sequence of events in a bankruptcy case varies based on the facts and circumstances of your case and whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Basic Guide for Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case.

  1. Determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the best option for you. Filing for bankruptcy is not always the best solution, so it is best to discuss your situation with an Ohio bankruptcy attorney so that you can learn about all of your alternatives. With the right legal advice, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

  2. Next, if you have decided to proceed with filing for bankruptcy, we will provide you with a Welcome Package which details all of the documents which include 1) Documents Required to File Bankruptcy, 2) Client Instructions, 3) Monthly Expense Worksheet. You will want to gather the necessary documents to file your bankruptcy case; This includes tax returns, paystubs, bank statements, and any statements that you have received from creditors. Once you have gathered this information, you will want to promptly provide the documents to your Ohio bankruptcy attorney.

  3. Prior to officially filing for bankruptcy, you will need to complete an online credit counseling course. We will provide you with the necessary information in order to get this done as easily as possible.

  4. Your attorney will then prepare a bankruptcy petition for filing. This petition explains your current financial situation and demonstrates why you are filing for bankruptcy. Information regarding your creditors, income, and personal property will also be included. This information will actually be filed electronically with the federal court system.

  5. After your bankruptcy case is filed, a notice of the automatic stay will be sent out to your creditors informing them that you are now protected by the bankruptcy code and laws. This protection will prevent creditors from suing, garnishing, or even calling you or sending bills in the mail.

  6. Approximately 30 days after your bankruptcy case is filed, there is a meeting called the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The meeting itself will only last 10-15 minutes, but you are required to attend with your attorney. You will answer questions under oath by a bankruptcy trustee and potentially creditors. If you are absent for this meeting, your case will be postponed and you and your attorney will need to explain why your case should not be dismissed. At the hearing the Trustee may request additional documentation from you that you will need to provide quickly.

  7. For approximately 30 days after the Creditors’ Meeting, your creditors and the trustee will be able to object to any property exemptions that you have claimed or whether any or all of your debts should not be discharged. This is usually a result of fraud or some improper action taken by your prior to filing. Please read our Bankruptcy Do’s and Don’t page to educate yourself on these potential pitfalls.

  8. The last step of your bankruptcy case that you will actually have to be involved with is taking a financial management course. This is similar to the first Credit Counseling Course and will be conducted by the same company you used previously. Your Ohio bankruptcy attorney will take care of the rest of the details from this point forward.

  9. Within 3 to 4 months from the initial date that you filed for bankruptcy, you will receive a discharge, completely eliminating any dischargeable debts that you might owe.

A Basic Guide for Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case.

  1. Determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the best option for you. Filing for bankruptcy is not always the best solution, so it is best to discuss your situation with an attorney so that you can learn about all of your alternatives. With the right legal advice, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

  2. Next, if you have decided to proceed with filing for bankruptcy, we will provide you with a Welcome Package which details all of the documents which include 1) Documents Required to File Bankruptcy, 2) Client Instructions, 3) Monthly Expense Worksheet. You will want to gather the necessary documents to file your bankruptcy case; This includes tax returns, paystubs, bank statements, and any statements that you have received from creditors. Once you have gathered this information, you will want to promptly provide the documents to your attorney.

  3. Prior to officially filing for bankruptcy, you will need to complete an online credit counseling course. We will provide you with the necessary information in order to get this done as easily as possible.

  4. Your Ohio bankruptcy attorney will then prepare a bankruptcy petition for filing. This petition explains your current financial situation and demonstrates why you are filing for bankruptcy. Information regarding your creditors, income, and personal property will also be included. In addition, your Ohio bankruptcy attorney will prepare a Chapter 13 Plan, which is the roadmap for what will occur in your case over the next 3-5 years. This will include who is get paid, how much, and what your monthly payment will be. This information will actually be filed electronically with the federal court system.

  5. After your bankruptcy case is filed, a notice of the automatic stay will be sent out to your creditors informing them that you are now protected by the bankruptcy code and laws. This protection will prevent creditors from suing, garnishing, or even calling you or sending bills in the mail.

  6. Upon filing, you will immediately begin making payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee, who is the independent party who administers your case and makes the payments on your behalf. These payments are commonly made through a voluntary wage deduction, similar to having money directly deposited into a bank account, and the payment needs to be made in full every thirty days.

  7. Approximately 30 days after your bankruptcy case is filed, there is a meeting called the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The meeting itself will only last 10-15 minutes, but you are required to attend with your Ohio bankruptcy attorney. You will answer questions under oath by a bankruptcy trustee and potentially creditors. If you are absent for this meeting, your case will be postponed and you and your attorney will need to explain why your case should not be dismissed. At the hearing the Trustee may request additional documentation from you that you will need to provide quickly.

  8. For approximately 30 days after the Creditors’ Meeting, your creditors and the trustee will be able to object to any property exemptions that you have claimed or whether any or all of your debts should not be discharged. This is usually a result of fraud or some improper action taken by your prior to filing. Please read our Bankruptcy Do’s and Don’t page to educate yourself on these potential pitfalls.

  9. Approximately 30 days after your Meeting, their will be a hearing with the judge called the Confirmation Hearing. You do not have to attend this hearing, just your attorney, and at this hearing all payments must be current, all follow-up documents provided to the Trustee, and all objections resolved. Once your case is confirmed it is set in stone and can only be changed by your or the Trustee upon a change in circumstances, but cannot be altered by a creditor.

  10. You will continue to pay for a period of 3-5 years and will be given access to a website where you can follow along with your case and see how many payments you have left, who has requested payment, and how much you still owe each creditor. You will also get annual reports from the trustee in the mail with your status. At this point your attorney can object to any creditors who you do not recognize or who are requesting too much money.

  11. Your attorney is there for you throughout the life of the case, so if you have questions or issues, please let your attorney know right away and do not contact the Trustee’s office directly. Your attorney can suspend payments for a short time period if you have time off of work or you have an unexpected large expense to pay for. Your attorney can also request court permission for you to buy another vehicle, real estate, or other large items while in your case.

  12. The last step of your bankruptcy case that you will actually have to be involved with is taking a financial management course. This is similar to the first Credit Counseling Course and will be conducted by the same company you used previously. Your Ohio bankruptcy attorney will take care of the rest of the details from this point forward.

  13. Within 3 to 5 years from the initial date that you filed for bankruptcy, you will receive a discharge, completely eliminating any dischargeable debts that you might owe.

Questions about Filing Bankruptcy? Call Today.

Whether you’re deep in debt or struggling to stay up with bills, there’s a solution to your financial situation. If you have questions about filing bankruptcy, our Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at LHA have the knowledge and experience to fight for your best interest. Contact Ohio bankruptcy attorney Paul Kuzmickas today to discuss your options at or email us at advice@clevelandbankruptcyattorney.com.
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