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Bankruptcy Process

If you are struggling with debt that never seems to disappear, you should know that you do have options. Filing for bankruptcy can help you find financial stability and alleviate some of the stress that debt has brought to you and your family.

By contacting a highly skilled Cleveland bankruptcy attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates, you can find out more about bankruptcy, and whether bankruptcy makes sense for your situation.

Call us today at (216) 586-6600, or contact us online for a free consultation. We will guide you through every step of the bankruptcy process.

What to Expect from the Bankruptcy Process

The steps to obtain bankruptcy will depend on the circumstances of your case and whether you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To learn about the process you can expect from each type of bankruptcy, keep reading.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

  • Once you’ve spoken with a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer and determined that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, you will need to provide your attorney with a variety of documents that show your financial situation. These documents include paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, mortgage and car payment information, and statements from creditors.

  • Then, you’ll need to complete an online credit counseling course that your attorney can help you gain access to.
  • Next, a bankruptcy petition for filing will be prepared by your lawyer. The purpose of this petition is to explain your financial situation and illustrate why you have chosen to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It will contain details on your income, personal property, and creditors and be electronically filed with the federal court in your state.
  • After your case has been filed, your creditors will receive a notice of an automatic stay that will inform them that you are protected by bankruptcy laws. When this occurs, creditors will no longer have the right to contact you.
  • About 30 days after your case has been filed, a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors will be held and only last 10-15 minutes. You will attend this meeting with your attorney and answer a number of questions that are asked by a bankruptcy trustee and creditors. The trustee may request additional documents from you that you will be expected to provide in a timely fashion.
  • Approximately 30 days after the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors, your trustee and creditors may object to property exemptions or whether any or all of your debts shouldn’t be dismissed.
  • Then, you will be ordered to complete a financial management course which is similar to the online crediting course you took when you began filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Within three to four months from the date you field for bankruptcy, you will receive a discharge which will free you of any dischargeable debts like credit cards, medical bills, utility bills, and personal loans you may owe.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process

  • After you’ve consulted an attorney and came to the conclusion that Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a smart move for you, you’ll need to gather paystubs, tax returns, creditor statements, bank statements, and a number of other documents that demonstrate how you’re doing financially.
  • Next, you’ll be required to complete an online course on credit counseling. An attorney can assist you in getting this done right away.
  • Then, your lawyer will take care of preparing a bankruptcy petition to show why you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Additionally, they will design a Chapter 13 plan which will outline the specifics of what will happen in your case over the next to three to five years. The plan will consist of information regarding who will get paid, how much they will get paid, and what monthly payment you will be responsible for.
  • Once your bankruptcy case is filed electronically with the federal court in your state, a notice of automatic stay will be sent to your creditors so that they understand you are covered by bankruptcy laws and they must refrain from contacting you.
  • Then, you’ll be ordered to begin making payments to a Chapter 13 trustee who will administer your case and make payments on your behalf. Oftentimes, these payments are made through a wage deduction that takes place every thirty days.
  • About 30 days after your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case has been filed, a brief Section 341 Meeting of Creditors will take place. You will attend this meeting with your attorney and provide answers to questions from a bankruptcy trustee and creditors. Additional documents that you must quickly provide may be requested by the trustee.
  • For approximately 30 days following the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors, your trustee and creditors will have the right to object to any property exemptions you’ve claimed or whether any of or all of your debts shouldn’t be forgiven.
  • Next, a Confirmation Hearing which only your attorney will be required to attend will occur. At the time of this hearing, all of your payments must be up to date, the trustee must have all of your documents, and any objections must be resolved. As soon as your case is confirmed, it is final and can only be modified by your trustee if your circumstances change.
  • You will continue to make payments for three to five years and receive access to a site that can allow you to see how many payments you have left and how much you owe each creditor. In addition, your trustee will send you annual status reports in the mail. Keep in mind that your lawyer will be there for you throughout the duration of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case so you can contact them any time you have any questions.
  • Lastly, you’ll need to complete a financial management course before you receive a discharge within three to five years from the date you filed for bankruptcy. This discharge eliminates any dischargeable debts you may owe.

Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates Today

Regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the process can get very complex and confusing. That’s why, you need an experienced Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer from Luftman, Heck & Associates by your side. After determining that bankruptcy can improve your financial wellbeing and peace of mind, we’ll guide you through every step of the process. Call our firm at (216) 586-6600, or contact us online for a free case consultation.