CAN I FILE BANKRUPTCY AGAIN?
Isn’t it true that someone can only file for bankruptcy once every eight years?
A: No. This is a common misinterpretation of the rule that a debtor can file more often but can only obtain a discharge once every eight years. While you can only file Chapter 7 and obtain a discharge once every eight years, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even if you got a Chapter 7 discharge at least four years ago. There are other strategies that debtors can utilize, as well. For example, you can file a Chapter 7 to discharge those debts that are dischargeable and, then, file a subsequent Chapter 13 to repay those debts that were not discharged in Chapter 7
Your bankruptcy case progresses in steps, beginning with the first day you step into our office. We’ll immediately work to stop harassment by the debt collectors; if necessary, we may recommend bringing a lawsuit on your behalf against them to enforce your legal rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. We’ll draft all of your bankruptcy papers and make sure that all necessary documentation is made available. You’ll always be involved in the process so that you know exactly the status of your case.
In order to be eligible to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a pre-filing briefing outlining the opportunities for credit counseling AND assists the individual in performing a budget analysis within 180 days before your case is filed. When your case is filed, you must file with the bankruptcy court the certificate you receive from the approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency. We will provide you with a list of approved credit counseling agencies.
The choice of where to obtain your pre counseling course is yours. One of the least expensive providers I have found is Summitfe.org
Filing Your Case
As soon as your case is filed with the court, a Trustee is appointed. The trustee’s role is to sell any assets that are not protected by law (non-exempt property) and to distribute the proceeds of that sale to your creditors. In most cases there are no assets to liquidate, so do not be concerned. If the trustee does identify assets, we probably have already advised you about this possibility.
If you have filed a Chapter 13 case, the trustee is responsible for reviewing your proposed repayment plan, making recommendations to the court regarding the feasibility of that plan, and distributing the payments to your creditors under the terms of the plan. You will be sending your Chapter 13 payments to the trustee each month, along with any other documents required by law.
All About The Meeting Of Creditors
This meeting, which is held in all bankruptcy cases, usually occurs within 4-6 weeks of the filing of your case with the court. The purpose of the meeting is to give creditors a chance to ask questions, although it is very rare that a creditor shows up; it is mostly handled by the trustee assigned to your case. The trustee may also ask you questions about particular items on your petition usually focusing on assets or income. Most meetings take only a few minutes.
Some consumers feel some level of anxiety or fear leading up to the meeting with the bankruptcy trustee, but there is no reason to fear the trustee. The meeting will take place in an ordinary conference room, and the trustee is not a judge; the setting is informal. After the meeting most people comment on how simple the process was.
How To Be Prepared For Your Meeting Of Creditors
You must bring a state-issued photo identification and your social security card to your meeting. There are other documents that need to be provided to the trustee before your meeting can take place, and we will send you a letter with the list.
Attending Your Hearing On Confirmation For Chapter 13 Cases
If you file a Chapter 13 case, there is one additional hearing you must attend. This is called a Hearing on Confirmation, and it takes place after your Meeting of Creditors. At the Hearing on Confirmation, the trustee will make a recommendation to the judge as to whether your proposed payment plan is sufficient to satisfy the requirements under the Bankruptcy Code. The judge will then give final approval to your repayment plan or tell us to make adjustments.
Required post-bankruptcy filing financial management course
Before your bankruptcy discharge can enter, you are required to take a financial management course and file a certificate of completion with the court. You are required to take this course after your bankruptcy has been filed. Two of the least expensive providers of the financial management course I have found are summitfe.org and bkeducation.com
How Long Your Case Takes To Complete
All Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 debtors must complete a post- petition Financial Management Course before they receive a discharge from their debts. This Course is intended to help Debtors identify and correct the financial mistakes that led to bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 case, your case is usually completed approximately 90 days after your Meeting of Creditors; at that time you will receive a single-Topic document titled Discharge of Debtor from the court. The discharge order is the official court order relieving you of your obligation to pay your bills. Remember that the Discharge of Debtor in a Chapter 7 case will not relieve you of all of your debts. You should speak with us to find out which debts will not be discharged in a Chapter 7 case.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the discharge order is issued upon your successful completion of the repayment plan. This will vary depending upon the length and type of your Chapter 13 Plan.