HOW CHAPTER 7 WORKS
Brandon Bankruptcy Law Attorney
The Golden Law Group has helped thousands of individuals and families in
communities throughout Florida's Central Gulf Coast region with their
debt relief needs. When people call the firm, they are often concerned
about how much bankruptcy will cost and what the process looks like. While
getting out from under heavy debt is most people's primary goal, there
are many misconceptions about going to court and what a bankruptcy lawyer
can and cannot do.
Some form of bankruptcy laws have been on our national books for more than
200 years. In its simplest definition, bankruptcy is a means of filing
for court protection from the actions of creditors who have the capacity
and right to reclaim assets or property loaned in good faith. Generally,
creditors want their money back.
When you file for bankruptcy, you will provide your attorney with all records
of your income, property and debts owed. The financial information will
be entered in a formula to determine whether you are eligible under the
law to file for
Chapter 7 discharge of debt. If your income and non-exempt assets are too high,
in relation to your debt owed, you will not be allowed to discharge your
consumer debt through Chapter 7. But don't worry, Chapter 13 debt
restructuring is still available to you, and there are many advantages.
If you are eligible for Chapter 7, simply pay a low down payment on the
retainer fee to secure the representation of an attorney at The
Golden Law Group. From the moment you sign the retainer agreement, you can start to tell
bill collectors that you have a lawyer representing you. Under terms of the
Fair Debt Collections Practices Act of 1977, creditors and collections agencies are required by law to deal
ONLY through your attorney. Imagine what that will be like, for a change.
attorney will handle everything from there. He will gather your financial information
and file the appropriate petition paperwork through the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court in Tampa, or if you don't live in Manatee County, Hillsborough County or
Sarasota County, the nearest bankruptcy court in your jurisdiction. The judge will
review the information on the petition to determine whether you are
eligible for Chapter 7.
Because bankruptcy is a legal process, your creditors will be given every
opportunity to review the financial information and the petition for
discharge of debt. Naturally, they will argue that the judge should make you pay them out
of your listed assets. Some assets, such as equity you have built up in
your home and retirement accounts will be
exempt from judgment. In other words, the judge cannot order you to pay your creditors from
those assets. Your creditors will investigate your financial information
to determine whether it is an accurate and full disclosure of your financial
resources. If the judge determines that you did not provide full disclosure,
you may be charged with a federal felony fraud charge. But don't worry.
Most individuals who file Chapter 7 don't have any assets available
for judgment. The judge may also rule that any debt of more than $550
that you accumulated within 90 days of filing is also non-dischargeable.
The judge will give your creditors time and opportunity to defend themselves
against discharging your debt. This will take several months. During this
time period, you will be required by law to attend a special class on
debt management. The class is available online or by telephone. Your attorney
will refer you to a certified instructor in your area.
Approximately 30 days after the case is filed, a Creditors Hearing will
be held. You must attend the hearing. You will not attend the meeting
alone, an attorney from the Golden Law Group will be there with you. It
is sometimes awkward to face your creditors in court, but it is the only
time you will be required to appear in court throughout the entire bankruptcy
process. However, most of the time no creditors appear so the only person
you have to answer questions from is the Trustee. The Trustee is the person
who is appointed by the Court to over see the case. The Trustee will ask
you questions about your income, your expenses, your assets and liabilities.
If the Trustee determines that you have no assets which are available
to pay creditors, he or she will file a report of no distribution with
the Court. If the Trustee discovers that there are assets which are available
to pay creditors with, the Trustee will liquidate the asset and pay the
creditors. Most Creditors meetings take about 5 minutes. However, there
are usually 5 meetings scheduled every half hour and the Trustees do get behind.
After the creditors meeting is concluded the creditors have 60 days to
object to the entry of a discharge. The most common reason that a creditor
objects to discharge is due to fraud by the debtor. Once you decide to
file bankruptcy, it is very important that you stop using your credit
cards. If you use your credit cards within a short time before filing
your bankruptcy case, a Creditor may file an objection to your discharge.
However, assuming no one files an objection to discharge within 60 days
of the conclusion of the creditors meeting, your discharge will be entered.
Throughout the process, your attorney will attend many meetings with the
judge, trustees and creditors to ensure that the petition goes smoothly.
You may occasionally be asked to supply additional details about a particular
debt, asset or income. Your Golden Law Group lawyer will do everything
possible to handle everything at the law firm, so you can concentrate
on your new life without debt. During the process, if a creditor contacts
you directly to attempt to collect, contempt of court charges may result.
Get all of your questions answered.
Contact The Golden Law Group to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.