It can be overwhelming to think about filing bankruptcy. Where do you start? What is the process like? How long will it take? While there is no one-size-fits-all bankruptcy filing, the vast majority of our cases follow the same basic timeline.
1. Initial Call
You contact our office. We set up an appointment over the phone, on Zoom, or in person to go over your case. We can go over things right on the spot during your first call if you have time, or the same day if no attorney is available.
2. As Soon as Same Day
We go over your options with you based on the facts. We explain chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy based on your circumstances. In most cases we can cover the basics in a short window of time. We ask you questions about what is going on – what types of debt you have, how much you owe, what do you do for a living, are you married? The law is broad and your facts are specific. Our job is to apply your facts to the law to give you the unique solutions that are available.
3. Within 24-72 Hours
If you decide to move forward with filing we set another appointment to draft your case. This can also be done on the phone, over zoom or in person. If there is an active garnishment, threat of repossession, or sale of the house, we will make sure we can draft you case as soon as possible. We will accommodate your work schedule and can offer evening and Saturday appointments.
4. As Soon as Same Day
Before the appointment you provide us with some documents we might need to file your case including: your photo identification, proof of your social security number (W2 or card), paystubs (in some cases up to the last 6 months), and your last years tax return (if you have filed one).
5. Drafting Appointment
During the appointment we cover all the paperwork and disclosures required in your bankruptcy case. If we have not already done so we go over a budget. We go over what will happen when the case is filed and how long it should take to complete at the same time. If you conduct the meeting in person you sign the case then but if it is over the phone or by Zoom then we put the case up on Docu-sign and you sign it electronically.
6. Before You File
You do a credit counseling class online or over the phone (sometimes a little of both). The class takes about an hour and it is easy. It is a requirement in all cases that you do one of these classes from a certified provider (we have one we like) and we cover the fee for the class.
7. 24 Hours After Drafting
The case is filed normally within 24 hours of being signed. Once it is filed the court issues an order to all your creditors that stops them from continuing to collect from you and it is mailed out to them based on the information in your case.
8. 30 Days After Filing
You have a hearing about 30 days from the date of filing. You normally have three weeks advance notice about this hearing. Currently you can appear at those hearings by phone. One of the attorneys from our office always appears with you (Kristina, Amelia, or Chris).
9. Between Hearing and Discharge
After your hearing you will do another class online called the Pre-discharge or Debtor Education course. It is required after you file but before you get a discharge.
10. As Soon As 6 Months After Filing
Once you complete the requirements of your case you will get a discharge. In a chapter 7 case this is usually in five months from the filing. In a chapter 13 case it is just after you make your last payment, which is usually within 3-5 years.