What Is The Bankruptcy Process?

Thank you for choosing to work with The Layton Law Firm to file your bankruptcy. Completing the online MyCaseInfo questionnaire is required in order to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Once you have completed the questionnaire, we can analyze it and confirm for you that bankruptcy is a good option. The bankruptcy process can be smooth and painless if you and your bankruptcy lawyer have a good working relationship.

After confirming whether you will file a Chapter 7 or 13, we put a plan in motion to gather all necessary documentation and information required for a successful bankruptcy filing. Generally speaking, this article Is meant to help you understand the process going forward. If you need to file an Emergency Bankruptcy, this article still applies; however, your bankruptcy will be filed first, and then we will quickly work to fulfill the remaining steps.

Gathering Required Documentation

Before we can put together a draft of your petition for you, we need to review certain documents. You will be provided with a short list of documents we need. For example, we need copies of your mortgage statement and vehicle loan statements to confirm balances. We can also verify your income with the pay stubs you provide. Your bank statements help us to identify any transfers which need to be disclosed in bankruptcy in order to comply with the bankruptcy code.

Bankruptcy law firms have a duty to hold certain supporting documentation and deliver it to the bankruptcy trustee upon filing, or if requested. While we try to limit the documentation required, please know we are only trying to insure a successful filing for you.

If you are a small business owner, you will most likely need to submit a 12 month profit and loss statement, to show the court how much income you are generating from the business. Most business owners can file a Chapter 7 or 13, and are not required to file a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy.

Answering Follow Up Questions

Once we have had time to review the documentation you provide, we will quickly follow up with you, with any questions we have. We may ask you to assist in determining the value of an asset, or to help us properly disclose the sale of some property that took place in the time frame leading up to the bankruptcy filing.

Drafting Your Petition

Once we have your documentation and we’ve resolved any questions we had regarding income and assets, we can draft your bankruptcy petition. The bankruptcy petition is the document which requests the court to grant you the relief allowed by the bankruptcy code, in exchange for full disclosure in compliance with the rules of bankruptcy.

The petition is the debtor’s vehicle for thoroughly disclosing income and assets, and also identifying creditors so that the court can provide the creditors with notice of your bankruptcy filing. The petition is your way to communicate your entire financial picture to the court. The trustee will examine the petition during the time leading up to your 341 meeting, and may request additional information about items listed in the petition. It’s important that the petition is accurate, and our job is to help you meet that goal.

Reviewing Your Petition Draft

Having a draft of the petition marks a significant step in the process and indicates you are in the homestretch toward your filing. We will provide you a draft copy to review, and schedule a phone call or a time to meet together, to go over the items in the petition. This document is a very helpful tool in assisting the attorney and the debtor in properly identifying assets, income, expenses and creditors.

Finalizing The Petition

After the review process, our firm will make any necessary changes to the petition. At that time, you will be asked to review those changes and sign the petition. While we can file your petition electronically, you have to sign it before it is filed.

Attending The 341 Meeting

Once your petition is filed, the court will assign a 341 meeting date. This date is typically 45 days after the filing date. This gives both the attorney and the debtor plenty of time to make sure their schedule will allow them to attend. Requests to reschedule the 341 meeting are not often granted, and should be reserved for emergencies only.

At the 341 meeting, the trustee will ask you if you reviewed the petition and signed it. He or she will also ask you and your attorney about a few items disclosed on the petition. In some cases, the trustee may ask for additional documentation. For example, if you disclosed that you sold a vehicle six months before filing your petition, the trustee may ask your attorney to provide proof of the sale.

The 341 meeting is typically the only court appearance the debtor makes.

Filing Reaffirmation Agreements

If you are reaffirming any debt as part of your bankruptcy, the reaffirmation agreements will need to be generated, signed and filed shortly after the 341 meeting. We will discuss reaffirmation agreements with you before we file the bankruptcy, and in many cases there is no need for a reaffirmation agreement.

Completing The Financial Management Class

Before your discharge is entered, you must complete the second and final online counseling course. It’s just the rule.

Receiving Your Discharge

After a waiting period for creditors to object—they rarely do—your discharge will be entered and your case will be closed. This is the final step in the bankruptcy process.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, it’s important that you speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Further Reading

If this article was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Bankruptcy Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.