Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When a person faces seemingly insurmountable financial problems, they should consider a bankruptcy filing. When you need to wipe the slate clean and give yourself a fresh start, you may want to consider filing for Chapter 7. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the process of liquidating assets in order to repay creditors and start fresh. In order to protect your rights and get through the process effectively and efficiently, you need to discuss your matter with an attorney. If you need our legal services, contact Cohn Lifland.
Prerequisite to Filing Chapter 7
If you are inquiring about filing Chapter 7, you have to take necessary actions before becoming eligible. You must receive credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in the state within six months before filing for bankruptcy. In order for the state to grant you a discharge, you will have to take a debtor education course as well. Once this requirement is completed, an individual can start the process.
Starting the Process
In order to start the process, you must file a petition for bankruptcy and a number of other forms that offer the court information about your property, your current income and monthly living expenses, debt, exempt property, property owned, money spent within the last two years, and any property you sold or gave away during the past two years. Once you file for Chapter 7, something called an automatic stay goes into effect. This immediately stops most creditors from trying to collect a debt. At this point, you have put your property and assets in the hands of the bankruptcy Trustee, a court-appointed agent of the state who will decide on all matters related to your finances. They function to pay the creditors as much of the debt as possible.
The Meeting of Creditors
After you have filed for Chapter 7, you will be subjected to a process called a Meeting of Creditors, also known as a 341(a) hearing. At this meeting, the U.S. Trustee, you, your lawyer and any creditors will conduct a deposition that will establish a clear picture for the Trustee and allow creditors to obtain information relevant to any objection of the matter. Most likely, this will be your only visit to a courthouse.
The Means Test
In order to be eligible for Chapter 7, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in the state. If your income is less than the median, and all other requirements are met, you will most likely be eligible for Chapter 7. If your income is over the median, Chapter 7 is still a possibility. Through a means test, you will have to provide detailed information on your regular expenses and payments on secured debts. This process is complicated. Contact an attorney at Cohn Lifland to guide you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge
Once you have successfully navigated the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a court should grant you a bankruptcy discharge, wiping the slate clean. There are exceptions to the discharge. You cannot discharge child support, most tax debts and student loans. You may be subject to objections by creditors. If a creditor successfully objects to a Chapter 7 filing, you may be obligated to pay debts that are considered fraudulent and malicious to creditors.
Contact Cohn Lifland
Cohn Lifland has decades of experience working with individuals who need to go through the process of bankruptcy. Our firm is ready to assess your situation, guide you through your legal options and represent your interests regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. Allow our firm to ease you through the process and effectively protect your rights. If you need our legal services, contact Cohn Lifland today.