The Bankruptcy Process
Understanding the Steps You Will Go Through in a Bankruptcy
So many of the clients we work with are overwhelmed with the idea of filing bankruptcy. The fact is, it's a relatively simple process that typically takes about 90 days from beginning to end.
The process starts by meeting with one of the experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Wendling Law Office. We offer a free initial consultation so that you can understand the protections offered under the U.S. Bankruptcy code, and we can explain exactly how they apply to your situation. You do not need to bring in a large pile of financial documents to your first meeting. Typically, you have a sound understanding of what you owe, and what you own, we can give you a solid framework of how to proceed. You are not obligated to move forward with the bankruptcy on any specific timeline. We aim to give you the options and make sure you are comfortable with the information, and we look forward to helping you take the next step when you are ready.
Once you have decided to move forward with your bankruptcy, we will give you a list of exactly what documents you will need to proceed. We can directly import a lot of information from your credit report (which we will run) into our bankruptcy software. Our goal is to make this part of the process as easy and efficient as possible. We want to help you move forward towards your new life without debt, not wallow in old mistakes or review every monthly statement.
CREDIT COUNSELING COURSE
While we are preparing to file your bankruptcy, you take a short counseling course online. This course runs through the basics of borrowing and budgeting, and will help you stay on the right financial course after your debts have been discharged. The information offered in the course is relatively basic and very easy to understand.
SIGN AND SUBMIT
Once you have taken the first credit course and we have all of your information together, we will submit your bankruptcy paperwork to the courts. Filing this paperwork triggers the automatic stay, which means that your creditors are no longer allowed to contact you in any way. If your home was scheduled for a sheriff sale, the filing will cancel the scheduled sale and give you time to work with your lender.
2nd DEBTOR EDUCATION COURSE
After you file, there is another debtor education / credit counseling course. The course covers similar information to the first course from a more advanced perspective. Few people report learning anything amazing from the course, but it is necessary to keep things moving forward.
A 341 hearing is technically referred to as a "Meeting of the Creditors", which is actually sort of misleading, since no creditors attend the meeting about 99% of the time. If there is some circumstance where there would be a reason for one of your creditors to attend the hearing, the experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Wendling Law Office would be aware and would prepare you for it. The 341 hearing is run by a Trustee who is actually just another attorney working on behalf of the bankruptcy court. They will ask you your name, address and some basic questions about your income and bills. The hearing takes place in a courthouse, but is a far cry from what many think of when they think of a courtroom. The meetings are scheduled on the half hour, and it is not uncommon for a trustee to get through 5 or 6 in a 30 minute span. A 341 hearing is typically very easy for our clients because we are very prepared for the questions that the trustee will ask. Inevitably, you will see someone else with an inexperienced lawyer scrambling for a document that any reasonable lawyer would have known they should have had at the ready. LIke the rest of the bankrputcy process, we aim to make the 341 hearing as easy on you as possible.
60 days after the 341 hearing your bankruptcy will be completed and your debts will be discharged. At this point, all of your unsecured debt is no longer owed and you can begin working towards rebuilding your credit and enjoying your financial fresh start.
Do you have questions about how the bankruptcy process will affect your situation? Contact the experienced lawyers at Wendling Law Office for a free consultation today.
With offices in Burnsville & St. Paul the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Wendling Law Office can help you work through the entire bankruptcy process. Whether you are having trouble with a home foreclosure, medical bills or credit cards, we can help you understand how bankruptcy will apply to your situation.