Filing for bankruptcy can be a scary concept for many people. During this stressful and uncertain time, it's understandable that you'll have a lot of questions. That's part of the reason it's so imperative to hire an experienced lawyer to help you through this process. While gathering paperwork and actually filing for bankruptcy is challenging enough, you may be wondering about what happens after you actually take that step. In this post, we'll outline what to expect after filing for bankruptcy.
After you file your bankruptcy papers in court, you will be assigned a case number. Should creditors continue to contact you after you've filed for bankruptcy, you can provide them with this case number. Your case will also be assigned to a judge and a trustee (a court-appointed lawyer) and your court appearance will be scheduled. This appearance is known as the Meeting of Creditors.
In concept, the Meeting of Creditors can seem extremely intimidating. Your creditors will be told that you've filed for bankruptcy and are allowed to come to court to ask you questions. You must attend this meeting and should be prepared to take time off from work. In many cases, creditors choose not to attend. Your trustee will conduct the meeting itself and ask you questions pertaining to your property and debt. You must always answer their questions honestly. Once these questions are completed, the trustee will either adjourn (if a trustee needs more information) or close the meeting.
Next on the " what to expect after filing for bankruptcy" list is to wait to receive your discharge. Unless there is an objection to your case, you are entitled to a discharge after 60 days. You will need to complete a second counseling session within 45 days after your first bankruptcy petition is filed (which your lawyer can arrange for you). As long as you have followed all instructions and there are no objections to your case, you can obtain financial freedom in approximately two months.
Although this process may seem relatively straightforward, it's still necessary to have law help. With an attorney's help, the success rate for Chapter 7 bankruptcy claims is over 95% and for Chapter 13, it's 55%. But without an attorney's guidance, only 60% of Chapter 7 and .04% of Chapter 13 claims receive a discharge. An experienced lawyer will ensure your paperwork is complete and accurate, that everything is filed on time, that you're prepared for all court appearances, and that you'll know what to expect after filing for bankruptcy. Each case has its unique components, and this area of law is actually quite complex. Be sure to seek out legal assistance if you plan to file for bankruptcy or want to learn more about your options.