Step One – Initial Office Visit
The bankruptcy process begins at your initial consultation with Attorney Swanson.
After discussing and evaluating your specific situation, a recommendation will be made regarding the debt relief solution that best suites your needs. Whether the recommendation involves bankruptcy, debt negotiation, or modification, it will be based on satisfying your financial goals. If your recommendation involves filing bankruptcy, you will be given a detailed list of information required to complete the process. Once you have retained the office, Attorney Swanson will begin working immediately to stop the harassing phone calls and get you closer to your financial goals.
Step Two – Credit Counseling
Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, you are required to take a credit counseling class within 180 days of filing your bankruptcy. You must use an United States Trustee approved credit counseling agency. Most of these agencies allow you to take the credit counseling class online, on the phone, or in person (if you choose). Once you have completed your course you will be issued a certificate that will be filed with your bankruptcy petition. Please be aware, your case cannot be filed until your credit counseling class has been completed. If you need help selecting an agency, Attorney Swanson can certainly point you in the direction of agencies that he has successfully worked with in the past.
Step Three – Filing Your Petition
When you have completed your credit counseling course and have submitted all information requested by Attorney Swanson (including all legal fees), you will have an appointment set up to review your final paperwork. After carefully reviewing your paperwork with Attorney Swanson, you will sign your bankruptcy petition. The petition will then be filed with the Bankruptcy Court. As soon as your petition is filed, the Automatic Stay is imposed. The Automatic Stay stops anyone from continuing (or starting) any collection efforts against you without specific permission from the Bankruptcy Court – this includes foreclosures, law suits, repossessions, and garnishments.
Step Four – Creditors Meeting
The Creditors Meeting, also referred to as a section 341 meeting, usually takes place about 30 to 45 days after your petition is filed. The meeting takes placed with the assigned Trustee in your case and is held in either Brockton, Boston, or Worcester, depending on where your live and what chapter of bankruptcy you file. Attorney Swanson will be with you at the meeting and will guide you through the process. The meetings usually last 5 minutes or less. The Bankruptcy Trustee will ask you a series of questions, under oath, based on the information contained in your bankruptcy petition. Please be aware that it is imperative that you also bring your drivers license and your social security card (or some equivalent). If you do not have these items, the Trustee may not hear your case.
Step Five – Financial Management Course
In order to receive your bankruptcy discharge, you are required to complete a financial management course (also referred to as a debtor education course). Just like the credit counseling course, this course may be done online, on the phone, or in person. This is an informative course that should help you identify financial issues to work on in the future. Once you have completed this course, as certificate of completion will be issued that Attorney Swanson will file with the Bankruptcy Court on your behalf. The financial management course must be completed within 60 days of your originally scheduled creditors meeting. If the course is not completed within this time, you case could be closed without receiving a discharge.
Step Six – Bankruptcy Discharge
This is the goal of the entire bankruptcy process. The discharge is the document issued by the Bankruptcy Court that officially relieves you of your dischargeable debts. If you have filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you discharge will be issued approximately 60 to 90 days from the filing of your bankruptcy petition. If you have filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a discharge will be issued upon successful completion of your chapter 13 plan (3-5 years).
Let the Law Office of Matthew C. Swanson Help You Today
If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you can’t afford to pass up a free consultation about filing with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Contact Attorney Swanson today.
The Law Office of Matthew C. Swanson services all of Plymouth County, Bristol County, Norfolk County, and Barnstable County.