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What is the process for declaring bankruptcy?

| Feb 5, 2021 | bankruptcy |

After a consultation with your attorney and after making the decision which type of bankruptcy to declare, the bankruptcy process is fairly simple in most instances. However, it does require lots of paperwork and even completing a couple of educational requirements.

The paperwork

The most time-consuming part of your bankruptcy will be filling out the paperwork. You will have to provide detailed descriptions of your assets and debts, income and monthly living expenses. Each of these forms requires a fair amount of detail. For example, you will have to provide the name, address and amount owed for each of your creditors. You have to provide an estimate of the value of your property. Please remember, this only has to be an estimate. In most instances, you don’t have get numbers from a professional.

If you are declaring bankruptcy on an emergency basis to stop a foreclosure, then your attorney will get the information needed to fill out only a few of the bankruptcy petitions – called a “barebones” or “skeleton” bankruptcy filing – and will let the court know that the rest of the documents will be filed at a later date.

If you have chosen to affirm a debt such as your car note or a credit card you want to keep, you have to fill out a short form in order to continue to keep making the monthly payments on that debt.

Your attorney will prepare your bankruptcy petition and schedules based on the information you’ve provided. You will need to review and sign the paperwork.

You will also have to provide the court with your latest pay stubs and a tax return as part of your bankruptcy filing.

Shortly after your bankruptcy case is filed, the clerk of the US Bankruptcy Court will send notices of the filing to all of the parties and creditors listed on your bankruptcy petition.

The procedure

Debtors must get credit counseling within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy. If you’re married, both you and your spouse must attend credit counseling. Credit counseling can be done on the internet or over the telephone. It normally takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes and costs between $15.00 and $45.00. You can find a credit counseling agency approved by the U.S. Trustee Program through the U.S. Department of Justice.

Of course, you will have to attend a meeting of your creditors. In most instances, especially where an individual or a married couple with few assets is declaring bankruptcy, creditors don’t show up. Most creditor meetings last about 10 minutes.

The meeting is an opportunity for the bankruptcy trustee and creditors to question the debtor under oath regarding their assets, liabilities, and information that has been provided in the bankruptcy paperwork. The meeting also gives creditors an opportunity to ask questions with regard to the information listed in his petition and schedules.

After your case is filed but before you can obtain your discharge of debts, a second class is required. The class is called a personal financial management class or a debtor education class. The cost is generally $50 or less. You can find a class on your own or attend one from the mail offerings the companies send out to people who have declared bankruptcy.

The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh bankruptcy needs. A Maryland bankruptcy attorney can help you to determine the best way to get out of debt, out from under creditor calls and how to keep as much of your property as possible. An Ocean City bankruptcy attorney can devise a strategy for you that allows you to use the bankruptcy laws to your advantage. The consultation is free.

We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.885.1775 or through the website for a free consultation.

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