There might be a lot of unknowns if you have to file for bankruptcy after a life of financial stability. Fortunately, bankruptcy lawyers specialize in situations like yours, so they can help you through the difficult situation. What does the entire process look like?
1. Hiring a Lawyer
The first thing you’ll need to do is find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy law. You might find your lawyer through a referral from a friend or family member, through your employer, or through the state bar association directory. Speak with the lawyer before you hire them so you can understand what the lawyer fee is, and how and when you’re required to pay.
2. Attending Credit Counseling
You will need to attend two credit counseling sessions before you file your paperwork. In these sessions, which are with an approved counseling agency, you’ll go over your budget, alternatives to bankruptcy, and the pros and cons associated with it. During this time, several individuals change their minds on moving ahead with bankruptcy because they realize there are other options that could be better for them. Other individuals realize bankruptcy is their best option and move forward with the process.
3. Filing With the Court
At this point in the process, you will file bankruptcy with the court. It will now appear on your credit report and an automatic stay will prohibit creditors from calling you. You will have already decided on Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, so that will be included in the filing.
4. Repaying or Liquidating Your Debt
If you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you would begin liquidating your assets so your creditors can be repaid as much as possible. If you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you would begin repaying your portion of the debt at this step in the process. If you have secured debts and you’ve filed Chapter 7, let your attorney know what you want to keep so it doesn’t get sold to repay a debt. For example, if you have a car and you plan to continue payments on it, the car won’t be sold.
5. Attending Debtor Education
Before your debts can be discharged, there is another course required. This is a debtor education course. Sometimes these courses are online, sometimes you’ll have to meet with a counselor, and other times you simply have to read a book.
Contacting a Bankruptcy Attorney
Once you have completed all the steps of bankruptcy, your eligible debts will be discharged. You will no longer have an obligation to pay those debts. For help getting started, contact a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Hartford, CT from a firm like The Law Offices of Neil Crane. They can help you to navigate the bankruptcy process.