In a Chapter 7, you may seek relief from all of your debts that are subject to discharge. At the same time, the bankruptcy trustee may be able to sell some of your non-exempt property to pay your creditors. You will, however, be allowed to keep certain property that is exempt from the bankruptcy estate.
A chapter 7 case is relatively short, taking roughly four to six months from beginning to end. You will be required to pay your attorney's fees and a filing fee of $335.00. At the conclusion of your case, most if not all, of your debts will be discharged and you will not owe your creditors any more money. Your creditors will also be permanently prohibited from calling you or taking any other action to collect the discharged debt. Most of the time, you will not be able to keep your home or car after you file a Chapter 7 case, but that is not always true. In some circumstances, you can keep either or both. Please give us a call to discuss your situation.
Who Can File a Chapter 7?
Not everyone qualifies to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. If you have received a discharge in the last six to eight years, you may not be eligible. Further, if your income, expenses, and debt indicate that you would be able to complete a Chapter 13 plan, you may also not be eligible. Whether you are eligible in this situation depends on whether you pass a complicated calculation called the Means Test. We can help you determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
The Meeting of the Creditors
A few weeks after you file your Chapter 7 case, you will be assigned a date to attend the creditors' meeting. At this meeting, you will be asked questions by the bankruptcy trustee and possibly some of your creditors. You will be placed under oath, and the meeting will be recorded. While this meeting will take place in a public meeting space, sometimes at the courthouse, the judge will not be present. Your attorney, however, will be present with you to help you through the creditors' meeting. In most cases, this will be the only time you need to appear for your Chapter 7 case.