Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A Timeline of the Process

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Once you’ve decided that chapter 13 is the solution for your financial situation, you’ll want to know what you’re in for. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to handle the process your self, or hire a bankruptcy attorney. This decision is difficult, because if you’re pursuing bankruptcy protection, then you likely do not have much money for attorneys fees. On the other hand, if you mishandle any part of your bankruptcy, you may end up losing a lot more than what an attorney would have cost.Assuming you choose to retain a bankruptcy attorney, the process bankruptcy timeline will be as follows.

1. Provide Your Financial Information

You will need to go to you attorneys office to provide and go over all of the necessary financial information and documents. The most important of these documents will be any statements showing all of your income for the past six months.

2. Credit Counseling

Prior to filing your bankruptcy case, it is necessary to obtain a certificate showing that you’ve completed the required credit counseling service. To prevent any delays, credit counseling should be started immediately after providing paperwork to your attorney.

3. Bankruptcy Petition is Prepared

Within ten days of the previous attorney meting, your petition should be completed. If you do not hear from your attorney after ten days, you should call to find out what’s going on.

4. Sign the Bankruptcy Petition

Once your petition has been carefully prepared, another appointment will be schedule so that you can review the petition with your attorney, and sign it.

5. Begin Making Payments

Once the petition is filed with the bankruptcy court, you must begin making payments as described by the repayment plan. One of the main reasons a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is dismissed is due to a failure to make payments.

6. Bankruptcy Court Hearings

You will be required to attend two hearings at the local bankruptcy court. The first of these hearings will occur about thirty days after the petition is filed, and will last about ten minutes. You will need to bring proof of identity and your social security card. DO NOT FORGET THESE. Lack of either item can get your case dismissed. Additionally, your attorney will prepare you for the likely questions they are going to ask.

The confirmation hearing will be next, and can last from an hour to all day if necessary. Your attorney will be handling most of the talking, but your presence is necessary in case any issues arise, or if your testimony is required.

7. Objections from Bankruptcy Trustee or Creditors

After the first meeting, there will likely be some objections from the trustee or your creditors. Don’t worry, this is normal; they may even seek to dismiss your case. Your attorney will handle all of these objections and contact you to discuss solutions.

8. Repayment Period

Your repayment plan will last between three and five years, and once you near completion, you will need to complete an educational course required by bankruptcy law. Once completed, a certificate will be sent to the bankruptcy trustee.

9. Modifications of Repayment Plan

Should significant changes in your financial situation arise, it is possible to modify the repayment plan. Notify your attorney to review the situation and discuss your options.

10. Bankruptcy Discharge

Once the repayment plan has been completed and you have made all of your payments, you will receive your discharge. At this point, you will be all caught up, out of debt and back on your financial track.This is simply an overview of a typical chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and there are many more details that are beyond the scope of this guide. Keep in mind, bankruptcy laws are put in place to help financially distressed people get themselves out from under seemingly insurmountable debt. Talking to a bankruptcy attorney is the best way to become educated on the process.

More info: Michigan Bankruptcy Lawyers